Problems in Defining Ethnicity Terms in Dictionaries

Probleme met die definiëring van etniese terme in woorde-boeke.

  • Dragica Žugić
  • Milica Vuković-Stamatović
Keywords: ethnicity terms, ethnicity-related terms, dictionaries, labels, etniese terme, etniesverwante terme, woordeboeke, eti-kette

Abstract

Despite the fact that lexicographers have increasingly been taking more care when it comes to defining socially sensitive terms, we argue that ethnicity terms still remain rather poorly defined. In a number of online monolingual dictionaries we surveyed in this study, we find that ethnicity terms are generally simplistically defined, mostly in terms of geography and citizenship, and argue that such definitions are too reductionist and sometimes even erroneous. We also find that some disparaging ethnicity terms are not labelled as such in some of the dictionaries surveyed. We also present a case study from Montenegro, in which a dictionary of the national academy of sciences was immediately revoked over a few ethnicity and ethnicity-related terms, after a violent outcry from two of Montenegro's ethnic minorities, dissatisfied with how their ethnicities were defined and treated in the dictionary. Based on our survey and the earlier findings from the litera-ture, we recommend that international dictionaries follow a standardised model of defining eth-nicities, which would additionally refer to an ethnicity's culture and potentially language, and be as inclusive as possible. We also recommend that editors and lexicographers of national dictionar-ies pay special attention to how they define the ethnic terms relating to the minorities living in their country or region, following a combination of a standardised and a partly customised approach, which would take into account the specific features of the minorities.

Ondanks die feit dat leksikograwe in die definiëring van sosiaal-sensitiewe terme toene-mend versigtigheid aan die dag lê, word hier aangevoer dat etniese terme steeds redelik swak gedefinieer is. In 'n aantal aanlyn eentalige woordeboeke wat ons in hierdie studie ondersoek het, vind ons dat etniese terme oor die algemeen simplisties gedefinieer word, meestal in terme van geografie en burgerskap, en ons redeneer dat hierdie definisies té reduksionisties en soms selfs fou-tief is. Dit het ook geblyk dat sommige neerhalende etniese terme in sommige van die woorde-boeke wat ondersoek is nie as sodanig geëttiketteer is nie. Ons lê ook 'n gevallestudie uit Montenegro voor, waarin 'n woordeboek van die nasionale akademie van wetenskappe weens 'n paar etniese en etniesverwante terme onmiddellik onttrek is ná die geweldadige protes van twee etniese minder-hede in Montenegro wat ontevrede was met die manier waarop hul etnisiteite in die woordeboek gedefinieer en hanteer is. Gegrond op ons ondersoek en die vroeëre bevindings uit die literatuur, stel ons voor dat internasionale woordeboeke 'n gestandaardiseerde model vir die definiëring van etniese terme volg wat ook sal verwys na die kultuur en moontlik taal van 'n etniese groep, en wat so inklusief moontlik sal wees. Ons beveel ook aan dat redakteurs en leksikograwe van nasionale woordeboeke besondere aandag skenk aan die manier waarop hulle die etniese terme rakende minderhede wat in hul land of streek woon, definieer deur 'n kombinasie van 'n gestandaardi-seerde en gedeeltelik pasgemaakte benadering te volg waarin die spesifieke eienskappe van die minderhede in ag geneem sal word.

Published
2021-09-30
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904