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Unit8. Ethnic Identity. In this chapter, you will learn how to. READING MATERIALS. Reading 1. Ethnic Boundary Markers. Reading 2. The Problems of States and Nationalities. Reading 1 Ethnic Boundary Markers. Think and Discuss. Which ethnic group do you belong to?.

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Ethnic Identity



Reading 1. Ethnic Boundary Markers

Reading 2. The Problems of States

and Nationalities


Reading 1

Ethnic Boundary Markers


Think and Discuss

  • Which ethnic group do

you belong to?

  • How do you distinguish

people of one ethnic

group from another?


There are 56 ethnic groups in China.

The Han ethnic group is the largest, living all over the country with the compact communities in the Huanghe, Changjiang and Zhujiang valleys and the Songhua-Liaohe Plain of the northeast.

The other ethnic groups are the minority nationalities, inhabiting 60 percent of the country\'s total area and living mainly in the border regions.

All ethnic groups are like equal brothers and sisters in a happy family.

Ethnic groups are different from each other in language, religion, physical appearance and particular cultural traits.


“Ethnic” Words

ethnic group

ethnic boundary marker

ethnic identity


ethnic group people of the same race or nationality who share a distinctive culture

  • ethnic boundary markerovert factors used to demonstrate or denote group members
  • ethnic identity

extent to which one identifies with a particular ethnic group; one’s sense of belonging to an ethnic group and the part of one’s thinking, perceptions, feelings, and behavior that is due to ethnic group membership.

4 major components of ethnic identity: ethnic awareness, ethnic self-identification, ethnic attitudes and ethnic behaviors


Survey Reading 1 to Find out

  • the four ethnic boundary markers
  • the examples cited to show how each marker is used to distinguish ethnic groups
  • the examples cited to showwhen a marker doesn’t work

Hopis and Navajos speak their language alone


Serbs and Croats both speak Serbo-Croatian;

The Irish may speak Gaelic or English; Ethnic Germans may speak Polish or Russian other than German


Jews adhere to Judaism; Sikhs adhere to Sikhism; Serbs and Croats adhere respectively to Eastern Orthodox and Catholics


A Chinese person may adhere to Muslim, Christianity, Taoism, Buddhism or Marxist atheism



World Religions



  • Christianity started 2,000 years ago in Judea (present-day Israel) with Jesus Christ and His faithful group of disciples.
  • There are about 2 billion Christians in the world.


  • Founded by Buddha Shakyamuni 2,500 years ago
  • Buddhist way of life: meditation


  • Islam started 1,400 years ago in Saudi Arabia.
  • It is embraced by Arabs, Persians, Turks, Africans, Indians, Chinese, Malays, and numerous smaller units.
  • It now has around 1,200 million adherents.
  • Muslims believe that there is only one God, whose name in the Arabic language is Allah. God had special messengers or prophets. Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad were God\'s prophets.

the third marker



Malays, East Indians and Chinese in Malaysia are distinguished by physical characteristics


Germans, Dutch, Danes and other northern European ethnic groups, Zulus and Swazis, Chinese and Koreans, Choctaw and Chichasaw Indians share similar physical characteristics; at a lower level of identity, physical characteristics alone are not enough to distinguish between ethnic groups


the fourth marker



Scottish Americans wear kilts; German Americans wear lederhosen; Native Americans wear “Indian clothes”; Guatemalan clothing styles indicate two levels of ethnic identity


Outline for Reading 1

  • Combinations of ethnic boundary markers are used to distinguish one ethnic group from another.
    • A. Native language frequently serves as an ethnic boundary marker.
    • B. In many cases, religious differences may be the most important marker of ethnic identity.
    • C. It is likely to identify ethnic groups by their physical characteristics.
    • D. Cultural traits remain the most important, diverse and complex category of ethnic boundary markers.

overt covert

denote connote

Overt factors used to demonstrate or denote group membership are called ethnic boundary markers. (Line 2)


overta. open and observable

overt hostility

coverta. not open, secret

a covert glance


denotev.(denotation n.)

vt. mean

The word “plump” denotes fat.

vt. mark; indicate; signify

A frown often denotes ________.


A quick pulse often denotes ________.

(fever/heart problem/excitement)

connote(connotation n.)

vt. imply in addition to literal meaning

The word “plump” connotes cheerfulness.


Because they serve to distinguish members from all other groups, a single boundary marker seldom is sufficient. (Line 5)

distinguish v.(distinguished adj.)

  • Can you distinguish the different musical instruments playing now?
  • A person at his age should be able to distinguish between right and wrong.
  • Speeches distinguish man from animals.
  • Liu Xiang distinguished himself asthe winner of the “heaviest” gold medal/ by winning the men’s hurdles at the 2004 Olympics.

……, Hopi and Navajo members are readily distinguished by their language alone. (Line 13)

readilyadv. easily; willingly; promptly

  • Computers make data readily available to users.
  • I readily believe that she is lazy at home--- she is very lazy at school.
  • In case of emergency, he could respond readily. (He has a ready response.)

Conversely, a person may be Irish and speak either Gaelic or English as his or her native language. (Line 19)

Expression to show opposition of two things or situations:

but, yet, however, despite, in spite of, though, although, even though, otherwise, rather, whereas, nonetheless, nevertheless, in contrast, alternatively, for all that, on the one hand, on the other hand


But in many cases, religion and ethnic group more or less correspond. (Line 28)


  • to be similar or equivalent
  • The American Congress corresponds to the British Parliament.
  • to be in agreement, harmony, or conformity
  • Her job corresponds with her interests.
  • to communicate by letter
  • They corresponded with each other all the time. (They held correspondence with each other all the time.)

Similarly, the Sikhs in India constitute both a religious and an ethnic group. (Line 30)


  • Twelve months constitute a year.
  • Correct grammar and sentence structure do not in themselves constitute good writing.
  • He constituted a direct threat to the children.

A similar situation is found in those regions of the world in which populations have been in long association with one another. (Line 40)

association n.

  • I benefited much from my association with him.
  • This concert is sponsored by the Arts Council in association with several local businesses.

For the sake of brevity, we will limit our discussion to one trait--- clothing. (Line 66)

for the sake of

  • For the sake of safety, you must keep all medicines away from children.
  • She stopped smoking for her own sake.

Difficult Sentences

1. However, just because two populations share a common language does not mean they share a common identity, any more than the fact that two populations speak different languages means that they have two distinct identities.

Two populations who share a common language do not necessarily share a common identity; likewise, two populations who speak different languages do not necessarily have different identities.


2. The significance or lack of significance of physical characteristics in ethnic identity may also vary with the level of ethnic identity.

How significant physical characteristics are as a significant marker of ethnic identity depends on on which level the ethnic group members share their characteristics.


3. The major world religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism encompass numerous distinct ethnic groups, so that the religious affiliation does not always indicate ethnic affiliation.

The members of a religion may come from many different ethnic groups, so a religious group is not necessarily an ethnic one.


Reading 2

The Problems of

States and Nationalities


Think and Discuss

  • Can you name some ethnic conflicts?
  • What caused so many conflicts?

Ethnic Conflicts in Israel and Palestine

The two nationalities, Israelis and Palestinians, claim the same geographical region as their legitimate homeland.


Peace efforts for the resolution of the ethnic conflicts in Israel and Palestine

UN Security Council Resolution 242 (Nov. 22, 1967)

UN Security Council Resolution 338 (Oct. 22, 1973)

Geneva Peace Conference (Oct. 21, 1973)

UN Assembly Resolution 3236 (Nov. 11, 1974)

David Camp Agreement (Sept. 17, 1978)


Ethnic conflicts in Northern Ireland

The Scotch-Irish have emerged over the past 400 years as a distinct nationality who claim the northern part of Ireland as their homeland. In contrast, the Irish see the area as an integral and inalienable part of the Irish homeland.


Outline for Reading 2

  • Ethnic conflicts are not between sub-national groups but between distinct nationalities and they illustrate the strength of nationalist sentiments.
  • A. Ethnic conflicts in Northern Ireland
  • B. Ethnic conflicts in Israel and Palestine
  • II. Ethnic conflicts are common in the modern world.
  • Reason: the populations of most countries encompass a number of distinct nationalities.
  • III. Ethnic conflicts are complicated.
  • Reason: Current political boundaries for most of the world are legacies of European colonialism and expansion. European powers made little attempt to redefine political boundaries when they granted independence to their colonies.

Words and



Falsely equating country of origin with ethnic nationality, …… (Line 3)


vt. to consider or treat as equal

It’s a mistake to equate wealth with happiness.

I am not equating you and him.

vt. to make … equal

to equate imports and exports.


Bombings, ambushes, and assassinations have claimed the lives of more than 2,200 persons, and no end appears in sight. (Line 27)


  • The accident claimed her life.
  • (to take)
  • Has anyone claimed the watch?
  • (to ask for on the basis of right, authority or accomplishment)
  • A caller to the broadcasting station claimed responsibility for the bombing.
  • (to state to have)
  • The matter claims our attention.
  • (to call for)
  • Don’t claim to know what you don’t know.
  • (to maintain)

Only a handful of countries are peopled by members of a single nationality and are thus ethnically homogeneous. (Line 58)

handfuln. a few

a handful of people/days

Words ending with –ful indicating the amount:

a handful of sand

a mouthful of sweet air

a spoonful of hot soup



vt. to inhabit

The region is sparsely/densely peopled.

vt. to supply or fill with people

Europe largely peopled America.


vt. to fill with

Dreams peopled his idle hours.


homogeneous: of the similar nature or kind

homo-:same; alike

homograph 同形异义词

record n./record v. August n./august a.


knew/new night/knight


fair n./fair a. bear n./bear v.


Through this agreement, the English, French, Germans, Belgians, and other European powers assumed sovereignty over lands …… (Line 67)


vt. to take control of

Hitler assumed power in 1934.

vt. to take into partnership, employment, or use

The researcher assumed a new partner.



vt. to take to or upon oneself, undertake

When did the president assume office?

vt. to pretend to have or be

She assumed an air of confidence in spite of her dismay.

vt. to take as granted or true, suppose

He assumed the report (to be) valid.

Farmers will have a bumper harvest, assuming that the weather is favorable.


Nor was Africa the only continent to have boundaries imposed by Europeans. (Line 70)


nor, never, seldom, rarely, little, hardly, scarcely, not until, by no means, in no time, under no circumstances, under no condition, in no way, in no case, in vain, at no time, neither…(nor), no sooner…(than), hardly…(when), barely, on no account, not a bit, nowhere, not only…(but also), not often, etc.



I have never heard such nonsense in all my life.

Never in all my life have I heard such nonsense.

Churchill was not only a statesman but also a poet.

Not onlywas Churchill a statesman, but also a poet.

Exception: 如果这些词修饰句子的主语、构成主语的一部分,句子不倒装。

Not a word was said.

Scarcely a drop of rain fell last month.

Only an old man took pity on the poor girl.



vt. to establish or bring about as if by force.

The court imposed a light sentence on a first offender.

vt. to establish or apply by authority

to impose a tax/peace settlement

vt. to force into the company or on the attention of another

She imposed herself as their leader.

vi. to take unwarranted advantage of something

You are always imposing on his good nature!


As European powers granted independence to their colonies, …… (Line 83)

grant vt.

You may grant ________.

a scholarship to a student

a request

luggage allowances to passengers

Granted that you are correct, you may find it hard to prove your point.


Difficult Sentence

Falsely equating country of origin with ethnic nationality, we view ethnic conflicts in other regions of the world as comparable to conflicts between sub-national groups within the United States.

For we consider country of origin and ethnic nationality are the same, we falsely think ethnic conflicts (between distinct ethnic nationalities) in most countries equivalent to conflicts (between sub-national groups of different countries of origin) within the United States.



Support your opinion with evidence, e.g., anecdotes, examples, quotations, statistics, logic or definitions.


Writing Exercise

Please identify the type of evidence used in each of the following paragraphs and infer the thesis it supports.



First of all, there are many superstitious factors in our traditional culture that should be abandoned. For example, in ancient times people thought earthquakes were the wrath of the Gods, and offered sacrifices--- sometimes human sacrifices--- to appease them. But nowadays we know that earthquakes are mere geological movements of lithosphere; we can even predict them. The development of science and technology helps to dispel the mist and explain many phenomena that we thought of as mysteries in the past.

Possible thesis: Some aspects of traditional culture are now hampering the progress of society and should be abandoned.


As you can well see, the computer industry is supplying more jobs than any other single industry. Occupation Outlook Quarterly predicts that by 1990, 2,140,000 people will be employed in computer operations, a rise of 85 percent over 1978.


Possible thesis: Instead of replacing people, the computer is developing more positions for employees.



According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “Euphemisms are considered overly squeamish and affected by contemporary writers, unless used for humorous effect.” This may be so among the cognoscenti but there is little evidence to show that the masses, especially the administrators, have read their encyclopedia.

Possible thesis: The use of euphemism should be stopped.



Love is one of the precious feelings of human beings, which is known as the immortal theme of literary works. True love cannot happen, develop and last without sincerity, understanding, sacrifice, tolerance and time-endurance.

Possible thesis: True love cannot happen, develop and last without sincerity, understanding, sacrifice, tolerance and time-endurance.



In a world where “man” and “human” are offered as synonymous terms, I don’t think it is a coincidence that women are still vastly underrepresented in positions of money, power, and respect.

Possible thesis: What words “mean” can go beyond what a speaker or writer consciously intends, reflecting personal and cultural biases that run so deep that most of the time we aren’t even aware they exist.



Are you ethnocentric or multicultural in your worldview? Explain your choice and try to persuade others to believe in your worldview. You should write at least 150 words.


main types of text



Translation Exercise

Appreciate the following texts and their translations and sum up the characteristics of the translation of the 3 types of text.


I remember that the Gabilian Mountains to the east of the valley were light gay mountains full of sun and loveliness and a kind of invitation, so that you wanted to climb into their warm foothills almost as you want to climb into the lap of a beloved mother. They were beckoning mountains with a brown grass love.




Because it (oil) is very slippery, it is used for lubrication. Two metal surfaces rubbing together cause friction and heat; but if they are separated by a thin film of oil, the friction and heat are reduced. No machine would work for long if it were not properly lubricated. The oil used for this purpose must be of the correct thickness; if it is too thin it will not give enough lubrication, and if it is too thick it will reach all parts that must be lubricated.




We faced the question in 1978, as to some extent we still do today: Can two nations as different as ours--- yours one of the oldest civilizations on earth, mine one the youngest; yours a socialist state and mine committed to capitalism; yours a developing country and mine a developed one--- can two nations surmount and indeed draw upon these differences to build an unprecedented and distinctive relationship ion world affairs?