Names Have Memories: History, Semantic Identity and Conflict in Mongolian and Chinese Language Use

Names Have Memories: History, Semantic Identity and Conflict in Mongolian and Chinese Language Use Names Have Memories: History, Semantic Identity and Conflict in Mongolian and Chinese Language Use NARAN BILIK Carleton College, USA nbilik@carleton.edu ABSTRACT Nomenclatural tension and pragmatic incongruence underscore the Inner Mongols’ resistance to sinicisation and the process of their integration into the newly constructed nation- state of China. This paper focuses on the interplay between the original sense and the translated meaning of some ethnic, state, and place names that travel inter- lingually between Mongolian and Chinese in modern Inner Mongolian history. It challenges the Chinese nation- building elite’s agenda to depoliticise minzu through lessening, diluting, and assimilating ethnic diversities into Chinese homogeneity. Keywords: Names, Memory, Language Use, China, Chinese, Mongolian, Minzu , Negotiation INTRODUCTION The official Chinese formulation of the nationality question is reflected in the present Law of the People’s Republic of China on Regional National Autonomy : ‘The People’s Republic of China is a unitary multinational State created jointly by the people of all its nationalities’ 1 (China 2001: 28). In a similar way, the offi- cially sanctioned discourse of Zhonghua minzu (the Central Florescent/Chinese Nation) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) emphasises its ‘unity and plurality’ ( duoyuan yiti ), a process of assimilating http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Inner Asia Brill

Names Have Memories: History, Semantic Identity and Conflict in Mongolian and Chinese Language Use

Inner Asia , Volume 9 (1): 23 – Jan 1, 2007

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Publisher
Global Oriental
Copyright
© 2007 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1464-8172
eISSN
2210-5018
D.O.I.
10.1163/146481707793646629
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Names Have Memories: History, Semantic Identity and Conflict in Mongolian and Chinese Language Use NARAN BILIK Carleton College, USA nbilik@carleton.edu ABSTRACT Nomenclatural tension and pragmatic incongruence underscore the Inner Mongols’ resistance to sinicisation and the process of their integration into the newly constructed nation- state of China. This paper focuses on the interplay between the original sense and the translated meaning of some ethnic, state, and place names that travel inter- lingually between Mongolian and Chinese in modern Inner Mongolian history. It challenges the Chinese nation- building elite’s agenda to depoliticise minzu through lessening, diluting, and assimilating ethnic diversities into Chinese homogeneity. Keywords: Names, Memory, Language Use, China, Chinese, Mongolian, Minzu , Negotiation INTRODUCTION The official Chinese formulation of the nationality question is reflected in the present Law of the People’s Republic of China on Regional National Autonomy : ‘The People’s Republic of China is a unitary multinational State created jointly by the people of all its nationalities’ 1 (China 2001: 28). In a similar way, the offi- cially sanctioned discourse of Zhonghua minzu (the Central Florescent/Chinese Nation) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) emphasises its ‘unity and plurality’ ( duoyuan yiti ), a process of assimilating

Journal

Inner AsiaBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2007

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