Ethnicity and language

A very simple version is that in the west and centre of Ukraine the people speak Ukrainian and identify themselves as Ukrainians and, and in the east and south most people speak Russian and identify themselves variously as Ukrainian or as Russian. But it is much more complex than this, and across the whole of Ukraine the majority of the population define themselves as Ukrainian, because they live in Ukraine and hold Ukrainian citizenship. The numbers of those who identify themselves as Russian is relatively small. Language is not always a reliable guide to ethnicity ask German-speaking residents of Vienna or Zurich whether they are Germans and you might get a dusty answer!

Ethnicity and language

Dialects, Languages and Ethnicity Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins People on occasion will ask me a questions like, "In Kenya, does everybody speak Swahili, or do some people still speak dialects?

This would be funny if it were not so sad. For it seems to reflect a discriminatory hierarchical idea of human speech: And of course, the person talking this way always speaks a language -- not a dialect!

No human speech is inherently inferior to any other human speech form. A late friend of mine, Dr. Speech Forms Yes, everybody speaks a language.

Dialects, Languages and Ethnicity

Put another way, every human, and every human society, has a Speech Form -- a way of speaking. We use the term language to refer to this facility of speech, and to the particular variety of speech.

So "speech form" is a better, emotionally-neutral word to use. And on the other hand, everybody speaks a dialect. For we use the term "dialect" to refer to a form of speech intelligibly similar to another form of speech. Two varieties of speech that are somewhat different yet mutually intelligible we can group together as one "language.

Some of the changes take the speech of one family, village, people, etc. These we call languages or dialects, depending on how related they are.

We observe that speakers of most varieties of speech we refer to as English can usually understand each other.

Ethnicity and language

But English is comparatively similar to other speech forms in northern Europe. It is, for instance, very close to Frisian and Dutch, more distantly similar to German, farther away from Danish.

Ethnicity and Language in Ukraine | RUSI

These and several other languages are very similar to each other, compared to French or Spanish, so they can be called "Germanic," in regard to a shared heritage.

Thus forms of speech that can be mutually understood by their speakers can be referred to as one "language. If they are not mutually intelligible, generally they are referred to as separate languages.

Take a look at Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales. Would you call Chaucer's language English? Is it a dialect of English? And by the way, when did "Anglo-Saxon" become "English"?! Yes, everybody speaks some language. But then, yes, everybody also speaks a dialect.


Everybody's speech is related to someone else's speech. Yes, many people in Kenya speak Swahili. Yes, many people also speak dialects -- of Swahili or of some other language, like Kikuyu, Kamba, Luo, Maasai, etc.Language does not constitute the sole determinant of ethnicity – this can be supported by examining examples of different ethnicity that are based on the same language .

This chapter presents a social psychological perspective on ethnicity and language. Ethnicity and its relation to language is a persistent and pressing social The concepts of race and ethnicity are defined socially and culturally and, in the case of federal data collection, by legislative and political necessity (Hayes-Bautista and Chapa, ) Language and ethnicity research in education is motivated by several con­ attending to the role of language in the constitution of ethnic groups and boundaries grounds the researcher in empirical data.

Ethnicity becomes observable, allowing researchers to gain a rich understanding of how indi­. Language and ethnicity, and the broader topic of language and identity of which it forms an important part, have seen a fairly dramatic jump in prominence in publications and in linguistic and sociological curricula over the last decade or Census and Identity: The Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Language in National Censuses Census and Identity: The Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Language in National Census, Dominique Arel Volume 1 of New Perspectives on

Dialects, Languages and Ethnicity