Identifying a People
Group
Copyright © 2004, Orville Boyd Jenkins
Orville Boyd Jenkins March 2004
Identifying a People
Group
Defining an “Ethnic Entity”
Two Minimum Factors
1. A unique identifier
2. Clear Descriptors
Identifying a People Group
1. A unique identifier
A name is insufficient
Not unique
Phonetic similarity in unrelated languages
Related but distinct peoples may use same
name
Different names in different sources
Names overlap ethnicities and languages
Name may be from village, mountain,
ancestor, clan, language, dialect, event
Identifying a People Group
1. A unique identifier
Registry of Peoples (ROP)
“Defines” Each Unique Ethno-linguistic Entity
Unique Code
Recommended Name
Common Alternate Names
Annotations to clarify and cross-reference
Identifying a People Group
1. A unique identifier
ROP Unique Identifier -- code
Same code no matter what the name
Allows comparison and exchange despite
differences in databases
Identifying a People Group
1. A unique identifier
2. Clear Descriptors
Identifying a People Group
2. Clear Descriptors
Language Descriptor
Every individual and every people have a
language (“speech form”)
At least one language descriptor (code)
More for multi-lingual peoples
Ethnic Entity with language gives us the
Ethno-linguistic identification
Identifying a People Group
2. Clear Descriptors
Location Descriptor
Every individual and every people live in a
definable location
At least one location descriptor
 Country plus more specific
More for peoples living across geo-political
boundaries
Same code for this ethnic identification
anywhere in the world
Identifying a People Group
2. Clear Descriptors
Essential Descriptors
Language Descriptor
Location Descriptor
Identifying a People Group
1. A unique identifier
Registry of Peoples
A service of Harvest Information System
http://harvestinformationsystem.info
Identifying a People Group
2. Clear Descriptors
Possible Additional Descriptors
Religion
Caste
Identifying a People Group
Factors in Determining
Separate Ethnicities
Ethnic Distinctions
Large set of cultural characteristics
Vary in importance among human
cultures and societies
Identifying a People Group
Factors in Determining
Separate Ethnicities
Determinations
From extensive research at various
levels
Intended to represent the self-identity
Location
Borders, different villages, rivers, dams
Distinctive Customs
Identifying a People Group
Factors in Determining
Separate Ethnicities
Naming Conventions
from relevant disciplines
common terminology and
conventions for descriptions of
human culture
Identifying a People Group
Factors in Determining
Separate Ethnicities
 Self-Identity
 the largest cohesive group of
individuals considering themselves
related
 biological kinship
 shared history
 shared customs
 speaking one or more languages
Identifying a People Group
Factors in Determining
Separate Ethnicities
 Sub-groups
 Every identifiable ethnic group will
contain smaller groups
 Access (communication) Strategies
may focus on smaller groups
 These can still be correlated by the
code for the larger group
Identifying a People Group
Identifying a People Group
end
Copyright © 2004, Orville Boyd Jenkins
Orville Boyd Jenkins March 2004
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Identifying and Describing a People Group