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

in Inner Asia
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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.

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