Diacronia 5, March 23, 2017, art. A73 (p. 1–9)

The ethnic category from a linguistic perspective

Răzvan Săftoiu


Faculty of Letters, “Transilvania” University of Brașov, Bd. Eroilor 29, 500036 Brașov, Romania


Received January 25, 2017
Accepted January 27, 2017
Published March 23, 2017

Key words

linguistic anthropology


In this paper, I put forward an analysis from a linguistic perspective of an ethnic category in Romania that is defined by at least two terms: gypsy and Romany. The concept of category refers to the members of a particular group that sets apart from other groups by a set of specific elements acknowledged at the level of a larger community. In interaction, individuals frequently use categories and the set of features that a certain category is characterized by, since it is easier to deal with sets of knowledge than with references for each individual separately. The analysis is based on a series of expressions and phrases, proverbs and jokes which were (or still are) getting about in the Romanian space and which delineated, at the level of the collective mentality, the image of an ethnic category whose name (still) oscillates between two terms. The texts were grouped depending on the different stereotypes associated with the ethnic category under discussion, by highlighting the pejorative connotations of the uses of the term gypsy in relation to the ethnic category Romany, a significance-free category that can be ‘filled up’ by elements that can sketch a positive image.


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    Text:Săftoiu, R. (2017). The ethnic category from a linguistic perspective, Diacronia 5 (March 23), A73 (1–9),
     author = {Răzvan Săftoiu},
     title = {The ethnic category from a linguistic perspective},
     journal = {Diacronia},
     ISSN = {2393-1140},
     year = {2017},
     month = {March},
     number = {5},
     eid = {A73},
     doi = {},
     pages = "(1–9)",
     url = {}


© 2017 The Authors. Publishing rights belong to the Journal. The article is freely accessible under the terms and conditions of the CC-BY Open Access licence.

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