I don't remember which book this was in. I believe it was a theory proposed by Valentine. Basically it summarizes the idea that some alien races view humans as lesser life forms, and we view other life forms as lesser life forms.
This is from the second book in the original series, Speaker for the Dead. Andrew is speaking to his students about Valentine's latest work of philosophy; "A History of Wutan in Trondheim by Demonsthenes"
The full quote is
Plikt closed her eyes. “The Nordic language recognizes four orders of foreignness. The first is the otherlander, or utlänning, the stranger that we recognize as being a human of our world, but of another city or country. The second is the framling—Demosthenes merely drops the accent from the Nordic främling. This is the stranger that we recognize as human, but of another world. The third is the raman, the stranger that we recognize as human, but of another species. The fourth is the true alien, the varelse, which includes all the animals, for with them no conversation is possible. They live, but we cannot guess what purposes or causes make them act. They might be intelligent, they might be self-aware, but we cannot know it.”
Andrew also moots a fifth state;
“Look in yourselves at this moment,” said Andrew. “You will find that underneath your hatred of Ender the Xenocide and your grief for the death of the buggers, you also feel something much uglier: You’re afraid of the stranger, whether he’s utlanning or framling. When you think of him killing a man that you know of and value, then it doesn’t matter what his shape is. He’s varelse then, or worse—djur, the dire beast, that comes in the night with slavering jaws. If you had the only gun in your village, and the beasts that had torn apart one of your people were coming again, would you stop to ask if they also had a right to live, or would you act to save your village, the people that you knew, the people who depended on you?”
Thanks to Valorom for pointing me in the right direction.
The Hierarchy of Foreignness was a classification system made by Valentine Wiggin as Demosthenes, for classifying how "alien" an individual was relative to a subject. It was organised in five tiers:
An utlänning is "the stranger we recognize as being a human of our world, but of another city or country."
Utlänning means "foreigner" in Swedish.
A främling is "the stranger we recognize as human, but of another world."
Främling means "stranger" in Swedish.
A raman (Plural - ramen) is "the stranger we recognize as human, but of another species"; a sentient being who is of another species. Pequeninos and Formics are thought to be ramen.
Although not a common word, it may be constructed in Swedish from rå + män, where rå indicates "coarse (not refined), and män means "man" or "person."
The varelse are true aliens; they are sentient beings, but are so foreign that no meaningful communication is possible with the subject. The Formics were thought to be varelse, but after The Hive Queen was published, people's opinions changed.
Varelse means "creature" in Swedish.
The djur are non-sentient beings. They are capable of independent thought and action, but their mode of communication cannot relay any meaningful information to the subject because the djur itself lacks the capacity for rational thought and self-awareness.
Djur means "animal" in Swedish.
He's varelse then, or worse — djur, the dire beast, that comes in the night with slavering jaws. Speaker for the Dead, Page 36