Placing Pitcairn Island placenaming historically: Professor A. S. C. Ross, Albert W. Moverley, Henry E. Maude, and The Pitcairnese Language

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This article documents a crucial element in the historiography of research into Pitcairn, the Pitcairn Island language. It considers the work of British linguist Professor Alan Strode Campbell Ross (1907-1980), Pitcairn Island’s first non-islander school teacher Albert Wadkins Moverley (1908-1953), and the founder of the discipline of Pacific history Henry Evans Maude (1906-2006) on the edited 1964 work The Pitcairnese Language, the key volume about the history and linguistics of the Pitcairn Island language. Maude’s gazetteer of Pitcairn Island placenames is evaluated with reference to the contribution it makes to The Pitcairnese Language. Ross’s correspondence, especially that with Maude, and how the data collected by Moverley, who lived on the island between 1949-1951 and who became Ross’s Ph.D student, is summarized and assessed in terms of how it contributed to The Pitcairnese Language, especially the section on Pitcairn Island placenaming (toponymy). In summary, Ross’s statement in his preface to The Pitcairnese Language that “any account of a language is better than no account at all’ is appraised in terms of a historiography of research into the Pitcairn Island language.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPacific Asia Inquiry
Pages (from-to)62-74
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Pitcairn Island, placenaming

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