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LINGUIST List 22.3796

Thu Sep 29 2011

Diss: Anthro Ling: Nash: 'Insular Toponymies: Pristine Place-naming...'

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        1.     Joshua Nash , Insular Toponymies: Pristine Place-naming on Norfolk Island, South Pacific and Dudley Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Message 1: Insular Toponymies: Pristine Place-naming on Norfolk Island, South Pacific and Dudley Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Date: 22-Sep-2011
From: Joshua Nash <joshua.nashadelaide.edu.au>
Subject: Insular Toponymies: Pristine Place-naming on Norfolk Island, South Pacific and Dudley Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
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Institution: University of Adelaide
Program: European Studies and Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Joshua Nash

Dissertation Title: Insular Toponymies: Pristine Place-naming on Norfolk Island, South Pacific and Dudley Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Peter Mühlhäusler
Philip Baker
Michael Walsh

Dissertation Abstract:

Documenting patterns of pristine toponymy, or toponymic knowledge in
locations where people remember the locations and histories of people and
events associated with extant place names, is a worthwhile endeavour in
linguistically pristine island environments, i.e. isolated, small island
situations that have witnessed recent human habitation and that were
uninhabited prior to colonisation.

This study used the toponymy of Norfolk Island, South Pacific, an external
territory of Australia as a main study and compared it to the toponymy of
Dudley Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. The principal research
question for the study sought to establish whether the difference between
official and unofficial toponyms and processes of toponymy in the two
island environments was a consequence of the degree of linguistic, cultural
and ecological embeddedness of these toponyms and toponymic processes.

The linguistic situation on Norfolk is diglossic: English and Norf'k, the
language of the descendants of the Bounty mutineers, are spoken. Norfolk is
a political and cultural anomaly in Australia and its anomalous nature is
depicted in the unclear boundaries not only of its human history but also
in the blurring of boundaries in its toponymic history. This is a result of
distinct and changing patterns of land use and differing linguistic and
toponymic perceptions of the same geographical space.

Dudley Peninsula is less remote and less politically and culturally
anomalous than Norfolk and was selected as an island comparative study to
contrast principles of unofficial toponymy with unofficial Norfolk Island
toponymy. Employing a comparative method also made it possible to ascertain
the extent to which a nexus and theory of pristine toponyms, transparent
versus opaque toponymic histories and the official versus unofficial status
of toponyms is practical across two island toponymic case studies.

Primary Norfolk data were coupled with secondary archival data (n = 1068),
analysed and compared to the unofficial Dudley Peninsula data (n = 253).
The results of this study reveal that the differences between official and
unofficial toponyms can be accounted for by the establishment of typology
involving four toponym categories: (1) common colonial forms, (2) official
and unofficial descriptive toponyms, (3) unofficial names commemorating
local people, and (4) unofficial and esoteric names commemorating local
events and people. This thesis puts forward a claim delineating a broad
continuum within and between 'conscious toponymic wisdom' and 'unconscious
toponymic wisdom', which is realised differently in the two locations with
a tendency for more 'conscious toponymic wisdom' within Norfolk Island's
toponymic ethos as compared to Dudley Peninsula's more 'unconscious
toponymic wisdom'. Engaging in ecolinguistic fieldwork is a productive
means to foreground the significance of local, unofficial and esoteric
toponymic knowledge by working intimately with informants.

In conclusion this thesis argues that the concept of insular toponymies,
i.e. undertaking an analysis of toponyms based predominantly in the
documentation and analysis of primary toponymic field data, was appropriate
to describe the nature of toponymy in isolated and insular island
societies. This study puts forward the term toponymic ethnography as a
worthwhile concept within the parameters of linguistic and cultural
research in toponymy.




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