The Linguistic Atlas of French Polynesia.

Alex François (A linguist in Melanesia/Un linguiste en Mélanésie) has collaborated on Atlas Linguistique de Polynésie Française/Linguistic Atlas of French Polynesia (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter & Papeete: Université de la Polynésie Française, 2015) and put it online for all to freely access or download:

Maeva ‘outou !

Welcome to the homepage of the Linguistic Atlas of French Polynesia. The result of ten years of collaboration between two linguists of French CNRS – Jean-Michel Charpentier(†) and Alexandre François – this volume of 2562 pages documents the diversity of languages and dialects of French Polynesia. […]

Inaugurated officially on 26 February 2015, this atlas is published jointly by Université de la Polynésie française (UPF) and by academic publisher De Gruyter. Both the authors and the publishers have wished for this work to be distributed freely, in Open access, so as to be accessible to everyone. Feel free to download it and circulate it!

Now, that’s what I call accessible scholarship. (Thanks, Yoram!)

Comments

  1. What an amazing work. Some 2,500 pages. And all for a population of about a quarter million people spread over 1,500 sq mi in the middle of an ocean.

    I see that there are no plans to print the dictionary unless sufficient demand arises. That’s probably the path for all new large scholarly dictionaries.

  2. Yes, and it makes sense. (I agree about the amazingness.)

  3. In a book called “Atlas des îles abandonnées” (Atlas der abgelegenen Inseln in the original German version, 2009) there’s the — litterally — unbelievable story of a young boy, Marc Liblin, born in a village of the Vosges mountains in France, who dreams that he is taught an unknown language, a language he eventually masters perfectly.

    Aged 33, he lives solitarily in Brittany when scientists from the university of Rennes try for two years to decipher the language he speaks, to no avail.

    One day, they decide to try their luck in a number of cafés, where Marc Liblin monologues in a language nobody understands. Until a former sailor says he’d heard this tongue on a faraway island of Polynesia, and he knows a lady who speaks like that.

    They go to the block of flat in which she lives. As Meretuini Make opens the door, Marc Liblin greets her in his dreams’ language, “et elle répond aussitôt dans le vieil idiome rapa de son pays”.

    Marc Liblin, who has never left Europe before, marries the only woman that uinderstands him and in 1983 goes with her to the island where people speak the language of his dreams: Rapa Iti.

    That’s a lovely story I think.

  4. It is a nice story, Sig. However, the full German title translates as “Atlas of the remote islands: Fifty islands where I never was and never will be “. It’s not just a book, but – to put it bluntly – a collection of short stories. On Amazon, the publishers and commentators avoid calling it that, I suppose in order to sustain a PR image that it is something more magical and mystical.

    So to call the story “literally unbelievable” is rather odd. Short stories are not intended to be “believable”, whether “literally” or not. I personally think the subtitle is hamfisted and spoils any magical effect intended. Perhaps it’s there for legal reasons, so that disappointed amateur geographers can’t demand their money back.

  5. I agree with Stu. It annoys me when fiction isn’t labeled as fiction. I know, I’m a prepostmodern fuddy-duddy.

  6. Siganus Sutor says:

    It’s quite ambiguous in this case. For the few islands that I know of (Diego Garcia and Tromelin), what is written in this book is close enough to reality to think you are reading a true account of what happened.

    Furthermore, Marc Liblin is someone who really existed (http://mobile.agoravox.fr/culture-loisirs/voyages/article/ile-rapa-l-invraisemblable-79470) and he might have really told people about the language he learned while sleeping.

    It’s just that learning a language that you’ve never heard just by dreaming about it cannot go along with my sense of rationality. I nevertheless like the story — a work of fiction as far as I am concerned. I was quite disturbing, though, to realise that, contrary to what was told in other parts of the book, this was just… an invention. Or just the narration of an invention?

  7. A veridical imagining of real events narrated as if they were imaginary.

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  1. […] Welcome to the homepage of the Linguistic Atlas of French Polynesia. The result of ten years of collaboration between two linguists of French CNRS – Jean-Michel Charpentier(†) and Alexandre François – this volume of 2562 pages documents the diversity of languages and dialects of French Polynesia. FULL STORY […]

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