Faculty of Arts


Pacific Languages and World-Views


Explores the relationship between Pacific languages and Pacific world-views, and provides illustrations from Samoan and Tongan languages and cultures. First, we ask "what is language?", and "what is meant by world-view?", and some answers, such as those proposed in theoretical linguistics and in anthropology will be explored. Focus will be on the view of language as a conceptual system whose main function is the construction of reality. In this view, the vocabulary of a language is its inventory of conceptual elements that make up its conceptual world or world-view. We examine this as it applies to Samoan and Tongan languages and cultures.

Module One will focus on the cultural meaning and significance of naming (personal and place names). A second module focuses on the languages of arts and crafts, such as the vocabulary of ngatu (barkcloth) and fine mats. A third module will focus on the way social organisation is reflected through language. The fourth module will focus on special language considerations in each of the island groups (eg, Samoan oratory, Tongan honorifics).

Availability 2012

Semester 2


Coordinator(s)  Vavao Fetui


Coursebook available at the Centre for Pacific Studies


Coursework + exam


PACIFIC 105: 15.0 points

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