Sociolinguistics in the South Pacific

Authored by: France Mugler , Richard Benton

The Routledge Handbook of Sociolinguistics Around the World

Print publication date:  November  2009
Online publication date:  December  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415422789
eBook ISBN: 9780203869659
Adobe ISBN: 9781135261054


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Geographically, the ‘South Pacific’ covers the island groups occupying a huge area of the Pacific Ocean, and a far smaller area of land, situated south of the Tropic of Cancer and roughly between the 130th West and 130th East degrees of latitude (but also including Easter Island at 109.22 degrees West), that is, the areas often referred to as ‘Polynesia’, ‘Melanesia’ and ‘Micronesia’, and possibly also the continent of Australia. Linguistically at least, Fiji should be grouped with Polynesia, as the Fijian languages, Rotuman and the Polynesian languages share a single common ancestor. The largest land masses in the region, which also have the largest populations–Australia, the island of New Guinea (divided between the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea) and New Zealand, are dealt with in separate chapters in this volume. The State of Hawaii is part of the USA.

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