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An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, in the South Pacific Ocean: With an Original Grammar and Vocabulary of Their Language (Cambridge Library Collection - History of Oceania)

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An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, in the South Pacific Ocean: With an Original Grammar and Vocabulary of Their Language (Cambridge Library Collection - History of Oceania)

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In November 1806, the damaged Port-au-Prince arrived at what Captain Cook had called the Friendly Islands. William Charles Mariner (1791-1853) was among the few crew members spared by the native inhabitants. He lived there for four years. Published in 1818, this two-volume second edition offers an important early insight into Tongan customs and language. As editor John Martin (1789-1869) explains, the structure of a nation’s language is vital to the consideration of its history. So successful was the first edition of 1817 – expanded upon here to include ‘generally corroborative, and in a few instances somewhat corrective’ information from another erstwhile inhabitant – that within months of its publication a French translation appeared; German and American editions soon followed. Volume 2 covers diverse aspects of Tongan society, from its music to notions of the soul, and includes a detailed grammar of the language and 2,000 words of vocabulary.

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