Saltwater placenames around Mer in the Torres Strait

Piper, Nick (2014) Saltwater placenames around Mer in the Torres Strait. In: Clark, Ian D., Hercus, Luise, and Kostanski, Laura, (eds.) Indigenous and Minority Placenames: Australian and international perspectives. ANU Press, Canberra, ACT, Australia, pp. 163-185.

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[Extract] This paper explores the names and meanings given for some of the reefs and cays (small low-lying islands) around Mer, Dauar and Waier (known as the Murray Islands) in the Torres Strait.1 Such placenames 'tell us something not only about the structure and content of the physical environment itself but also how people perceive, conceptualize, classify and utilize that environment' (Thornton 1997: 209). They therefore 'intersect three fundamental domains of cultural analysis: language, thought and the environment' (1997: 209). The aims of this paper are to bring to light naming patterns for places around Mer. It is hoped that such a focus on saltwater placenames will prompt other researchers to document this knowledge as a potential resource for sea claims.2

The paper is organised as follows: the first section looks at different sources for placenames in other parts of the world. The second section introduces the reader to the Torres Strait region and its languages, in particular the languages of the eastern islands. The third section focuses on the names for saltwater places around Mer, their lexical source, grammatical structure and in some cases, the choice of language.

Item ID: 38426
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-925021-63-9
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2015 00:25
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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