Reference Entry

Polynesian outliers

Janet Davidson

in Oxford Art Online


Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T068541

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Number of atolls and volcanic and raised coral islands on the fringes of Melanesia and Micronesia inhabited by Polynesian-speaking populations. They are frequently grouped together in studies of Pacific Islands languages and cultures. In an S-shaped curve from north to south, the islands and their political affiliations are as follows: Nukuoro and Kapingamarangi in the eastern Caroline Islands (Federated States of Micronesia), Nuguria, Tauu and Nukumanu (Papua New Guinea), Luangiua or Ontong Java, Sikaiana or Stewart Island, Rennell and Bellona, Pileni, Taumako or Duff, Anuta or Cherry, and Tikopia (Solomon Islands), Emae, Mele and Fila, Futuna and Aniwa (Vanuatu), and Ouvea (New Caledonia). In most cases the Polynesian-speaking community occupies the whole island or atoll, but in several instances, e.g. Ouvea, Polynesian speakers share the island or island group with one or more Melanesian-speaking communities.

The outliers have been recognized as such by scholars since the 19th century, although their exact number was documented only recently. A useful review is provided by Bayard. There have been two main theories about the communities’ origins: that they represent a relatively recent backwash from ...

Reference Entry.  1376 words. 

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art

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