The English of Tristan da Cunha

This section will deal with vocabulary and names closely connected with the special culturalor social conditions of the Island of Tristan da Cunha.

The use of nicknames is extremely common on Tristan da Cunha. The importance of this is best realized, if it is associated with the special pratice teasing that has developed on the island. The use of the nickname thus has an important social function and often has to do with some events in a person's past, about which he may be particularly sensitive. Some phrases typical of the island usage are connected with the holidays and festivals peculiar to the island community. The material culture has also left a definitive stamp on word-formation in cases of clothing, farmin, fishing, etc.

Various aspects of the sociological and anthropological background of Tristan da Cunha have been studied by Peter A Munch in Sociology of Tristan da Cunha (1945).

This (shortened) introduction can be found in "The English of Tristan da Cunha" by Arne Zettersten. (Lund Studies in English. 37. Published in 1969).

With kind permission from the author - Professor Arne Zettersten - part of his studies will follow in sections (corresponding to his book) - see below.

Onomastic Material
Habitation names
Hills, ridges, craters, slopes, inland rocks
Rocks (in the sea or on the coast), hardies, bluffs
Words connected with the fauna
Points, headlands, capes
Daily work
Plains, plateaus, districts, woods
Gulches, valleys
Brooks, waterfalls, crater lakes
Illness, etc.
Bays, beaches, caves
Tracks, paths, roads
The sea
Personal names, nicknames
People, the community
Miscellaneous names
Holidays, parties, games


Updated October, 2003 John Ekwall