Dictionnaire Gilbertin – Français.

Polycopié à Tabuiroa et terminé le 25 juillet 1954.

8vo, pp. vi, 1a-4a, vii-xii, 984, [4]; mimeographed typescript, ‘Explications du tableau des categories de verbes’ in green type; occasional light foxing, short closed tear at head of p. 423; very good in contemporary red cloth, decorative endpapers; spine sunned, somewhat worn and marked; ownership inscription (D.M. Freegard, Tarawa) at head of title.


US $333€278

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Dictionnaire Gilbertin – Français.

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Scarce first edition, the first complete description of the Gilbertese or Kiribati language. Sabatier (1886-1965) served as a Catholic missionary in the Gilbert Islands for over 50 years, arriving as a young man in 1912 and remaining there until his death. He earned a reputation as a linguist, ethnographer and historian whose knowledge of the Kiribati was unmatched among resident Europeans. His other publications include a poem in praise of Abemama, where he spent most of his active years, and Sous l’équateur du Pacifique: les iles Gilbert et la mission Catholique (1939).

Gilbertese is mostly spoken in the central Pacific Republic of Kiribati, but is also found in Fiji and the Solomon Islands. Sabatier’s encyclopaedic Dictionnaire begins with a preface on pronunciation, verbs, nouns and adjectives, in which he thanks his Kiribati collaborators and expresses his affection for the language: ‘La langue gilbertine est une merveille à conserver aussi longtemps que possible’. An English translation was published in 1971.

Only the Glasgow copy on COPAC; OCLC finds copies at UC Santa Cruz and University of Hawaii only in the US.

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