Rare 1st Edition 1945


THE OCEANIA MONOGRAPHS NO. 7. Price Twelve Shillings and Sixpence. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia:
The Australian National Research Council, no date [circa 1944].

A solid copy of this rare and very important work, the first complete grammar of an Australian aboriginal language. It was written by noted Australian linguist Theodor Strehlow, who was a fascinating figure. He was the child of German Lutheran missionaries in the Australian outback, where he spent much of his life living with Arunta aborigines, speaking their language fluently and being allowed to see and participate in the most secret and holy rituals. In this groundbreaking work, Strehlow provides the first complete phonetic and grammatical study of an Australian Aboriginal language. Besides his earlier life experiences, he spent 4 years of fieldwork with the Aranda [also known as the Western Arrernte] specifically working on this project. Strehlow was unique as the only outsider to really understand and internalize aboriginal culture and values and to be able to explain it in a meaningful and respectful way to outsiders. He later wrote his masterpiece SONGS OF CENTRAL AUSTRALIA [1972], which was the basis for Bruce Chatwin's book "Songlines." Barry Hill wrote a book about Strehlow: "Broken Song, T.G.H. Strehlow and Aboriginal Possession". This is the First and evidently only edition of this work in book form; it is based on a series of articles which appeared in Oceania between March 1942 and March 1944, and it was probably printed circa 1945, though there is no publication date in the book. This book was owned by noted American anthropologist Floyd Lounsbury, with his signature on the front cover. Published more than 60 years ago, ARANDA PHONETICS AND GRAMMAR is also exceedingly rare and seldom comes up for sale.

Contents include: introduction; Aranda phonetics; Aranda grammar; classes of words in Aranda; the post positive article; the noun; the adjective; the pronoun; the numeral; the verb; the adverb; the post-position and the post-positional suffix; the conjunction; the interjection; corrigenda.

From the Introduction: "About twenty years ago the Australian National Research Council successfully sought funds from the great 'Research Foundations' abroad for the purpose of financing and directing anthropological research amongst the native peoples of Australia ( in particular ) and of the south-west Pacific. The research was to be concerned with all aspects of life, provided that well-equipped workers were available for the various projects. One of the most important fields was linguistics. This was particularly so in the case of the Australian Aborigines. Only a few incomplete grammatical studies and lists of words had been prepared previously - almost all by hard-working devoted missionaries. As a first step towards remedying this state of affairs, the Australian National Research Council gave the opportunity to an American linguist to study for two years (1930-31) selected languages in the north-west and on the east coast of Australia. Again, in 1932, on th recommendation of Professor J. A. FitzHerbert and the University of Adelaide, the Council gladly made a grant to Mr. T. G. H. Strehlow ( The B. A. Honours, later M. A. ) to enable him to undertake a detailed investigation of the Aranda language and its dialects. This was a great opportunity for Australian linguistics, because not only had Mr. Strehlow shown exceptional linguistic ability in his undergraduate work, but in addition, he had been familiar with the Aranda language since his earliest years. His father, Pastor, C. Strehlow, had been missionary amongst the Aranda for a long period and had studied the language and made translations from and into it."

"Altogether, Mr. Strehlow spent about four years in the field on his task, which he performed with great thoroughness and distinction, as this Monograph shows. It is the first complete phonetic and grammatical study of an Australian Aboriginal language to appear. Consequently the Australian National Research Council can take some pride in having made possible both the long fieldwork and the publication of the results..."

Quarto-sized book in stiff paper wraps; 224 pages of text, with a diagram and two fold-out charts. Very Good condition: no writing or markings in the text; no torn pages; almost no foxing or yellowing to paper. Original publisher's wraps with black lettering; title and author handwritten on spine; sunfading to spine and edges; owner name "F. G. Lounsbury" written on front cover; some loss to spine tips, crack in spine paper; light wear to edges. A solid and attractive copy of this interesting and very rare book.


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