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Gary Holton
University of Alaska Fairbanks
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Calistius Hachibmai
Yap State Dept of Education
...
Toward	
  an	
  interdisciplinary	
  approach	
  
to	
  cultural	
  astronomy	
  
The	
  following	
  is	
  a	
  cauConary...
Thomas	
  Gladwin	
  (1970)	
  
“on	
  Puluwat	
  the	
  cardinal	
  direcCon	
  
is	
  east,	
  under	
  the	
  rising	
 ...
David	
  Lewis	
  (1972)	
  
“The	
  cardinal	
  compass	
  point	
  
and	
  basis	
  of	
  the	
  Carolinian	
  
navigaCo...
Stephen	
  Thomas	
  (1987)	
  
Altair	
  is	
  “the	
  cardinal	
  direcCon,	
  
east,	
  under	
  Mailap,	
  the	
  ‘Big...
Finney	
  (2007)	
  
“the	
  compass	
  is	
  not	
  oriented	
  on	
  
due	
  east,	
  but	
  on	
  rising	
  Altair	
  
...
Caroline	
  Islands	
  
Goodenough	
  (1953)	
  sidereal	
  compass	
  
Mailap	
  ‘the	
  big	
  bird’	
  
mai	
  +	
  lap	
  
?	
  +	
  ‘main,	
  primary,	
  big’	
  
maan	
  ‘bird’	
  (Puw,	
 ...
Another	
  Big	
  Bird	
  
•  Mannap	
  ‘big	
  bird’,	
  or	
  simply	
  Mal	
  ‘bird’,	
  spans	
  an	
  
arc	
  of	
  5...
Mannap	
  vs.	
  Mailap	
  
•  Could	
  Gladwin	
  and	
  other	
  observers	
  have	
  
confused	
  these	
  two	
  const...
Goodenough	
  (1953)	
  
Confusion	
  with	
  Aquila	
  ‘the	
  bird’?	
  
•  Could	
  Gladwin	
  have	
  
based	
  the	
  ‘bird’	
  gloss	
  
on	
...
Or	
  a	
  linguisCc	
  misunderstanding?	
  
•  “In	
  a	
  short	
  Cme	
  I	
  regained	
  the	
  fluency	
  in	
  Truke...
Reflexes	
  of	
  PCk	
  *l	
  and	
  *n	
  
	
  	
  
Proto-­‐
Chuukic	
   Chuuk	
   Puluwat	
   Satawal	
   Woleai	
  
‘bi...
Some	
  authors	
  more	
  circumspect	
  
•  Goodenough,	
  from	
  whom	
  Gladwin	
  draws	
  heavily	
  for	
  
both	
...
So	
  what	
  is	
  *maC?	
  
•  Woi	
  mai	
  ‘breadfruit’	
  <	
  	
  PMc	
  *mai	
  	
  	
  
•  Woi	
  	
  mmaiye	
  ‘t...
Why	
  does	
  the	
  ‘Big	
  Bird’	
  survive?	
  
•  Gladwin	
  provided	
  an	
  otherwise	
  compelling	
  and	
  
acc...
Selected	
  References	
  
Alkire,	
  W.H.	
  1970.	
  Systems	
  of	
  measurement	
  on	
  Woleai	
  Atoll,	
  Caroline	...
Acknowledgements	
  
•  Ali	
  Haleyalur	
  
•  Calistus	
  Hachibmai	
  
•  Jerry	
  Lipka	
  
•  Don	
  Rubenstein	
  
•...
East is not a Big Bird: Altair and the Carolinian sidereal compass
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East is not a Big Bird: Altair and the Carolinian sidereal compass

Presentation given at the workshop on Hawaiian, Oceanic and Global Cultural Astronomy, Hilo, 16-20 August 2015

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East is not a Big Bird: Altair and the Carolinian sidereal compass

  1. 1. Gary Holton University of Alaska Fairbanks University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Calistius Hachibmai Yap State Dept of Education Alicius Haleyalur Yap Traditional Navigation Society East is a Big Bird: Altair and the Carolinian sidereal compass Hawaiian,  Oceanic  and  Global  Cultural  Astronomy   Hilo,  16-­‐20  August  2015  
  2. 2. Toward  an  interdisciplinary  approach   to  cultural  astronomy   The  following  is  a  cauConary  tale  of  the  dangers   of  disciplinary  research.   For  the  past  35  years  a  misunderstanding   regarding  the  meaning  of  the  Carolinian  star   Mailap  has  persisted.     Unraveling  this  mystery  requires  delving  into  the   boundaries  between  the  fields  of  astronomy  and   linguisCcs.    
  3. 3. Thomas  Gladwin  (1970)   “on  Puluwat  the  cardinal  direcCon   is  east,  under  the  rising  of  Altair,   the  ‘Big  Bird’”  (p.  148)  
  4. 4. David  Lewis  (1972)   “The  cardinal  compass  point   and  basis  of  the  Carolinian   navigaConal  system  is  the   posiCon  where  Altair  rises  in   the  eastward....  If  an  island   has  a  bearing  of  81.5°  from   the  navigator,  he  will  describe   it  as  being  'under  the  Big   Bird',  the  rising  Altair.”  (p.  64)  
  5. 5. Stephen  Thomas  (1987)   Altair  is  “the  cardinal  direcCon,   east,  under  Mailap,  the  ‘Big   Bird’”  (p.  83)    
  6. 6. Finney  (2007)   “the  compass  is  not  oriented  on   due  east,  but  on  rising  Altair   (Mailap:  'Big  Bird')”  (p.  160)  
  7. 7. Caroline  Islands  
  8. 8. Goodenough  (1953)  sidereal  compass  
  9. 9. Mailap  ‘the  big  bird’   mai  +  lap   ?  +  ‘main,  primary,  big’   maan  ‘bird’  (Puw,  Stw)   mal    ‘bird’    (Woe)   <  PMc  *manu  ‘living  creature  of  land/air’  
  10. 10. Another  Big  Bird   •  Mannap  ‘big  bird’,  or  simply  Mal  ‘bird’,  spans  an   arc  of  58  degrees  across  the  southeastern  sky   (mannap  =  ?maliulap  <  maliu+lap)   Mannap looking  south  from  Yap  (9°31’  N,  138°08’  E)  on  February  15,  2015  at  8:00  PM  local   Cme  (UTC+10)    
  11. 11. Mannap  vs.  Mailap   •  Could  Gladwin  and  other  observers  have   confused  these  two  constellaCons?   •  Mailap  rises  26  deg  to  the  east  of  Sirius,  the   primary  star  in  Mannap   •  Mailap  rises  13  hours  ajer  Sirius  
  12. 12. Goodenough  (1953)  
  13. 13. Confusion  with  Aquila  ‘the  bird’?   •  Could  Gladwin  have   based  the  ‘bird’  gloss   on  the  western   constellaCon  Aquila?   •  páá  ‘arm,  wing’   Pááyefáng  (Tarazed)   Pááyéér  (Alshain)   Mááylap  (Altair)  
  14. 14. Or  a  linguisCc  misunderstanding?   •  “In  a  short  Cme  I  regained  the  fluency  in  Trukese  which   I  had  acquired  twenty  years  earlier,  but  the   combinaCon  of  minor  dialecCcal  differences  and  the   fact  that  Trukese  was  a  second  language  for  both  me   and  my  Puluwat  informants  made  it  more  difficult  to   talk  with  some  people  than  with  others.”  (Gladwin   1970:134)     •  “Samuel  H.  Elbert  prepared  a  dicConary  and  syntax  of   the  Puluwat  language  which  among  other  things   relieves  me  of  the  need  to  reproduce  naCve  terms  and   phoneCcs.  Accordingly,  I  use  only  English  equivalents   for  Puluwat  terms.”  (Gladwin  1970:vi)   •  The  ‘big  bird’  gloss  is  the  “English  equivalent”  of  Puw   Mááylap  
  15. 15. Reflexes  of  PCk  *l  and  *n       Proto-­‐ Chuukic   Chuuk   Puluwat   Satawal   Woleai   ‘bird,   living   being’   *manú   maan   maan   maan   maliu   ‘big,   main’   *lapa   nap   lap   nap/lap   lap   ‘big  bird   *manú-­‐ lapa   mannap   mallap   mannap   mannap   ‘Altair’   *maati-­‐ lapa   Máánap   Mááyláp   Mainap   Mailap   Chk  Máánap  shows  irregular  loss  of  original  *i  with  *a  >  áá    
  16. 16. Some  authors  more  circumspect   •  Goodenough,  from  whom  Gladwin  draws  heavily  for   both  star  names  and  the  layout  of  the  sidereal   compass,  says  merely  that  “the  meaning  of  the  name  is   obscure.  It  is  the  main  *maa,  ….”  (1953:  12   •  Alkire  (1970:  44)  does  not  offer  a  translaCon  for  the   star  Mailap  but  does  suggest  that  the  companion  stars   Tarazed  and  Alshain  in  the  constellaCon  Mailap  have   names  which  translate  as  ‘line  to  the  north’  and  ‘line  to   the  south’,  respecCvely.     •  Riesenberg,  who  was  with  Gladwin  in  Puluwat  in  1967,   makes  no  asempt  to  gloss  Altair  in  his  detailed  study   of  Puluwat  navigaConal  knowledge  (1972).    
  17. 17. So  what  is  *maC?   •  Woi  mai  ‘breadfruit’  <    PMc  *mai       •  Woi    mmaiye  ‘taut,  sail  into  the  wind’  (ojen  east,  i.e.,   toward  rising  Altair)    <    PCk  *mai(a)     •  Woi  mailap    denotes  a  region  below  the  umbilicus   which  is  treated  in  a  certain  kind  of  tradiConal   massage.  In  this  pracCce  the  term  mailap  is  used  to   refer  to  a  central  area  of  the  abdomen  under  the   umbilicus  which  is  massaged  as  a  part  of  healing.     •  Mortlokese  mailap  is  both  (i)  an  alternate  term  for   ‘navel’;  and  (ii)  ‘a  certain  form  of  massage’  (Odango,   p.c.)     •  Meilap  is  a  place  name  on  the  west  coast  of  Pohnpei   (Sohl,  p.c.;  Panholzer  &  Mauricio  2003)  
  18. 18. Why  does  the  ‘Big  Bird’  survive?   •  Gladwin  provided  an  otherwise  compelling  and   accurate  descripCon  of  Puluwat  navigaCon   •  The  etymology  was  encapsulated  in  a  catchy  Ctle   •  ConflaCon  of  two  important  concepts   –  The  big  bird  Mannap  (i.e.,  the  constellaCon  centered   on  Sirius)     –  Mailap,  the  central  point  of  the  Carolinian  sidereal   compass   •  Linguists  and  astronomers  don’t  talk  to  each   other  
  19. 19. Selected  References   Alkire,  W.H.  1970.  Systems  of  measurement  on  Woleai  Atoll,  Caroline  Islands.  Anthropos  65   (1/2):  1-­‐73.   Bender,  B.,  et  al.  2003.  Proto-­‐Micronesian  ReconstrucCons.  Oceanic  LinguisCcs  42  (1):  1-­‐110,  42   (2):  271-­‐358.   Elbert,  S.H.  1972.  Puluwat  DicConary.  Canberra:  Australian  NaConal  University,  Research  School   of  Pacific  Studies,  Dept.  of  LinguisCcs.   Finney,  B..  2007.  TradiConal  navigaCon.  In  K.R.  Howe  (ed.)  Vaka  Moana:  Voyages  of  the   Ancestors;  The  Discovery  and  Seslement  of  the  Pacific,  156-­‐85.  Auckland:  David  Bateman   and  Auckland  Museum.   Gladwin,  T.  1970.  East  is  a  big  bird:  NavigaCon  and  logic  on  Puluwat  Atoll.  Harvard.   Goodenough,  W.H.  1953.  NaCve  astronomy  in  the  Central  Carolines.  University  Museum,   University  of  Pennsylvania.   Johnson,  R.K  &  J.K.  Mahelona.  1975.  Nā  Inoa  Hōkū:  A  Catalogue  of  Hawaiian  and  Pacific  Star   Names.  Honolulu:  Togallant  Publishing.   Lewis,  D.  1972.  We,  the  Navigators:  The  Ancient  Art  of  Landfinding  in  the  Pacific,  2nd  ed.   Honolulu:  UH  Press.   Panholzer,  T.  &  R.  Mauricio.  2003.  Place  Names  of  Pohnpei  Island,  Including  And  (Ant)  and  Pakin   Atolls.  Honolulu:  Bess  Press.   Riesenberg,  S.H.  1972.  The  organisaCon  of  navigaConal  knowledge  on  Puluwat.  JPS  81(1):  19-­‐56.   Thomas,  S.D.  1987.  The  Last  Navigator.  New  York:  Henry  Holt.    
  20. 20. Acknowledgements   •  Ali  Haleyalur   •  Calistus  Hachibmai   •  Jerry  Lipka   •  Don  Rubenstein   •  Ken  Rehg   •  Bob  Blust   •  Emmerson  Odango   •  Damian  Sohl   This  material  is  based  upon  work  supported  by  the  NaConal  Science   FoundaCon  under  Grants  No.  OPP-­‐1203194,  OPP-­‐1317245.  

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