Orientation Systems of the North Pacific Rim

Front Cover
Museum Tusculanum Press, 2011 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 138 pages
Orientation Systems of the North Pacific Rim is an extension of the author's earlier volume Eskimo Orientation Systems (also published in the series Monographs on Greenland - Meddelelser om Gronland, Man & Society, 1988). This time it covers all the contiguous languages ? and cultures ? across the northern Pacific rim from Vancouver Island in Canada to Hokkaido in northern Japan, plus the adjacent Arctic coasts of Alaska and Chukotka. These form a testing ground for recent theories concerning the nature and classification of orientation systems and their shared ?frames of reference?, in particular the many varieties of ?landmark? systems typifying the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Despite the wide variety of languages spoken here (all of them endangered), there is much in common as regards their overlapping geographical settings and the ways in which terms for orientation within the microcosm (the house) and within the macrocosm (the surrounding environment) mesh throughout the region. This is illustrated with numerous maps and diagrams, from both coastal and inland sites. Attention is paid to ambiguities and anomalies within the systems revealed by the data, as these may be clues to pre-historic movements of the populations concerned ? from a riverine setting to the coast, from the coast to inland, or more complex successive displacements. Cultural factors over and beyond environmental determinism are discussed within this broad context."


coast vs inlet
riverine and coastal
an isolated large island system
Eskimo orientation revisited
an archipelagoan system
EskimoChukchi interaction at Bering Strait
fishers and hunters of the lower Amur and beyond
Of fire and water 98
Directional affixes and clitics in the languages

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Michael Fortescue is professor of linguistics at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the author of many books, including Language Relations Across the Bering Strait and From the Writings of the Greenlanders: Kalaallit Atuakklaannit.