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A Grammar and Dictionary of the Samoan Language, with English and Samoan vocabulary


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There are two great Dictionaries of Samoan, The Rev. Pratt's appeared first in 1862, and in its fourth and last edition, in 1911. Professor Milner's dictionary was published in 1966.

The two works differ greatly in style and content. Milner's dictionary is superbly reliable in its treatment of the forms and meanings of contemporary words. But Pratt's work remains of value to Polynesianists, and continues to hold a special place in the hearts of Samoan's, for several reasons. It records many old words of special interest–specialist terminology, archaic words and names in Samoan tradition. It contains sections on Samoan poetry and proverbs, and an extensive grammatical sketch. And its simple organisation (which follows Samoan alphabetical order with vowels first) makes it easy to find words.

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Sadly, both dictionaries have been virtually unobtainable for many years. Thus, this reprinting of Pratt's Dictionary and Grammar is doubly welcome and will be much appreciated both by the Samoan people and by students of Polynesian languages generally.

Andrew Pawley

Associate Professor of Linguistics University of Auckland