Languages of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands


Languages of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

.

The only official language of the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is English, and this is spoken by almost everyone on a day to day basis. The islands' population is currently transient, and there has never been any native South Georgians, although a handful of people have been born there.

Current

English language

English has been used throughout the recorded history of South Georgia, from the earliest explorations by Anthony de la Roché and James Cook to the present day. It is used for the territory's administration, postage stamps and various other purposes.

The majority of the area's toponyms are either in English or anglicised, and have been given by both British and American explorers - e.g. Bird Island, Grass Island, Echo Pass, Gold Harbour and many others.

Latin

Latin is used in the motto of the islands - "Leo Terram Propriam Protegat" meaning "May the Lion protect his own land". It also appears on the church at Grytviken.

Historic

Several languages have been used historically in South Georgia.

Norwegian

Norwegian was used in South Georgia mainly by the numerous whalers.

Norwegian's main legacy is in a sizeable number of placenames, including Hestesletten ("Horse's Plain"), Skrap Skerries ("skrapskjaer" or "skrapskjar"), Trollhul and Elsehul. A couple of whaling stations had Norwegian names- Husvik (house bay) and Godthul (good hollow).

The first person to be born in South Georgia (and south of the Antarctic Convergence), Solveig Gunbjørg Jacobsen would have been a Norwegian speaker. The settlement Grytviken (which is a "Swedish" name) was founded by Carl Anton Larsen, another Norwegian speaker.

Russian

Russian was used by some explorers, such as Bellinghausen, and is retained in placenames such as Visokoi Island ("высокий" meaning "high"), Zavodovski and Kupriyanov Islands ("Mys Kupriyanov") and Annenkov Island.

panish

The role of Spanish is more controversial, particularly as Argentina still contests the British claim to the islands, and considers them part of the Tierra del Fuego province.

The Compañía Argentina de Pesca operated in Grytviken until about 1960.

The Argentine naval station Corbeta Uruguay was clandestinely built on Thule Island, South Sandwich Islands on 7 November 1976, in the wake of many protests. At an early stage of the Falklands War, 32 special forces troops from Corbeta Uruguay were brought by the Argentine Navy ship "Bahía Paraiso" to South Georgia and landed at Leith Harbour on March 25, 1982. During this period, Argentina would have used Spanish "officially". However, Argentine control was not complete, and the Argentines in South Georgia surrendered to the British on April 25, 1982.

Spanish does not feature much in the official toponomy of the islands, other than the names of scientific bases, and Carlita Bay; however, a number of placenames have Spanish equivalents, e.g. Vindication Island is "Isla Vindicación".

wedish language

Swedish is closely related to and often mutually intelligible with Norwegian.

The placenames Grytviken (Pot Bay) and Maiviken (Majviken -May Bay) derive from Swedish.

Others

Numerous other languages would have been used by explorers, whalers, sealers etc in the vicinity, these would include Lowland Scots (along with some Scottish placenames), and German (retained in placenames such as Bertrab Glacier and Brocken).


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands — South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands …   Wikipedia

  • Commissioner for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands — Flag of the Commissioner for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, 1999 present …   Wikipedia

  • Coat of arms of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands — The coat of arms of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands was granted in 1985, upon the creation of the territory. Prior to 1985, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands were a dependency of the Falkland Islands, and used their coat… …   Wikipedia

  • Cook Island, South Sandwich Islands — South Sandwich Islands Location of Cook Island Geography …   Wikipedia

  • Special member state territories and the European Union — Map of European Union in the world (with overseas countries and territories (OCT) and outermost regions (OMR)) Several European Union member states have special territories which, for historical, geographical, or political reasons, enjoy special… …   Wikipedia

  • Languages of the United States — Official language(s) none Main language(s) English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo European 3.8%, Asian …   Wikipedia

  • Languages of Canada — Languages of Canada[1] Official language(s) English (58%) and French (22%) Indigenous language(s) Abenaki, A …   Wikipedia

  • Languages of Malta — Languages of Malta[1] Official language(s) Maltese (100%) English (88%) Significant unofficial language(s) Italian (66%) Main …   Wikipedia

  • South Africa — This article is about the modern country. For other uses, see South Africa (disambiguation). Republic of South Africa …   Wikipedia

  • The Bahamas — This article is about the country. For the Canadian singer guitarist, see Bahamas (musician). Commonwealth of the Bahamas …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.