Who can name the countries of origin of these nationalities??

Ahh Yes!! I picked up a wonderful special edition copy of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick(library bound gorgeous condition). I was reading the first several chapters and I saw these nationalities and I could not believe they were real. I consider myself pretty good at geography but a few of these threw me for a loop. Take a guess:






I have a good guess for the first two but the last three I am quite vexed by…Any Ideas?

Feegeeans: Fiji

Tongatobooarrs: Tonga

Erromanggoans: Erromango Island, Vanuatu

Pannangians: haven’t found it, yet

Brighggians: haven’t found it, yet

Feegeeans are clearly from Fiji (usually spelled Feegee in Melville’s day, or even Fidgee).

Tongatoboarrs probably refers to inhabitants of Tongatapu, the main island of the Kingdom of Tonga.

Erromango is an island in Vanuatu, formerly the New Hebrides.

Still working on the last two.

(And no, Speaker, Pannangians are not Panamanians.)

I think it is sage to say Pannangians are from Pangea, heh heh.

I would venture a guess that Pannangians would be from Malaysia. But I would also guess that none of these spellings is particularly accurate. People from Tongo are normally called Tongans, but this could be more complex in their native tongue.

I think that shib hit the pannangians correctly. Penang was commonly spelled Panang(for instance, an atlas I have from 1889).

Say, are you sure this isn’t a Bricker Challenge?

Samclem What do you mean by a Bricker Challenge??

Do you mean Randy Bricker as in one of the two editors of ‘URBANIA’?

But seriously, the reason for the post is two fold, I collect old books, first editions, pristine non-first editions that are old. Mostly antiquated books…And Melville is a wondrous writer and I enjoy reading ‘Moby Dick’ every couple years…I have always wondered what the nationalities are when I get to the ‘Street’ chapter…

Second reason, I would love to incorporate those words for the Nationalities for the people of those respective countries in my class. I think the students would get a kick out of it. Thanks all the same folks for the definitions you have found thus far…!

Yeah, I’m guessing Pannangians refers to Panang, or Malaysia. Ever been to a Thai restaurant and had Panang curry?

A Google search for Brighggians lead to a Russian site. Just a possible hint.

Brighggians = Washington State Bright Island whalers?

asto going against your good guess is the fact that all the others were South? Pacific natives. Would a Bright Islander have looked like one of these, standing on the docks?

Pannangians might be people from Pago Pago, in Samoa, which IIRC is actually pronounced “Pango Pango.”

I think this could be a possibility. While there is a “Panang” in Malaya, the others are from the South Seas. And you are right about th epronunciation of Pa(n)go Pa(n)go.

“Brighggian” has me royally stumped, though.

Which brings up the point that some South Sea languages use different orthography than English. In Fijian, “b” signifies the sound “mb”, and “g” means “ng” in Samoan. I don’t know if these writing systems had been established in Melville’s day, though.

I couldn’t stand it any longer!

So I went over to …gasp!..another board which I frequent, populated by some folks who like etymology.
A poster named Douglas Wilson posted this to my query:

From this thread at Dave Wilton’s wonderful etymology site/message board.

I invite your comments and I invite you to visit.

Did Douglas solve the mystery?