Cook's Naming Conventions
Cook's knack of finding names for localities was peculiarly happy. Those who have had to do this, know the difficulty. Wherever he was able to ascertain the native name, he adopts it; but in the many cases where this was impossible, he manages to find a descriptive and distinctive appellation for each point, bay, or island.
He seems to have kept these names very much to himself, as it is seldom the officers' logs know anything of them; and original plans, still in existence, in many cases bear different names to those finally pitched upon.
Cook's names have rarely been altered, and New Zealand and Australian places will probably for all time bear those which he bestowed.
In the orthography of his native names he was not so successful. The constant addition of a redundant "o" has altered many native sounds, such as Otaheite for Tahiti, Ohwhyhee for Hawaii; while his spelling generally has been superseded by more simple forms. This is a matter, however, in which great difficulties are found to the present day by Englishmen, whose language presents no certain laws for rendering any given sound into a fixed combination of letters. (Wharton 1893)
Posted by Arborfield at 08:04