Tryon, Darrell T

Identity area

Type of entity


Authorized form of name

Tryon, Darrell T

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • Professor Darrell Tryon

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1942 – 2013


Professor Tryon, Pacific scholar in linguistics at the Australian National University, was a leading scholar of Pacific and Austronesian languages, particularly those from Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and the Loyalty Islands. Born in New Zealand, he completed his Bachelor's degree at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch. Studying French and Classics, he became a fluent French speaker. He moved to Australia during the mid 1960s, where he taught at Australian National University.

From 1969 to 1971, Professor Tryon collected new and old languages in Vanuatu and developed extensive wordlists. He developed the first hypotheses about relationships between the French speaking nations and presented his findings at the First International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics in Honolulu in 1974. From wordlists obtained from 179 communities he found that there were more than one hundred distinct languages in Vanuatu and that the modern, indigenous languages of Vanuatu were part of Austronesian language family.

Professor Tryon began to study the languages of the Solomon Islands beginning in 1978. He also authored works on the pidgin and creole languages of the Pacific Islands, including Pijin of the Solomon Islands and Bislama of Vanuatu. His masterwork was the 'Comparative Austronesian Dictionary', an edited five-volume work published by Mouton de Gruyter in 1995. It contained annotated wordlists for 1310 meanings organized by semantic domains in 80 Austronesian languages, 40 of them Oceanic.

Prior to his retirement in 2007 Professor Tryon was heavily involved in university administration and for part of this time was the Deputy Director of the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University. His involvement in the wider work of the school strengthened his interests in the governance and sociology of the countries of the South Pacific, and many of his more recent publications have been in this area. He was variously a Constitutional Adviser to Vanuatu Government and a member of the Council of the University of New Caledonia. In 2004 he was awarded the Legion of Honour by the French Government, in recognition of his contributions to French language and culture, especially in the Pacific, and for his work in fostering bilateral relations between Australia and France.


Asia; Pacific; New Caledonia

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Linguist; researcher

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Access points area


Control area

Authority record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created by Christine Bryan on 8 May 2014


  • Austronesian Language
  • French-based Creole or Pidgin



Professor Malcolm Ross:

Andrew Pawley, In Memoriam, Darrell Tryon, 1942-2013 in ‘Oceanic Linguistics’, Vol. 52 Issue 2, Dec 2013, p524 and

Maintenance notes

  • Clipboard

  • Export

  • EAC