Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology (Smithsonian)
The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
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... year 1888. Three volumes have been issued in quick succession, so that perhaps the publication may soon be brought up to date. Each of the later volumes has also been accompanied by a bibliography of various Indian tribes, of great use to students, but not of so much general interest as the papers in the body of the work. Of these we may note in vol. vii an important paper by the Director on " Inidian Linguistic Families,' accompanied by a map showing the distribution of the various linguistic stocks, of w[hich the Athapascan and the Algonquian now occupy the largest amount of territory, although the Esquimauan seems to have extended all round the northern coasts to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, whilst on the Pacific coast there is a singular intermingling of all the continental tongues with many which apparently do not extend into the interior, suggesting either a constant straggle for possession of the seaboard, or frequent immigrations from the Pacific. Both the people and the languages of the vast American continents are unsolved riddles. Ethnologists regard all the niumerous tribes as belonging to the same Mongoloid race, yet the languages spoken appear to be more numerous and diverse than in other parts of the world occupied by various races. North of Mexico to the arctic regions, Major Powell reckons fifty-eight linguistic families, each containing several tribes, and of these he says, " It is believed that the families of languages represented upon the inap cannot have sprung from a common source; they are as distinct from one another in their vocabularies, and apparently in their origin, as from the Aryan or the Scythian families," and again he says, " There is little reason to doubt that, as the result of investigation in the field, there will be discovered tribes speaking languages not classifiable under any of the present families." "All the families occupy the same basis of dissimilarity from one another, i.e., none of them are related, and consequently no two of them are either more or less alike than any other two, except in so far as mere coincide-nces and borrowed material may be said to constitute likenaess and relationship," and he adds, " There is not a single Indian linguistic family which does not contain words similar in sound, and more rarely, similar in both sound and meaningr, to words in English, Chinese, Hebrew, and other languages.