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Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico

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The terms “family” and “stock” are here applied interchangeably to a group of languages that are supposed to be cognate.

A single language is called a stock or family when it is not found to be cognate with any other language. Languages are said to be cognate when such relations between them are found that they are supposed to have descended from a common ancestral speech. The evidence of cognation is derived exclusively from the vocabulary. Grammatical similarities are not supposed to furnish evidence of cognation, but to be phenomena, in part relating to stage of culture and in part adventitious. It must be remembered that extreme peculiarities of grammar, like the vocal mutations of the Hebrew or the monosyllabic separation of the Chinese, have not been discovered among Indian tongues. It therefore becomes necessary in the classification of Indian languages into families to neglect grammatical structure, and to consider lexical elements only. But this statement must be clearly understood. Read more...


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Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891

Native American Nations

 

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