A VAST amount of research and ingenuity has been employed in establishing resemblances between the archaeological remains of Mexico and those of Central America and Peru, and the temptation to transfer many of the assumed proofs or arguments to these pages is naturally very great. I have, however, resisted it, partly because this material is accessible to all who are interested in the subject of the possible origin of the American races, and partly because so much of it is unscientific and fanciful, that a degree of discredit rests upon it. Many remarkable facts exist; but in truth, they exist thus far, like the record of Hoei-shin, rather as an incentive to further research than as clearly-defined historical monuments. A remark recently made by Mr Hyde Clarke, when officiating as chairman at a meeting of the Society of Arts, 1 has, however, suggested to me some investigations by a learned German, well known to me personally, which I shall not scruple to reproduce, as they are
appropriate to the subject of an affinity between Old America and Asia. Ou this occasion Mr Clarke said that the "subject was so vast, it was impossible to deal thoroughly with it; but he might mention, that only recently some of the monuments in the Indo-Chinese Peninsula--in Cambodia and Pegu--had been found by himself to greatly resemble in form those of Mexico and South America; and, at the same time, strong affinities were discovered between the languages. He had just discovered, also, that there was affinity between the Akkad form of the earliest cuneiform inscriptions (which remained even now almost without interpretation) and the Aymara, in Peru, thus--establishing one historic chain from 'Babylon to the New World.' 1 New facts were constantly coming forward, and they all tended to illustrate the same interesting and important doctrine--the unity which there had always been in the human race, and the way in which progress had been carried onwards from one generation to another, for the building up of a system of civilisation which, when properly applied, would contribute to the benefit of all."
It was the reference by Mr Clarke to the resemblance between American and Asiatic languages which reminded me of some comments by the distinguished linguist F. L. O. Roehrig, who, as the discoverer of a group of
new tongues in Central Asia, and as the author of an "Essay on Languages," to which was awarded the prize of the French Institute, is entitled to respect, the more so as his views are quite free from anything visionary or fanciful. In a monograph "On the Language of the Dakota or Sioux Indians," published in 1872 at Washington, "from the Report of the Smithsonian Institution," he speaks as follows:--
"So far as we know, the Dakota language, with several cognate tongues, constitutes a separate class or family among American-Indian languages. But the question at present is, Whence does the Dakota, with its related American tongues, came? From what trunk or parent stock is it derived? Ethnologists are wont to point us to Asia as the most probable source of the prehistorical immigration from the Old World. 'Hence,' they say, 'many, if not all, of our Indians must have come from Eastern or Middle Asia; and in considering their respective tongues, one must still find somewhere in that region some cognate, though perhaps very remotely-related, set of languages, however much the affinity existing between the Indian tongues and these may have gradually become obscured, and in how many instances soever, through a succession of ages, the old family features may have been impaired. But they further allow, of course, that these changes may have taken place to such an extent that this affinity cannot be easily recognised, and may be much, even altogether, obliterated.
"When we consider the languages of the great Asiatic Continent, of its upper and eastern portions more particularly, with a view of discovering any remaining trace, however faint, of analogy with, or similarity to, the Dakota tongue, what do we find? Very little; and the only group of Asiatic languages in which we could possibly fancy we perceived any kind of dim and vague resemblance, an occasional analogy, or other perhaps
merely casual coincidence with the Sioux or Dakota tongue, would probably be the so-called 'Ural-Altaic' family. This group embraces a very wide range, and is found scattered in manifold ramifications through parts of Eastern, Northern, and Middle Asia, extending in some of its more remote branches even to the heart of Europe, where the Hungarian and the numerous tongues of the far-spread Finnish tribes offer still the same characteristics, and an unmistakable impress of the old Ural-Altaic relationship.
"In the following pages we shall present some isolated glimpses of such resemblances, analogies, &c., with the Sioux language as strike us, though we need not repeat that no conclusions whatever can be drawn from them regarding any affinity, ever so remote, between the Ural-Altaic languages and the Dakota tongue. This much, however, may perhaps be admitted from what we have to say, that at least an Asiatic origin of the Sioux or Dakota nation and their language may not be altogether an impossibility.
"In the first place, we find that as in those Ural-Altaic languages, so in a like manner in the Sioux or Dakota tongue, there exists that remarkable syntactical structure of sentences which we might call a constant inversion of the mode and order in which we are accustomed to think. Thus, more or less, the people who speak those languages would begin sentences or periods where we end ours, so that our thoughts would really appear in their minds as inverted.
"Those Asiatic languages have, moreover, no prepositions, but only postpositions. So, likewise, has the Dakota tongue.
"The polysynthetic arrangement which prevails throughout the majority of the American-Indian languages is less prominent, and decidedly less intricate, in the Dakota tongue than in those of the other tribes of this continent. But it may be safely asserted that the above-mentioned languages of Asia also contain, at least, a similar polysynthetic tendency, though merely in an incipient state, a rudimental or partially-developed form.
[paragraph continues] Thus, for instance, all the various modifications which the fundamental meaning of a verb has to undergo, such as passive condition, causation, reflexive action, mutuality, and the like, are embodied in the verb itself by means of interposition, or a sort of intercalation of certain characteristic syllables between the root and the grammatical endings of such a verb, whereby a long-continued and united series, or catenation, is often obtained, forming, apparently, one huge word. However, to elucidate this further here would evidently lead us too far away from our present subject and purpose. We only add that postpositions, pronouns, as well as the interrogative particle, &c., are also commonly blended into one with the nouns, by being inserted one after the other, where several such expressions occur in the manner alluded to, the whole being closed by the grammatical terminations, so as often to form words of considerable length. 1 May we not feel authorised to infer from this some sort of approach, in however feeble a degree, of those Asiatic languages--through this principle of catenation--to the general polysynthetic system of the American tongues?
"We now proceed to a singular phenomenon, which we should like to describe technically, as a sort of reduplicatio intensitiva. It exists in the Mongolian and Turco-Tartar branches of the Ural-Altaic group, and some vestiges of it we found, to our great surprise, also in the language of our Sioux Indians. 2
"This reduplication is, in the above-mentioned Asiatic languages, applied particularly to adjectives denoting colour and external qualities, and it is just the same in the Dakota language. It consists in prefixing to any given word its first syllable in the shape of a reduplication, this syllable thus occurring twice--often adding to it (as the case may be) a p, &c.
"The object--at least in the Asiatic languages alluded to
is to express thereby in many cases a higher degree or increase of the quality. An example or two will make it clear. Thus we have, for instance, in Mongolian, khara, which means black; and KHAp-khara, with the meaning of very black, entirely black; tsagan, white, TSAp-tsagan, entirely white, &c.; and in the Turkish and the so-called Tartar (Tatar) dialects of Asiatic Russia, kara, black, and KAp-kara, very black; sary, yellow, and SAp-sary, entirely yellow, &c.
"Now in Dakota we find sapa, black, and with the reduplication SAp-sapa. The reduplication here is, indeed, a reduplication of the syllable sa, and not of sap, the word being sa-pa, and not sap-a. The p in SAp-sapa is inserted after the reduplication of the first syllable, just as we have seen in the above, kara and KAp-kara, &c.
"In the Ural-Altaic languages m also is sometimes inserted after the first syllable; for instance, in the Turkish beyaz, white, and BEm-beyaz, very white, &.c. If we find, however, similar instances in the Dakota language, such as ćepa, which means fleshy (one of the external qualities to which this rule applies), and ćEM ćepa, &c., we must consider that the letter m is in such cases merely a contraction, and replaces, moreover, another labial letter (p) followed by a vowel, particularly a. Thus, for instance, ćom is a contraction for ćopa, ġam for ġapa, ḣam for ḣapa, skem for skepa, om for opa, tom for topa, &c. So is ćem, in our example, only an abridged form of cepa; hence m stands here for p or pa, and belongs essentially to the word itself, while in those Asiatic languages the m is added to the reduplication of the first syllable, like the KAp in p-kara, &c. We have therefore to be very careful in our conclusions.
"The simple doubling of the first syllable is also of frequent occurrence in Dakota; for instance, ġi, brown, and giġi (same meaning); sni, cold, and snisni; ko, quick, and koko, &c.
"There are also some very interesting examples to be found in the Dakota language which strikingly remind us of a remarkable peculiarity frequently met with in the Asiatic languages
above adverted to. It consists in the antagonism in form, as well as in meaning, of certain words, according to the nature of their vowels so that when such words contain what we may call the strong, full, or hard vowels--viz., a, o, or u (in the Continental pronunciation)--they generally denote strength, the male sex, affirmation, distance, &c.; while the same words with the weak or soft vowels, e, i, the consonantal skeleton, frame, or groundwork of the word remaining the same--express weakness, the female sex, negation, proximity, and a whole series of corresponding ideas.
"A few examples will demonstrate this. Thus, for instance, the idea of father is expressed in Mantchoo (one of the Ural-Altaic languages) by ama, while mother is eme. This gives, no doubt, but a very incomplete idea of that peculiarity, but it will perhaps be sufficient to explain in a measure what we found analogous in the Dakota language. Instances of the kind are certainly of rare occurrence in the latter, and we will content ourselves with giving here only a very few examples, in which the above difference of signification is seen to exist, though the significance of the respective vowels seems to be just the reverse, which would in nowise invalidate the truth of the preceding statement, since the same inconsistent alteration or anomaly frequently takes place also in the family of Ural-Altaic languages.
"Thus we find in the Dakota or Sioux language, hEpaŋ, second son of a family, and hApaŋ, second daughter of a family; ćIŋ, elder brother; ćuŋ, elder sister; ciŋksi, son; ćuŋksi, daughter, &c. Also, the demonstratives KOŋ, that, and KIŋ, this, the (the definite articles), seem to come, in some respects, under this head.
"To investigate the grammatical structure of languages from a comparative point of view, is, however, but one part of the work of the philologist; the other equally essential part consists in the study of the words themselves, the very material of which languages are made. We do not as yet intend to touch on the question of Dakota wards and their possible affinities, but reserve all that pertains to comparative etymology for some other time
[paragraph continues] The identity of words in different languages, or simply their affinity, may be either immediately recognised, or rendered evident by a regular process of philological reasoning, especially when such words appear, as it were, disguised, in consequence of certain alterations, due to time and to various vicissitudes, whereby either the original vowels or the consonants, or both, have become changed. Then, also, it frequently happens that one and the same word, when compared in cognate languages, may appear as different parts of speech, so that in one of them it may exist as a noun, and in another only as a verb, &c. Moreover, the same word may have become gradually modified in its original meaning, so that it denotes, for instance, in one of the cognate languages, the genus, and in another, merely the species of the same thing or idea. Or it may also happen that when several synonymous expressions originally existed in what we may call a mother language, they have become so scattered in their descent, that only one of these words is found in a certain one of the derived languages, while others again belong to other cognate tongues, or even their dialects, exclusively.
"The foregoing is sufficient to account for the frequent failures in establishing the relationship of certain languages in regard to the affinity of all their words. On this occasion it will be enough to mention in passing, as it were, one or two of the most frequently-used words, such as the names of father and mother. In regard to these familiar expressions, we again find a surprising coincidence between the tongues of Upper Asia--or, more extensively viewed, the Ural-Altaic or Tartar-Finnish stock of languages--and the Dakota.
"Father is in Dakota ate; in Turco-Tartar, ata; Mongolian and its branches, etsä, etsige; in the Finnish languages we meet with the forms attje, atä, &c.--they all having at = et as their radical syllable. 1 Now as to mother, it is in the Dakota
language ina; and in the Asiatic tongues just mentioned it is ana, aniya, ine, eniye, &c.
"Again, we find in the Dakota or Sioux language taŋin, which means to appear, to be visible, manifest, distinct, clear. Now we have also in all the Tartar dialects taŋ, tang, which means first light; hence dawn of the morning. 1 From it is derived tani, which is the stem or radical part of verbs, meaning to render manifest, to make known, to know; it also appears in the old Tartar verb stems, tang-(la) meaning to understand; and in its mutilated modern (and Western) form, ang-(la), without the initial t, which has the same signification. We may mention still mama, which, in Dakota, denotes the female breast. We might compare it with the Tartar meme, which has the same meaning, if we had not also in almost all European languages the word mamma (mama) with the very same fundamental signification, the children of very many different nations calling their mothers instinctively, as it were, by that name, mamma, mama. 2
"We may also assert that even in the foundation of words we find now and then some slight analogy between certain characteristic findings in the languages of Upper Asia and the Dakota tongue. Thus, for instance, the termination for the nomen agens, which in the Dakota language is sa, is in Tartar tsi, si, and dchi; Mongolian, tchi, &c. We also find in Dakota the postposition ta (a constituent part of ekta, in, at), which is a locative particle, and corresponds in form to the postpositions ta and da, and their several varieties and modifications in the greater part of the Ural-Altaic family of languages.
The same remark applies in a measure to the Dakota postposition e, which means to, toward, &c. By means of such post-positions the declension of nouns is effected in the Ural-Altaic languages. The Dakota cases of declension, if we can use this term, amount likewise to a very rude sort of a agglutination, or rather simple adding of the postpositions to the nouns. 1 There can be here no question of a real inflection or declension, since there is throughout only a kind of loose adhesion, and nowhere what we might call a true cohesion. The postpositions are in the written language added to the nouns, without being conjoined to them in writing (except the plural ending pi), as is also the case in the Mongolian language, the Turco-Tartar dialects, and other tongues of this class.
"In pointing out these various resemblances of the Sioux language to Asiatic tongues we in nowise mean to say that we are inclined to believe in any affinity or remote relationship among them. At this early stage of our researches it would be wholly preposterous to make any assertions as to the question of affinity, &c. All that we intended to do was simply to bring forward a few facts, from which, if they should be further corroborated by a more frequent. recurrence of the phenomena here touched upon, the reader might perhaps draw his own conclusions, at least so far as a very remote Asiatic origin of the Dakota language is concerned. Further investigations in the same direction might possibly lead to more satisfactory results."
I am confident, that few readers will object to the length of this citation, or to its character, since it certainly illustrates forcibly, in several respects, the present condition of all our conjectures, or knowledge, if I may so call it, of the early relations between America and Asia. There is enough in it, as in the narrative of
[paragraph continues] Hoei-shin, to amply warrant research, and to encourage labour in the direction pointed out; but it would be in the highest degree rash and arrogant to assume, on no better grounds than the two present, that America was settled by the Mongolian race. Indeed, I cannot too warmly commend Mr Roehrig's extreme caution in advancing his observations. Nevertheless, I think that they indicate a most decided possibility of an Eastern origin; and with regard to Hoei-shin, I believe there is good ground for probability. And in all such cases, one discovery strengthens the other.
99:1 April 15, 1874. Vide Journal of the Society of Arts, April 17, 1874. It was in commenting on a lecture on the "Symbolism of Oriental Ornament," delivered by William Simson, F.R.G.S., that the remark in question was made.
100:1 As I have not examined this subject, I know nothing of these affinities. I quote Mr Clarke's remarks on account of their general bearing on American languages, and as an introduction to another writer. The existence of ancient inscriptions in Peru Ps I believe, as yet doubtful.
103:1 Such intercalations are, in a measure, almost analogous to the usual insertion of the many incidental clauses in lung Latin or German sentences, if we are allowed that comparison.
103:2 This reduplicatio intensitiva is not uncommon in Hindustani.--C. G. L.
106:1 This also exists in Old German; ätti or etti being still used in Suabia for father.--C. G. L.
107:1 Din (day) Hindu; Saxon, dagian; English, dawn.--C. G. L.
107:2 e.g., Mamma, a breast or pap, Latin, having also the weaning of "a child's word for mother." Ma, or mamma, occurs in seven African languages; ma or amma in nine non-Aryan languages of Europe and Asia; ama once in North Australia; hammah in Lewis Murray Island; mamma once in Australia; and anama among the Hudson's Bay Esquimaux. Vide Sir J. Lubbock's "Origin of Civilisation."--C. G. L.
108:1 Declension by means of postpositions also occurs in the Gipsy or Rommany language.--C. G. L.