On the Evolution of Language

On the Evolution of Language
First Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1879-80

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On the Evolution of Language by J. W. Powell

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1881

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On the Evolution of Language
First Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1879-80

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Government Printing Office, Washington, 1881, pages 1-16

Book Excerpt

es wigwam, and is derived from the verb küri, to stay. Thus the name of the school-house literally signifies a staying place where sorcery is counted, or where papers are read. The Pavänt in naming a school-house describes the purpose for which it is used. These examples illustrate the general characteristics of Indian nouns; they are excessively connotive; a simply denotive name is rarely found. In general their name-words predicate some attribute of the object named, and thus noun, adjective, and predicant are undifferentiated.

In many Indian languages there is no separate word for eye, hand, arm, or other parts and organs of the body, but the word is found with an incorporated or attached pronoun signifying my hand, my eye; your hand, your eye; his hand, his eye, etc., as the case may be. If the Indian, in naming these parts, refers to his own body, he says my; if h

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