Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 222
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Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.
 

Page 222
 
developed in ceremonialism; the more advanced and highly specialized culture of Polynesia)?
  The man in the street does not stop to analyze his position in the general scheme of humanity. He feels that he is the representative of some strongly integrated portion of humanity—now thought of as a “nationality,” now as a “race”—and that everything that pertains to him as a typical representative of this large group somehow belongs together. If he is an Englishman, he feels himself to be a member of the “Anglo-Saxon” race, the “genius” of which race has fashioned the English language and the “Anglo-Saxon” culture of which the language is the expression. Science is colder. It inquires if these three types of classification—racial, linguistic, and cultural—are congruent, if their association is an inherently necessary one or is merely a matter of external history. The answer to the inquiry is not encouraging to “race” sentimentalists. Historians and anthropologists find that races, languages, and cultures are not distributed in parallel fashion, that their areas of distribution intercross in the most bewildering fashion, and that the history of each is apt to follow a distinctive course. Races intermingle in a way that languages do not. On the other hand, languages may spread far beyond their original home, invading the territory of new races and of new culture spheres. A language may even die out in its primary area and live on among peoples violently hostile to the persons of its original speakers. Further, the accidents of history are constantly rearranging the borders of culture areas without necessarily effacing the existing linguistic cleavages. If we can once thoroughly convince ourselves that race, in its only intelligible, that is biological,

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