Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 228
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Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.
 

Page 228
 
flow of what we might call natural distributions, is it easy to show that language and culture are not intrinsically associated. Totally unrelated languages share in one culture, closely related languages—even a single language—belong to distinct culture spheres. There are many excellent examples in aboriginal America. The Athabaskan languages form as clearly unified, as structurally specialized, a group as any that I know of. 11 The speakers of these languages belong to four distinct culture areas—the simple hunting culture of western Canada and the interior of Alaska (Loucheux, Chipewyan), the buffalo culture of the Plains (Sarcee), the highly ritualized culture of the southwest (Navaho), and the peculiarly specialized culture of northwestern California (Hupa). The cultural adaptability of the Athabaskan-speaking peoples is in the strangest contrast to the inaccessibility to foreign influences of the languages themselves. 12 The Hupa Indians are very typical of the culture area to which they belong. Culturally identical with them are the neighboring Yurok and Karok. There is the liveliest intertribal intercourse between the Hupa, Yurok, and Karok, so much so that all three generally attend an important religious ceremony given by any one of them. It is difficult to say what elements in their combined culture belong in origin to this tribe or that, so much at one are they in communal action, feeling, and
Note 11.  The Semitic languages, idiosyncratic as they are, are no more definitely ear-marked. [back]
Note 12.  See page 209. [back]

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