Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 229
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Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.
 

Page 229
 
thought. But their languages are not merely alien to each other; they belong to three of the major American linguistic groups, each with an immense distribution on the northern continent. Hupa, as we have seen, is Athabaskan and, as such, is also distantly related to Haida (Queen Charlotte Islands) and Tlingit (southern Alaska); Yurok is one of the two isolated Californian languages of the Algonkin stock, the center of gravity of which lies in the region of the Great Lakes; Karok is the northernmost member of the Hokan group, which stretches far to the south beyond the confines of California and has remoter relatives along the Gulf of Mexico.
  Returning to English, most of us would readily admit, I believe, that the community of languages between Great Britain and the United States is far from arguing a like community of culture. It is customary to say that they possess a common “Anglo-Saxon” cultural heritage, but are not many significant differences in life and feeling obscured by the tendency of the “cultured” to take this common heritage too much for granted? In so far as America is still specifically “English,” it is only colonially or vestigially so; its prevailing cultural drift is partly towards autonomous and distinctive developments, partly towards immersion in the larger European culture of which that of England is only a particular facet. We cannot deny that the possession of a common language is still and will long continue to be a smoother of the way to a mutual cultural understanding between England and America, but it is very clear that other factors, some of them rapidly cumulative, are working powerfully to counteract this leveling influence. A common language cannot indefinitely set the seal on a common

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