Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 230
Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.

Page 230
culture when the geographical, political, and economic determinants of the culture are no longer the same throughout its area.
  Language, race, and culture are not necessarily correlated. This does not mean that they never are. There is some tendency, as a matter of fact, for racial and cultural lines of cleavage to correspond to linguistic ones, though in any given case the latter may not be of the same degree of importance as the others. Thus, there is a fairly definite line of cleavage between the Polynesian languages, race, and culture on the one hand and those of the Melanesians on the other, in spite of a considerable amount of overlapping. 13 The racial and cultural division, however, particularly the former, are of major importance, while the linguistic division is of quite minor significance, the Polynesian languages constituting hardly more than a special dialectic subdivision of the combined Melanesian-Polynesian group. Still clearer-cut coincidences of cleavage may be found. The language, race, and culture of the Eskimo are markedly distinct from those of their neighbors; 14 in southern Africa the language, race, and culture of the Bushmen offer an even stronger contrast to those of their Bantu neighbors. Coincidences of this sort are of the greatest significance, of course, but this significance is not one of inherent psychological relation between the three factors of race, language, and culture. The coincidences of cleavage point merely to a readily intelligible historical association. If the Bantu and Bushmen are so sharply
Note 13.  The Fijians, for instance, while of Papuan (negroid) race, are Polynesian rather than Melanesian in their cultural and linguistic affinities. [back]
Note 14.  Though even here there is some significant overlapping. The southernmost Eskimo of Alaska were assimilated in culture to their Tlingit neighbors. In northeastern Siberia, too, there is no sharp cultural line between the Eskimo and the Chukchi. [back]


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