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On Limitations To The Use Of Some Anthropologic Data
written by "Powell, John Wesley, 1834-1902"
...d philosophies;[Pg 079] but to a large extent philology remains in the hands of the metaphysicians, and subjective methods of thought are used in the explanation of the phenomena observed. If philology is to be a science it must have an objective philosophy composed of a homologic classification and orderly arrangement of the phenomena of the languages of the globe. Philologic research began with the definite purpose in view to discover in the diversities of language among the peoples of the earth a common element from which they were all supposed to have been derived, an original speech, the parent of all languages. In this philologists had great hopes of success at one time, encouraged by the discovery of the relation between the diverse branches of the Aryan stock, but in this very work methods of research were developed and doctrines established by which unexpected results were reached. Instead of relegating the languages that had before been unclassified to the Aryan family, new families or stocks were discovered, and this process has been carried on from year to year until scores or even hundreds, of families are recognized, and until we may reasonably conclude that there was no single primitive speech common to mankind, but that man had multiplied and spread throughout the habitable earth anterior to the development of organized languages; that is, languages have sprung from innumerable sources after the dispersion of mankind. The progress in language has not been by multiplication, which would be but a progress in degradation under the now well-recognized laws of evolution; but it has been in integration from a vast multiplicity toward a unity. True, all evolution has not been in this direction. There has often been degradation as exhibited in the multiplicity of languages and dialects of the same stock, but evolution has in the aggregate been integration by progress towards unity of speech, and differentiation (which, mus...

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