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THE ESKIMO AND THEIR WRITTEN LANGUAGE

CHARLES HALLOCK

The name Eskimo, which is applied to the Innuit of the circumpolar region, is the Danish way of spelling a word of the Abnaki Indians of Lower Canada, which, in the language of that tribe, signifies “Eaters of raw meat.” The early French explorers spelled it Esquimaux, as first given by Father Charlevoix, a pioneer missionary, who emigrated to Canada, which was then called New France, in the seventeenth century, but the Danish orthography has gradually supplanted it and will hereafter stand, as it is phonetic, simpler, and quicker to write. Besides, the Danish civilization has been dominant for many years in those regions, with which traders and travelers are most familiar,

It would appear that some Abnaki Indians, among whom the Reverend Charlevoix had settled, chanced to wander as far north as upper Labrador, and upon their return they reported to the father the finding of a new race of people, whose distinctive characteristic was, as has been stated, that they ate their meat raw. This is the origin of the appellation, according to Father Barnum, an eminent linguist and missionary, who has been engaged during the last five years among the Innuits of western Alaska in the important and stupendous work of reducing the Innuit tongue to a written language, a work which, in the reverend gentleman's own words, is scarcely begun. His vocabulary, so far as he has prepared it, already embraces upward of 7,000 words, and his grammar covers 250 closely written pages of foolscap. He declares that the language of the Innuits is distinctly sui generis, and has not the slightest resemblance to any other known language in the world. He says:

“In reducing it to a written tongue we have adopted the Latin alphabet as far as possible, but there are certain sounds which are next to impossible to produce with any combination of vowels and consonants, either in Latin or English. One peculiarity of the language is the marvelous regularity of its verbs; there is but one form of them, and an irregular verb is something we have yet to find. Their favorite letter is 'k,' and the most used syllable is 'ok.” A glance over any of the books we have recently had printed in their tongue will show either one or the other, and frequently both, entering into the orthography of almost every word. The formation of the negative in verbs is a marked peculiarity of the language, consisting of the insertion of the syllable 'nra' between the verbal stem and its termination. There is no gender, but the dual number exists and is strictly used. All nouns are inflected and there are seven cases to bewilder the brain of the student. Relative pronouns are never used except in one or two instances. Instead of saying 'the person who went away,' we say in Innuit ‘the went person away.' The language is very figurative and fairly abounds in metaphorical expressions, making it extremely beautiful and capable of expressing much sentiment. In their songs the subject is invariably of nature, rather than of the chase. The tunes are a weird sort of chant, and ssess a peculiar melody I have never heard in any other country. I can scarcely hope to finish the work for many years to come, but trust when it is completed it will take rank alongside the other languages of the world and be of use to the generations as yet unborn."

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Doubtless it will prove of equal value with the invention of the Arabic type by Rev. Dr Eli and Homan Hallock, missionary printer to Smyrna in the early part of this century.

During Mr Barnum's residence at Akularak inlet on the Yukon delta, which is only two hours journey from Bering sea, he has labored unceasingly to better the condition of those among whom he lives and for whom he seems to have a far higher respect than whalers, sealers, traders, and chance explorers have been accustomed to accord to them-a people, he says, who are a race as distinctively as are the English or French, possessing a language of their own and abounding in traditional legends and folklore. It is commonly believed that the Innuits were originally from Japan, but Reverend Barnum insists that this theory can be easily exploded, and that they are beyond all reasonable doubt one of the oldest races in the world, and as such should be entitled to the respectful consideration of every ethnological student. Evidently he is much impressed. At all erents, he is likely in the course of his deep philological research to be able to establish some of his postulates as facts, if they can be established at all, for the father speaks not only the language of the country, but Greek, Latin, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, and Russian, and it was through his facility in learning languages that he has been prompted to undertake what will probably prove a life-work. He has an ecclesiastical commission from the head of the Greek Church.

THE BEGINNING OF MARRIAGE 1

WJ MCGEE

It is written in the Book of Genesis that Abraham, the son of Terah, took unto wife Sarah (x1, 29), the daughter of his father but not the daughter of his mother (xx, 12), who was barren, yet, by a miracle, in her old age bore unto him a son Isaac (XVIII, 14; XXI, 1-3). It is written that the patriarch sent a servant into the land of his forefathers, Syria, to find among his kindred a wife for Isaac (XXIV, 4), and that the servant found Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel, Abraham's brother's son (XXIV, 15) by Milcah, Abraham's brother's daughter (XI, 29), and put on her a golden earring and bracelets of gold (XXIV, 22), and gave her jewels of silver and jewels of gold and raiment, and gave also to her brother Laban and to her mother precious things (xxiv, 53), and carried her into the southern country, where Isaac took her to wife; and she was barren, yet, by a miracle, bore unto Isaac twins, Esau and Jacob (xxv, 21-26). It is also written that Jacob wandered by reason of famine, but returned unto the land of his forefathers, where he found at the well Rachel, the daughter of Laban, Rebekah's brother (xxix, 10); and that Jacob loved Rachel and served Laban for her seven years, when Laban deceived him and gave unto him his elder daughter, Leah (xxix, 23), for it was the law of the country not to give in marriage the younger before the firstborn, and that Jacob kept Leah, and served yet seven other years for Rachel (xxix, 30), who also was barren until a miracle was done, when she bore unto Jacob, Joseph (xxx, 22-24), son of his age, younger than his sons by Leah, and Bilbah, Rachel's maid, and Zilpah, Leah's maid, all princes of Israel; and that after many days Rachel died in bearing unto Jacob, Benjamin (xxxv, 16–18), the son of his old age. This scripture means much to the anthropologist. It establishes polygyny and tribal endogamy, demonstrates descent in the male line and wife-purchase by goods or service, indicates marital laws covering concubinage and the order of marriage, defines patriarchy with an inchoate land tenure, and suggests gentile endogamy with some of its consequences.

1 A preliminary outline.

Many of the marriage customs of the American aborigines run parallel with those of the patriarchs, and the two series of regulations and observances are mutually explanatory, though it is to be remembered that the Syrian patriarchs were more advanced than the occidental natives, having passed the nomadic stage of herding into semi-sedentary stock-raising and agriculture, and having well entered on the path leading up from barbaric culture through patriarchal feudalism toward national organization.

Among the Omaha Indians, according to Dorsey, the organization is gentile-i. e., descent is reckoned in the male line, though traces of clan organization or mother-descent persist in certain rights inhering in the woman, such as ownership of the tipi; tribal endogamy prevails, so that marriage outside the tribe is forbidden, though the rare infractions of this regulation are commonly condoned; gentile exogamy is more strictly enforced, so that marriage within the gens is a crime punished by ostracism or weightier penalty; polyandry or plurality of husbands is unknown, though polygyny is customary, the maximum number of wives being commonly limited to three, usually consanguinii. In the first marriage the would-be groom pays court either directly or by proxy; when he speaks for himself he may or may not make presents to the girl and her parents; if his suit is plead through another, or if he is old or ungainly, he curries favor by presents to the girl and her kindred, and these presents, or their value in other goods, may be returned when the suitor is accepted. The second and third wives are taken with the approval and sometimes at the suggestion of the first, the custom, in this respect, being identical with that among the patriarchs of old. Among certain other Siouan tribes, at any rate since contact with white men, the parents or brothers receive a stipulated price for the girl in stock or goods, though a part of this value may be returned in a wedding feast.

According to Boas the Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia, who have barely passed from clan organization into gentile organization, have the usual aboriginal regulations proscribing marriage within the gens and prescribing marriage within the tribe. Here the would-be yroom begins his suit by sending messengers

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to the girl's father, who if favorably disposed may demand fifty or more blankets to be paid at once and double that number to be paid after three months, when the suitor is allowed to live with his inamorata in the father-in-law's house. At this time the young man gives a feast to the tribe and receives fifty blankets from his father-in-law, who at the same time announces when he will refund the rest of the purchase-goods. Three months later the young man gives one hundred blankets more for permission to take his wife to his own home, and a feast is given to the tribe, in which the father-in-law conveys to the son-in-law his symbols of name, wealth, and power, and in which the young man distributes blankets among the guests ; at the same time the bride receives her dowry of property and symbolic articles and makes presents to the tribe on behalf of her husband. case of separation, the woman returns to her parents, and the father must repay twofold or threefold all that he has received from the son-in-law. Among the neighboring Salish Indians the suitor pays court for himself by going into the house of the girl's parents and sitting by the door, silent and fasting, for four days. For three days the parents abuse him in every way, but on the fourth day the mother gives him a mat to sit on, and on the evening of that day presents of food are exchanged between the parents of groom and bride, and soon after there is a wedding feast and valuable presents are made to the bride's parents by the groom, though these are returned later. Throughout the elder-women and chiefs play a prominent role in arranging the marriage, the feast, and the exchange of presents.

In the Seneca tribe, in which the organic unit was the clan and in which descent was reckoned in the female line, men and women might marry into any other clan, either in their own phratry or the other, but might not marry in their own clan; while polygyny was permitted to chiefs and other tribesmen of substance. The marriage was arranged by the suitor's parents, who consulted not only the parents of the girl, but the old women and men of the tribe. Acceptance was optional with the girl, who usually yielded to advice and inclination. If she looked with favor on the suitor she made a "wedding loaf” and offered it to him, when he was free to decline, though he usually accepted, and the marriage was then regarded as complete without further ceremonial. Neither the groom nor his relatives made

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