Page:Australian race - vol 1.djvu/32

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The Australian Race.


CHAPTER I.

REMARKS ON THE ABORIGINAL LANGUAGES OF AUSTRALIA.

Generally, the only reliable records of the early history of a savage race are its languages, customs, and physical characteristics, but particularly its languages. As one of the principal aims of this work is the investigation of the past history of the Aborigines of Australia, and as the conclusions arrived at on that subject, have for the most part resulted from the comparison of the languages of our continent, as well amongst themselves as with those of other countries, it seems proper to treat of them at the outset, omitting, however, many particulars which must necessarily be referred to at length in other chapters.

The sounds represented by our letters f, s, x, and z do not exist in the languages of Australia; j, q, and v are of rare occurrence, and probably absent in many. J as in James, is found in the languages of the Yarra basin (see Languages of the Aborigines of the Colony of Victoria, by Daniel Bunce), and likewise in the Gippsland languages, &c. It is also found in Western Australia (see Descriptive Vocabulary of the Language of Western Australia, by George Fletcher Moore). It is likewise common in the Bangerang and Ngooraialum tongues. Q is found in the vocabularies compiled by Bunce and Moore, just mentioned; in a Vocabulary of the Woolna Language, published anonymously, and printed by the Government Printer, Adelaide, in 1869; and in several of the vocabularies which appear in this work. V appears in Ridley's Kamilaroi, in the Woolna and Yarra basin vocabularies