There is no aboriginal language with which we are at the present day acquainted equal in many respects to the tongue which made vocal the forests and plains of Australia ere the arrival of the white man. Admitting the correctness of the theory which supposes the original inhabitants of the Australian territory and the coloured tribes of the South Sea Islands and America to be of a common stock, originally inhabiting the southern shores of Asia, it is certain that their primitive language did not improve in proportion as it diverged from its source. The native language of New Zealand is very defective in point of euphony, its notes falling on the ear like the sound of a rapid current passing over rough rocks, or the pattering of a hail-storm on a shingled roof. The tongue of the Sandwich Islands and the other groups of the South Seas is said to bear a strong affinity to that of New Zealand. On the continent of America the language is found to have recovered in some degree from the shock which it would seem to have experienced in the course of its travels, and again partakes of an Oriental tint, the highly figurative and
Page:The Aborigines of Australia (1988).djvu/53
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