Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/243

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CHAPTER XX.


The Apache Language.—Its Remarkable Regularity and Copiousness.—Examples Given.—Reflections.—How Apaches are Named.—Apache Beauties.—Disinclination to tell their Apache Names.


Elsewhere it has been stated that my vocabulary of the Apache language had been forwarded to the Smithsonian Institute through Gen. Carleton, and that it had been handed to Professor George Gibbs for the purpose of being incorporated in his forthcoming work on Ethnology. As it was the only copy in my possession, I am compelled to rely solely on memory for the very unsatisfactory skeleton I am able to offer in this chapter. It will, however, serve to convince the reader of the superior intelligence of the Apache Indians as compared with nearly all other tribes of American savages, while it places them at the head of races purely nomadic.

Many of the African, Australian, North and South American tribes, and those who inhabit the Pacific Oceanica, together with several of Asia, cannot count beyond ten, but the Apaches count ten thousand with as much regularity as we do. They even make use of the decimal sequences. With us the number one has no correlative. It is unique in expression as well as in meaning, but when we come to two, we say two, twelve, twenty, two hundred; with the numeral three for a starter, we say thirteen, thirty, three hundred; and again, four, four teen, forty, four hundred, and so on up to ten, when the process is repeated by referring to the same root numeral