Page:Primitive Culture Vol 1.djvu/182

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in the history of our race. It seems, however, that in the daily intercourse of the lower races, gesture holds a much more important place than we are accustomed to see it fill, a position even encroaching on that which articulate speech holds among ourselves. Mr. Bonwick confirms by his experience Dr. Milligan's account of the Tasmanians as using 'signs to eke out the meaning of monosyllabic expressions, and to give force, precision, and character to vocal sounds.' Captain Wilson remarks on the use of gesticulation in modifying words in the Chinook Jargon. There is confirmation to Spix and Martius' description of low Brazilian tribes completing by signs the meaning of their scanty sentences, thus making the words 'wood-go' serve to say 'I will go into the wood,' by pointing the mouth like a snout in the direction meant. The Rev. J. L. Wilson, describing the Grebo language of West Africa, remarks that they have personal pronouns, but seldom use them in conversation, leaving it to gesture to determine whether a verb is to be taken in the first or second person; thus the words 'ni ne' will mean 'I do it,' or 'you do it,' according to the significant gestures of the speaker.[1] Beside such instances, it will hereafter be noticed that the lower races, in counting, habitually use gesture-language for a purpose to which higher races apply word-language. To this prominent condition of gesture as a means of expression among rude tribes, and to the development of pantomime in public show and private intercourse among such peoples as the Neapolitans of our own day, the most extreme contrast may be found in England, where, whether for good or ill, suggestive pantomime is now reduced to so small a compass in social talk, and even in public oratory.

Changes of the bodily attitude, corresponding in their fine gradations with changes of the feelings, comprise condi-

  1. Bonwick, 'Daily Life of Tasmanians,' p. 140; Capt. Wilson, in 'Tr. Eth. Soc.,' vol iv. p. 322, &c.; J. L. Wilson, in 'Journ. Amer. Oriental Soc.,' vol. i. 1849, No 4; also Cranz., 'Grönland,' p. 279 (cited below, p. 186). For other accounts, see 'Early Hist. of Mankind,' p. 77.