Page:The Outline of History Vol 1.djvu/182

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guages, which vary widely among themselves, are separable from any Old World group. Here we may lump them together not so much as a family as a miscellany.[1] There is one great group of languages in Africa, from a little way north of the equator to its southern extremity, the Bantu, and in addition a complex of other languages across the centre of the continent about which we will not trouble here.[2] There are also two probably separate groups, the Dravidian in South India, and the Malay-Polynesian stretched over Polynesia, and also now including Indian tongues.

Now it seems reasonable to conclude from these fundamental differences that about the time when men were passing from the Palæolithic to Neolithic conditions, and beginning to form rather larger communities than the family herd, when they were beginning to tell each other long stories and argue and exchange ideas, human beings were distributed about the world in a number of areas which communicated very little with each other. They were separated by oceans, seas, thick forests, deserts or mountains from one another. There may have been in that remote time, it may be 10,000 years ago or more, Aryan, Semitic, Hamitic, Turanian, American, and Chinese-speaking tribes and families, wandering over their several areas of hunting and pasture, all at very much the same stage of culture, and each developing its linguistic instrument in its own way. Probably each of these original tribes was not more numerous altogether than the Indians in Hudson Bay Territory to-day. Agriculture was barely beginning, and until agriculture made a denser population possible men may have been almost as rare as the great apes have always been.

In addition to these early Neolithic tribes, there must have been various varieties of still more primitive forest folk in Africa and in India. Central Africa, from the Upper Nile, was

  1. See Farrand, The American Nation, and E. S. Payne, History of the New World called America, and note footnote to § 1 of this chapter.
  2. These are discussed compactly, but with very special knowledge, by Sir Harry Johnston in his little book on The Opening up of Africa, in the Home University Library. The student who finds this subject of philological history interesting, should read the introduction to the same writer's Comparative Study of the Bantu and Semi-Bantu Languages.