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1909-Ritz-Speech_of_tas_aborigines.pdf (2.11 MB)

The speech of the Tasmanian Aborigines

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posted on 2023-11-22, 09:57 authored by Hermann B Ritz
The reconstruction of the speech of the extinct Tasmanian Aborigines seems at first almost impossible, owing to the paucity and dubiousness of the records we possess; but after careful research we find that, though the records are scanty, yet they are fairly ample, considering the comparatively small number of the constituent parts of the language, and a reasonable degree of probability can be attained by a patient study of the material available.
As a trained philologist, I am well aware of the classification of the languages of mankind, and have a working knowledge of a certain number of them; but I find the characteristics of the Tasmanian speech so primitive and unstable, that I cannot see my way to enrol it in any of the classes given by the text-books.
Practically all the available material is contained in H. Ling Roth's work, "The Aborigines of Tasmania" (Halifax, 1899), supplemented by H. De Charency's "Recherches sur les Dialectes Tasmaniens" (Alencon, 1880).
What I have endeavoured to do is to find the principles by which the speech of the primitive race of the Tasmanians was governed. It seems that the languages of the Australian continent are far more developed; however, this is a subject for further research.

History

Publication title

Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania

Pagination

44-81

ISSN

0080-4703

Rights statement

In 1843 the Horticultural and Botanical Society of Van Diemen's Land was founded and became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science in 1844. In 1855 its name changed to Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science. In 1911 the name was shortened to Royal Society of Tasmania..

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