Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 220
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Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.
 

Page 220
 
owing to the suggestive influence of neighboring languages. An examination of such cases, 13 however, almost invariably reveals the significant fact that they are but superficial additions on the morphological kernel of the language. So long as such direct historical testimony as we have gives us no really convincing examples of profound morphological influence by diffusion, we shall do well not to put too much reliance in diffusion theories. On the whole, therefore, we shall ascribe the major concordances and divergences in linguistic form—phonetic pattern and morphology—to the autonomous drift of language, not to the complicating effect of single, diffused features that cluster now this way, now that. Language is probably the most self-contained, the most massively resistant of all social phenomena. It is easier to kill it off than to disintegrate its individual form.
Note 13.  I have in mind, e.g., the presence of postpositions in Upper Chinook, a feature that is clearly due to the influence of neighboring Sahaptin languages; or the use by Takelma of instrumental prefixes, which are likely to have been suggested by neighboring “Hokan” languages (Shasta, Karok). [back]

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