Cultural Contact and Linguistic Relativity…

Just got this book from Amazon the other day. While I’m not a linguist and much of it is more detailed than I really need, it is still quite interesting to learn more about my tribe (Karuk) and their surrounding neighbors (Hupa and Yurok). Here are a couple of things I noted about Karuk language:

“Spoken inland, along the upper arm of the Klamath River, the Karuk language has no close relatives anywhere on the planet. Yet at a highly submerged level, it shows a number of deep correspondences with the remaining members of the Hokan stock. This linguistic group was, in aboriginal times, widely distributed throughout much of California, Arizona, and northern Mexico, so the fact that Karuk shares a deep historical connection with other languages long established in the surrounding geographical area is not suprising.” (25)

“As a unit, the Karuk expression for ‘world’ literally refers to that relatively stationary tract of land ‘that lies around us.'” (123)


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