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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/320

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3o6 Dr. Howitfs Defence of Group-Marriage.

statements were correct, Mr. Lang would certainly need to modify the passage quoted by his critic ; in point of fact Dr. Howitt has merely shown that first-hand know- ledge no more confers immunity against errors of fact than it does against errors in logic.

Put briefly, Dr. Howitt's points are as follows : (i) Pirrajiru is a survival of group-marriage. This is arguable, but far from proven, even if it be shown on other grounds that group-marriage ever existed.

(2) The term pirrauru is equivalent to the group terms of other tribes, pirrauru denotes a group relationship, and consequently the groicp terms of other tribes must do so too. I have shown {a) that pirrauru is not equivalent to the group-terms of other tribes and {b) that it is not a group- relationship in the same sense as group-marriage.

(3) Group-terms necessarily imply a former group relation- ship. I have shown that {a) Dr. Howitt declines to accept the philological argument where it does not fit in with his views ; {b) if the group-father is accepted on this ground, we must likewise accept the group-mother, and up to the present no believer in group-marriage has had the courage to do more than assert that the argument is unworthy of notice.

(4) If individual relationships were known, individual terms of relationship would have survived. But the indi- vidual mother was of necessity known ; yet no term for the individual mother is found in most tribes; hence it is not necessary that individual terms should have been known or have survived.

Anthropologists have every reason to be grateful to Dr. Howitt for his work in the field ; a great part of our knowledge of Australian tribes is due to him. But he overlooks the fact that field-work and interpretation are two entirely different spheres of activity. If the field-work has been well and truly done, if the results have been accurately set forth, the work of synthesis must be begun ;