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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/816

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

civilized manners and pursuits, and to the extinction in some portions of the country of the language with the Indians who spoke them, the Indian languages are fast disappearing from the face of the earth. Accordingly, a large share of the time and labor of the bureau force has been, and will continue to be, devoted to the record and preservation of aboriginal languages. Each year one or more trained linguistic scholars are dispatched to remote parts of the country, charged, as their prime duty, with the task of collecting as much as possible of the speech of obscure tribes. To facilitate their work, and to aid and encourage linguistic students in all portions of the country, a special work has been prepared by the director, entitled "Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages."

Comparatively little time can be devoted at present to the analysis and study of the languages collected. The pressing need of the moment is their preservation for the use and study of future scholars. Nevertheless, the study is by no means wholly neglected, as will be apparent from the fact that monographs are now being prepared upon the Dakota languages, by J. Owen Dorsey; upon the Klamath language, by A. S. Gatschett; upon the Tuscarora language, by J. N. B. Hewitt; and upon Cherokee, by James Mooney.

Much has been accomplished in the direction of a comparison of vocabularies and the classification of the tribes by language. A book embodying the final results of this study, by Major Powell, which has been many years in progress, will soon appear. The number of distinct linguistic families occupying the territory north of Mexico at the time of the discovery was, so far as known, sixty, while the languages included in these probably numbered not less than three hundred. A colored map has been completed, and is now ready for publication, setting forth the areas occupied by the linguistic families.

Another important work, now far advanced toward completion, is a "Dictionary of Tribal Names," in charge of Mr. H. W. Henshaw. In this will be assembled, under each of the linguistic families, all the tribes composing it. Short, succinct historical and descriptive accounts will appear under the head of each family and tribe, while cross-references will refer to the proper names of each tribe the vast body of synonyms which have crept into literature since the earliest published accounts. It is calculated that the above material will fill a volume of about one thousand pages.

Mounds.—The important work of the exploration of the mounds east of the Mississippi Valley is under the charge of Cyrus Thomas, whose investigations cover a period of six years. The first of the three volumes which will contain his final report is now ready for the press. A very large number of mounds in several States