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Newspaper Page Text
The Tiriingel Language
Some think that missionaries and teachers,at this late date, should learn the dialect of the Tidingels that they might ad dress them in their own tongue. Veiilylonce thought so my self and gave myself heartily to learning the dialect. But after spending much time at it and acquiring some knoweledge of it. I came to the conclusion that I was makinga mistake and could more profitably spend the time given to it in some other study. My reasons for thinking so were First: The dialect is in rapid de cay an i is doomed to soon pass away. A large percentage of the Natives now spe.ik the Knglish. The rising generation will prac tically all acquire it. Secondly: It is an extremely deficient language,and limit-d to a very few people. Thirdly; Unlike the Hydah or Tsimpshean tongue.the Tlilinget is made up of provincialisms, and he who acquires it in one town may have a hard time to make himself understood in others. ? ?%??.! tlio cti'ntKrpgt l.asuy: tin.i .... , reason of all. every t liin?r should hetlonetoencourngennd help the Natives to acquire the English. This would give them a tongue to communicate with the English speaking peoples who are hound to populate their country and with whom they must, in the future, altogether deal. It would also give them immediate access to the literature of the world. Now they have no literature; not one single written character save a few totemic signs. Confined to their own narrow dialect they would forever remain intellectual paupers. Then again, by drop ping their dialect and acquiring the English, they would the more rapidly get away from heathen customs and advance in civiliz ation. Those who know no En glish are great sticklers for old customs. Those, on the other hand, who speak English are the ones that are getting away from the old customs. Again . if I they all knew the English, the j teachers and missionaries would i have an infinitely wider scope in teaching them and preaching to them. We could then take them jintothe realms of history,science literature, etc,, which are now out of their ken. Commercially, intellectually and spiritually it is to their highest interest to acquire the English. But learning their language and addressing them in it .would only encour age them to hold onto it to the neglect of the English .Other wise they have every incentive | to learn the English. If the iThlingets were to he isolated from white people, or if none of them were in possession of the English, and if their dia lect wa? not doomed soon to die, then it might be wise in spending time in acquiring it. [Fifty years ago it would have been not only proper, but nec essary to learn it in order to com municate with them as none of them knew the English. Fifty years ago Mr.Duncan went amongst the Tsimpsheans. He was obliged to learn their language in order to communicate with them, as they were all ignorant of his. But today would a successor of his, waste time in acpuiring the Tsimpshean tongue when half, or more then half,of the Tsimpshe ans speak the English ?No. But he would bring them all to know the English as rapidly as possible if he would serve their highest good. If we would promote the highest interests of the Natives of Alaska, undoubtedly the thingto do in the face of present and prospec tive future conit ions Is to give them the English as rapidly as possible and bury their impov erished dialect at the earliest date. L. F. Jones Local. Grip. Superintendent Beattie is in its grasp. Miss Tanner is also on the grip list. Ahout half of the school hail a little of the grip. Butweall will go tothe Christ mas entertainment. The entire work of the school is rapidly assuming class form, with the completion ofthesteam heat plant in the church, the en gineers have another boiler to take charge of. The first of the month the saw mill force pot out several thou sand feet of lumber. Mr. McTavish and the carpen ters have completed the new section of the flume and the old water wheel goes once more. Most of the typesetting in this issue was done by the boys. Our printing department is in its infancy- but watch us grow. If you want to s<2% activity, go to Simpson's boatshop. Rudolph Walton's 34 foot gasoline launch is on the ways. The engine which is to drive it is at Walton's store. Our old boys are doing buiness.