July 04, 2006

Cherokees Without a Language?

An attentive reader pointed me at this article in the Asian Pacific Post, reporting some putative evidence for the claims of the book 1421: The Year China Discovered America, which I have discussed here and here, namely a Ming dynasty medallion said to have been dug up in North Carolina. The medallion could, of course, have been brought to North Carolina relatively recently, and there seems to be no real evidence as to where it was found and in what context, but that isn't the worst thing about the article. The REALLY stupid thing about the article is its blithe assertion that the Cherokee "were so backward that they did not even have a language of their own".

Where do people get this stuff? Of course the Cherokee had a language of their own. It's called Cherokee. It's listed in the Ethnologue. It is related to the other ten Iroquoian languages, so it surely isn't something they acquired from Chinese or Europeans. Are there reports of the Cherokee as not having a language? Certainly not.

Even if you don't know anything about the Cherokee or their language and are too lazy to look it up, it is hard to imagine modern human beings with no language. There is no record of any such society. You'd think that such a claim would raise an editor's eyebrows.

Posted by Bill Poser at July 4, 2006 03:39 AM