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Anthropology tells the march of mankind out of savagery. In that march some peoples have led with the fleet course of videttes or the sturdy stride of pioneers, some have only plodded on the roads opened by the vanguard, while others still lag in the unordered rear, mere dragweights to the column. All commenced their progress toward civilization from a point of depaiture lower than the stage reached by the lowest of the tribes now found on earth, and all, even the most advanced, have retained marks of their rude origin. These marks are of the same kind, though differing in distinctness, and careful search discovers the fact that none are missing, showing that there is a common source to all the forms of intellectual and social development, notwithstanding their present diversities. Perhaps the most notable criterion of difference is in the copiousness and precision of oral language, and in the unequal survival of the communication by gesture signs which, it is believed, once universally prevailed. The phenomena of that mode of human utterance, wherever it still appears, require examination as an instructive vestige of the prehistoric epoch.

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© 1978 Springer Science+Business Media New York

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Mallery, G. (1978). The Gesture Speech of Man. In: Umiker-Sebeok, D.J., Sebeok, T.A. (eds) Aboriginal Sign Languages of The Americas and Australia. Springer, Boston, MA.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4684-2411-9

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