LANGUAGES OF THE MIDDLE
AND FAR EAST EAST1
Asia is a vast linguistic world in its own right. The tongues of this great continent are as varied and picturesque as are their speakers, and run into the number of several hundreds, distributed among most of the world's great language families: Indo-European, Semitic, Ural-Altaic, Sino-Tibetan, Japanese-Korean, Dravidian, Malayo-Polynesian, Caucasian, Mon-Khmer, Hyperborean, Ainu.
Fortunately for the practical linguist, not all of these numerous tongues are of equal importance. The linguistic explorer in the Asiatic continent finds himself indeed faced with tongues of primary rank, numerically, commercially, politically and culturally. He also finds himself face to face with a myriad minor languages whose speakers are comparatively few in number, and which have never attained a very lofty cultural status.
Such is the case, for example, with the Ural-Altaic tongues____________________