The Basque language stands alone amongst European tongues, having affinity with none of them. According to Farrar, "there never has been any doubt that this isolated language, preserving its identity in a western corner of Europe, between two mighty kingdoms, resembles in its structure the aboriginal languages of the vast opposite continent (America) and those alone."
The Phoenicians apparently were the first nation in the Eastern Hemisphere to use a phonetic alphabet, the characters being regarded as mere signs for sounds. It is a curious fact that at an equally early date we find a phonetic alphabet in Central America
[1. Families of Speech, p. 132.]
amongst the Mayans of Yucatan, whose traditions ascribe the origin of their civilization to a land across the sea to the east. Le Plongeon, the great authority on this subject, writes: "One-third of this tongue (the Maya) is pure Greek. Who brought the dialect of Homer to America? or who took to Greece that of the Mayas? Greek is the offspring of the Sanscrit. Is Maya? or are they coeval?" Still more surprising is it to find thirteen letters out of the Maya alphabet bearing most distinct relation to the Egyptian hieroglyphic signs for the same letters. It is probable that the earliest form of alphabet was hieroglyphic, "the writing of the Gods," as the Egyptians called it, and that it developed later in Atlantis into the phonetic. It would be natural to assume that the Egyptians were an early colony from Atlantis (as they actually were) and that they carried away with them the primitive type of writing which has thus left its traces on both hemispheres, while the Phoenicians, who were a sea-going people, obtained and assimilated the later form of alphabet during their trading voyages with the people of the west.
One more point may be noticed, viz., the extraordinary resemblance between many words in the Hebrew language and words bearing precisely the same meaning in the tongue of the Chiapenecs--a branch of the Maya race, and amongst the most ancient in Central America.
The similarity of language among the various savage races of the Pacific islands has been used as an
[1. A list of these words is given in North Americans of Antiquity, p. 475.]
argument by writers on this subject. The existences of similar languages among races separated by leagues of ocean, across which in historic time they are known to have had no means of transport, is certainly an argument in favour of their descent from a single race occupying a single continent, but the argument cannot be used here, for the continent in question was not Atlantis, but the still earlier Lemuria.