The dialects differ very much in different parts of the island, so that those who speak one often cannot understand those who speak another, and use Italian as the medium of communication.
The occurrence of a large number of common roots proves them to be derived from one source, but the great variety of dialects - sometimes unintelligible between tribes separated by only a few miles - cannot be explained except by supposing a vast period to have elapsed since their first settlement.
This phenomenon of what might have been taken for a piece of Umbrian text appearing in a district remote from Umbria and hemmed in by Latins on the north and Oscan-speaking Samnites on the south is a most curious feature in the geographical distribution of the Italic dialects, and is clearly the result of some complex historical movements.
Hunter states that the Dravidian tribes were driven southwards in Hindustan, and that the grammatical relations of their dialects are " expressed by suffixes," which is true as to the Australian languages.
Proceeding to Alexandria as assistant to the British consul-general there, he devoted himself to Arabic and its various dialects, and made himself master of Eastern manners and usages.