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by Daniel Everett

Author: Daniel Everett
Subcategory: Social Sciences
Language: English
Publisher: Profile Books; First Edition edition (2008)
Category: Politics
Rating: 4.5
Other formats: rtf mobi lrf azw

In 1977 Daniel Everett took his young family to live with the Pirahãs, a small and remote tribe in the .

Supported by a missionary organisation with the slightly misleading title of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, his aim was to learn Pirahã so that he could translate the Bible.

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Everett, then a Christian missionary, arrived among the Pirahã in 1977–with his wife and three young children–intending to convert them.

After being greeted by a happy, chattering crowd, he walked over to a man cooking on a small fire. First, he tapped his own chest and said, Daniel, then he pointed at the animal being cooked on the fire. Everett's book underscores that conviction for me. Here we have a group of people who intentionally don't want contact with the rest of the world and whose very thinking is so strange to us as to make us wonder whether they might in fact be imports from some other planet. I, of course, don't mean the "other planets" seriously.

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The Pirah? have no counting system, no fixed terms for color, no concept of war, and no personal property. Everett was so impressed with their peaceful way of life that he eventually lost faith in the God he’d hoped to introduce to them, and instead devoted his life to the science of linguistics.

Not only were these happy, independent (dangerous if drinking alcohol) people unimpressed with religion, their effect on the author caused him to abandon blind faith in favor of trusting his perceptions and reason.

11. Changing Channels with Pirahã Sounds. In the jungle with the Pirahãs I regularly failed to see wildlife they saw. My inexperienced eyes just weren’t able to see as theirs did. But this was different. Even I could tell that there was nothing on that white, sandy beach no more than one hundred yards away. Second, they know that danger is all around them in the jungle and that sleeping soundly can leave one defenseless from attack by any of the numerous predators around the village. The Pirahãs laugh and talk a good part of the night. They don’t sleep much at one time.

A riveting account of the astonishing experiences and discoveries made by linguist Daniel Everett while he lived with the Pirahã, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in central Brazil. Daniel Everett arrived among the Pirahã with his wife and three young children hoping to convert the tribe to Christianity. Everett quickly became obsessed with their language and its cultural and linguistic implications. The Pirahã have no counting system, no fixed terms for color, no concept of war, and no personal property. Everett was so impressed with their peaceful way of life that he eventually lost faith in the God he'd hoped to introduce to them, and instead devoted his life to the science of linguistics. Part passionate memoir, part scientific exploration, Everett's life-changing tale is riveting look into the nature of language, thought, and life itself.