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Pirahã

“Has a remote Amazonian tribe upended our understanding of language?”

See also: this.

Comments

  1. Quin Finnegan says

    Yep, and scroll down here to read Everett’s explanation for how the Pirahã are noble savages who may yet help lead us out of the mess we’re in.

  2. Rufus McCain says

    You get an interesting glimpse of this guy’s estranged wife in the New Yorker article. She remains a devout Christian and also seems more deeply in touch with the Piraha — and humble about it.

  3. Henri Young says

    This seems like the kind of sentimentality that Walker Percy warned about.

  4. Rufus McCain says

    He does seem like a very Percyan character. I mean one of the side characters, the foils to the protagonist.

  5. Anonymous says

    See also this:
    http://ling.auf.net/lingBuzz/000411

    click on the title of the paper to download

  6. Theocoid says

    One of my linguistics professors, a field researcher who wrote a grammar of the Shoshone language and has done considerable study of Mayan dialects, made sure to impress upon us that Chomsky’s theories simply don’t work in the field.

  7. Rufus McCain says

    From Percy’s perspective (maybe) Chomsky’s most important achievement was discrediting Skinner’s behaviorist approach to language. But then Chomsky ventured into the realms of these complex, convoluted grammatical structures instead of focusing on Percy’s main concern, which is the basic, triadic structure of simple naming. So from that standpoint, maybe Everett’s focus on the cultural component of language could complement Percy’s steadfast empiricism and clinging to Peirce’s triad. Maybe.

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