Don't Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle

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Don't Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle

Don't Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle

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He even said himself that he wouldn’t have fully learned their language without being immersed in their culture and he wouldn’t have understood their culture fully without learning their language.

He claims the people have no cosmology or formal religious structure but describes men entering the village who act and are treated as if they are possessed by spirits and he describes being unable to see a spirit which all other members of the village point out standing across the river.Therefore, when Everett states this: But violence against anyone, children or adults, is unacceptable to the Pirahas.

This seems to be deeply connected to the happiness of the Piraha people and seems to be a good lesson to takeaway. By the late ‘80s, after ten years of failed efforts, Everett realized that he had become a closet atheist. In many languages, including English, it is the idea that you can have sentences within sentences or phrases within phrases to build up arbitrarily large sentences.He helped to create an official reservation for the Pirahã, so that they will forever be safe from greedy materialists (true? On top of everything else Everett describes them as having a “very conservative” culture, in the sense of being unwilling to consider innovation. One of the issues Everett had with talking about Jesus was that the Pirahã could not relate to the idea that he was telling them about events from long before Everett’s own life. Even though the Pirahas understood the message Everett was selling, none of them ever expressed the slightest interest in Christianity.

However, it is an entertaining and thought-provoking read, and so I guess I'd recommend it, if you don't have this issue. Everett states in his book that he as well as a series of psychologists completed experiments to prove that the Pirahas had no words for numbers in their culture.

However their different culture, stresses/tones, and singing in conversation makes their language one of the hardest to learn. Even I could tell that there was nothing on that white, sandy beach no more than one hundred yards away. One wonders, however, about the parts glossed over, his break with the Church, his divorce, his remarriage at a late age. This "evidential" aspect of language is tied to/explained by the fact that Piraha language and culture are constrained by immediate experience -- facts are only considered facts by the Pirahas if there's an eyewitness, which also helps explain why all efforts to convert Pirahas have failed over more than 200 years.

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