LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Language: The Cultural Tool by Daniel Everett – review: The bitter arguments about a language instinct

Native speakers of Pirahã, in the Amazon lowland jungle, have no words for left or right, they use the same term for blue and green, and their definitions of red, black and white turn out to be similes, rather than dedicated words. 
These once-isolated people, a tiny group, have no system of numbers; their sentences cannot accommodate subordinate clauses or other forms of recursion (embedding phrases),  not least because it is a story composed by someone they do not know, about someone they have never heard of, in a time and place that has no meaning for them. 
Full article in the Guardian 

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