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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 Cover

ISBN13: 9780307386120
ISBN10: 0307386120
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A riveting account of the astonishing experiences and discoveries made by linguist Daniel Everett while he lived with the Piraha, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in central Brazil.

Everett, then a Christian missionary, arrived among the Piraha in 1977 — with his wife and three young children — intending to convert them. What he found was a language that defies all existing linguistic theories and reflects a way of life that evades contemporary understanding: The Piraha have no counting system and no fixed terms for color. They have no concept of war or of personal property. They live entirely in the present. Everett became obsessed with their language and its cultural and linguistic implications, and with the remarkable contentment with which they live — so much so that he eventually lost his faith in the God he'd hoped to introduce to them.

Over three decades, Everett spent a total of seven years among the Piraha, and his account of this lasting sojourn is an engrossing exploration of language that questions modern linguistic theory. It is also an anthropological investigation, an adventure story, and a riveting memoir of a life profoundly affected by exposure to a different culture. Written with extraordinary acuity, sensitivity, and openness, it is fascinating from first to last, rich with unparalleled insight into the nature of language, thought, and life itself.

Review:

"Rich account of fieldwork among a tribe of hunter-gatherers in Brazil . . .Everett's experiences and findings fairly explode from these pages and will reverberate in the minds of readers." Kirkus, starred review

Review:

"Everett describes how he learned to speak fluent Piraha....He also explains his discoveries about the language-findings that have kicked off more than one academic brouhaha." Publishers Weekly, Signature Review

Review:

"Absorbing. . . . Both the Pirahas and their interpreter make splendid company, especially for readers drawn to the way language underpins how we mediate our world." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Daniel L. Everett is the Chair of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Illinois State University.

From the Hardcover edition.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

JaneBP, March 31, 2010 (view all comments by JaneBP)
Any reader should be aware that this is a work of linguistics, not primarily anthropology. I thought I would enjoy it more because I enjoy anthropology, but the author's original purpose in studying the language was to translate the Bible and thus convert the people he was studying. This is not an anthropological viewpoint.

The most interesting things in terms of anthropology were the author's references to his father's "cowboy culture" and how it influenced his own agressive/possessive behavior. I presume it is this cowboy culture that allowed him to make a parenthetical reference to a gang rape of a young woman in the section where he was describing how happy the Piraha people are. No further information of the rape is given, nor any reference to the subsequent happiness (or even the identity) of the raped woman.

I think you would have to get REALLY excited about linguistics to think that this is a wonderful book.
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Katherine Yuhas, January 20, 2010 (view all comments by Katherine Yuhas)
A fascinating book about the Piraha culture and the nature of language itself. Daniel Everett's narrative is engrossing and makes you long for another anthropological study as interesting as this to be published soon.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307386120
Author:
Everett, Daniel L.
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Linguistics
Subject:
General
Subject:
Linguistics - General
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Departures
Publication Date:
20091131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
BandW THROUGHOUT; 1 MAP
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.00x5.24x.66 in. .65 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Staff Picks
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Central and South America
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Linguistics
History and Social Science » Linguistics » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General

Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780307386120 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Rich account of fieldwork among a tribe of hunter-gatherers in Brazil . . .Everett's experiences and findings fairly explode from these pages and will reverberate in the minds of readers." Kirkus, starred review
"Review" by , "Everett describes how he learned to speak fluent Piraha....He also explains his discoveries about the language-findings that have kicked off more than one academic brouhaha." Publishers Weekly, Signature Review
"Review" by , "Absorbing. . . . Both the Pirahas and their interpreter make splendid company, especially for readers drawn to the way language underpins how we mediate our world."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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