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Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungleby Daniel L. Everett
Synopses & Reviews
A riveting account of the astonishing experiences and discoveries made by linguist Daniel Everett while he lived with the Pirah, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in central Brazil.
Everett, then a Christian missionary, arrived among the Pirah 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 Pirah 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 Pirah, 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.
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. DanielEverett arrived among the Piraha 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 linguisticimplications. The Piraha 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 inthe 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 oflanguage, thought, and life itself.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
A linguist offers a thought-provoking account of his experiences and discoveries while living with the Pirah, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians living in central Brazil and a people possessing a language that defies accepted linguistic theories and reflects a culture that has no counting system, concept of war, or personal property, and lives entirely in the present. 25,000 first printing.
About the Author
Daniel L. Everett is the Chair of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Illinois State University.
Table of Contents
Discovering the world of the Pirahs — The Amazon — The cost of discipleship — Sometimes you make mistakes — Material culture and the absence of ritual — Families and community — Nature and the immediacy of experience — A teenager named T
What Our Readers Are Saying
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology