Arriving as a missionary among the Pirahã, an Amazonian Indian group, Everett encountered a people who have no creation myths or fiction, and whose language lacks greetings, numbers, colors, and embedded sentences. Nevertheless they are extremely happy and friendly and supremely adapted to their rainforest environment. Everett recounts his adventures and discoveries living among the Pirahã for much of the last 30 years, which led him to question and reject not only mainstream linguistic theory but his Christianity as well.
This book combines travelogue, ethnological study, linguistics treatise, personal narrative of faith and the loss thereof, and fascinating insights into the cognition and life-ways of some strikingly different humans. Worth the read.
"In this "fascinating and candid account" (Publishers Weekly), field linguist Dan Everett relates his amazing adventures living with the Pirahã people, who reside deep in the rainforests of Brazil, and learning their unique language. Everett, who started off as a Christian missionary hoping to convert the native people, first met members of the small Pirahã tribe in 1977 when he began a path that would alter both his life (Would his marriage survive? Would his faith?) and modern linguistics (Everett's findings differ from what experts such as Noam Chomsky have theorised). If you love words, we bet that this powerfully written book will speak to you." August 2013 Armchair Travel newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=664860
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