They Don’t Have Problem Finding Food so Spend the Bulk of the Time Talking to Each Other

I was listening to this podcast titled Cognitive Fire – The Language: A Cultural Tool. What caught my attention was Daniel’s statement:

They live along the Amazon river, close to the water. They fish and eat. Since they have a lot of time, they spend it talking to each other.

They have a simple language syntax – 8 consonants and 3 vowels for men and 7 consonants and 3 vowels for women. The amazing thing is that they can talk, whistle or sing their language (three different equivalent forms). Rhythm and accent patterns convey meaning.

They don’t have recursion in their language. For example, they can’t say “Fred said that Ram thought that Tom meant”. But the possess an astounding knowledge of nature. They know every tree, animal, plant in their region and know about each one of them in detail.

Daniel Everett talks about his 30 year study of Pirahã, an indigenous language of the isolated Pirahã people of Amazonas.

A link to this podcast. and a link to the Wikipedia entry to Pirahã.


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