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citation inre: Piraha innumeracy

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 5 months ago

For those interested, here's the citation for the article I mentioned earlier.  You can read it, along with a reply by Nevins et al., as a pdf for free here:


Everett, Daniel (2005b), "Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã," Current Anthropology, Volume 46, Number 4, August-October.


Dan Everett's most recent reply to Nevins et al. (2007) is available for free here.


Language Log has quite a few posts on the Everett-Nevins controversy.  For those who want the quick-and-dirty on the innumeracy issue, here's the first graph of a recent post by Geoff Pullum:


The Pirahã language and culture seem to lack not only the words but also the concepts for numbers, using instead less precise terms like "small size", "large size" and "collection" . And the Pirahã people themselves seem to be suprisingly [sic] uninterested in learning about numbers, and even actively resistant to doing so, despite the fact that in their frequent dealings with traders they have a practical need to evaluate and compare numerical expressions. A similar situation seems to obtain among some other groups in Amazonia , and a lack of indigenous words for numbers has been reported elsewhere in the world.


When I have more time, I might compare the Plato text with Everett's articles, to see how their claims line up in light of Estelle's comment in class.




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