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. Daniel Everett arrived among the Pirah 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 Pirah 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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Daniel L. (Dan) Everett holds a ScD and a Masters of Linguistics from the Universidade Estadual in Campinas (UNICAMP), both based upon years of field research among the Pirahã people of the Brazilian Amazon jungle. He taught as an instructor and later Assistant Professor at UNICAMP, 1981-1986, until leaving Brazil to return to the USA. He next was appointed full professor of linguistics and anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also chaired the Department of Linguistics until 1999. At that time, Dan moved to the Amazon to live the majority of the next three years in the jungle among the Pirahãs. He left the jungle when the University of Manchester, England, offered him the position of Professor of Phonetics and Phonology. Following several years in England, Dr. Everett spent the 2005-2006 academic year as a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. He went on to chair the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Illinois State University from 2006 - 2010. Since 2010 he has been the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Bentley University. Everett has lived in the Amazonian jungle for nearly eight out of the last thirty years, studying more than a dozen little or never previously studied Amazonian languages. He has published more than 100 scientific articles as sole author and eleven books. In 2008 his book, Don't Sleep There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle, was published in eight languages, becoming a best-seller in English, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, and German. That book was selected by National Public Radio in the US as one of the best books of 2009. It was also selected by Blackwells booksellers in the UK as one of the best books in the UK for 2009. Everett's newest book, Language: The Cultural Tool, was published in 2012. It has been reviewed in various publications, published in three languages, and was a NY Times Editor's Choice. Dan has appeared numerous times on the BBC and NPR, and has been profiled in newspapers around the world. A documentary about his life and work, The Grammar of Happiness, was released in 2012. Essential Media of Australia has signed an option to produce a large budget dramatic movie based on Don't Sleep There are Snakes. Dr. Everett is currently writing a book titled Dark Matter of the Mind: How Unseen Forces Shape our Words and World, for the University of Chicago Press and has begun work on How Language Began, a book on language evolution for the general public.