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Publisher's Summary

Daniel Everett, then a Christian missionary, arrived among the Pirahã 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 Pirahã 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 Pirahã, 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.
©2008 Daniel L. Everett (P)2017 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Rich account of fieldwork among a tribe of hunter-gatherers in Brazil.... Everett's experiences and findings fairly explode from these pages and will reverberate in the minds of readers." (Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

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By Joshua Brewer on 11-16-17

A Profound Read

I give most of the books I listen too five stars because they are good books. I would like to give this book at least six since it is exceptionally insightful. This book contains a stories about life in the Amazon, Everett and his family adjusting to living in a village and the dangers everyone in that location encounters. Mostly this is a book introducing the reader to a new language and culture. Everett's main proposed theory of language is that to fully understand a language you have understand the cultural context it came from. As a result we are shown a culture radically different from ours. Attached to this is a distinct way to think, different from the way westerners are used to thinking. Everything about this book was profound. Certainly worth the read.

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By Jared on 07-19-17

Hear Pirahã

Read by Daniel Everett himself you really get to appreciate the use of pitch, tones, rhythm, and other nuances in the Pirahã's unique language. You also can hear his feelings as he reads particularly emotional parts. Touching and surprisingly funny this is an amazing work.

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Customer Reviews

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By Mr M C Arthur on 09-28-17

A linguistic journey into the nature of existence

A journey into the heart of being through the study of linguistics. At times I found the passages using the native language a bit dry and repetitive. It was definitely worth sticking with it, however, as the lessons about the relationship between language, culture and finding happiness and meaning in life were enlightening.

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