Kusunda, a language like no other?

May 25, 2012 by

Kusunda is a dying isolate language. Gyani Maiya Sen, a 75-year-old woman from western Nepal, is its last known speaker. There are some 100-160 people in the Kusunda tribe, and some of them know a few words of the language, but nobody...

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The Pirahã Controversy: Numbers (part 3)

Apr 8, 2012 by

In the previous post, I discussed a study conducted by Dr Peter Gordon that appears to show that the Pirahã not only lack number words (as has been argued previously by Dan Everett), but also lack the necessary cognitive mechanisms...

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The Pirahã Controversy: Numbers (part 2)

Apr 5, 2012 by

In the previous post, I’ve described one experiment designed to shed some light on the number words in Pirahã and their use. But many more experimental studies add food for thought and fuel to the debate. One such study was...

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The Pirahã Controversy: Numbers

Apr 5, 2012 by

In addition to recursion, the Pirahã are claimed to lack numbers. Is this true? According to Dan Everett, the Pirahã lack not only numbers of any kind, but they do not have even a concept of counting and of any terms for...

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The Pirahã Controversy — Part 3

Mar 29, 2012 by

In the previous post, I outlined the arguments in the Pirahã controversy. Here, let’s consider more closely one of the most crucial issue of this controversy: whether Pirahã allows recursion. (An interested reader is referred...

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The Pirahã Controversy — Part 2

Mar 23, 2012 by

Let us now move away from the academic politics of the Everett-Chomsky debate and consider the actual controversy surrounding the Pirahã language. The language is spoken by an estimated 360 speakers in the Brazilian state Amazonas,...

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