Re: Piraha, was Re: Introducing myself, and several questions
|From:||Doug Dee <amateurlinguist@...>|
|Date:||Friday, February 18, 2005, 23:54|
In a message dated 2/18/2005 12:07:27 PM Eastern Standard Time,
>Either Dan Everett is hoaxing us (is the date of publication perhaps
>close to Apr. 1?), or he thoroughly misinterpreted his field data.
>LOTS of falsehoods have been pulished about languages in the past,
>especially by people who believe in the "Sapir-Whorf" hypothesis.
I think a deliberate hoax by Everett is unikely. It would tarnish his
professional reputation, and for what?
It seems that Everett doesn't exactly 'believe in the "Sapir-Whorf"
hypothesis.' He says:
"I don't think that this case requires an appeal to Whorf. In fact, as I try
to argue in the larger paper, just the opposite seems to be the case "
He could, of course, have misinterpreted his data. (We all make mistakes.)
OTOH, he spent a lot of time with the Piraha, and other knowledgeable persons
agree with him. He notes:
"I sent the article for comments to Steve Sheldon and Arlo Heinrichs, two SIL
members (I am no longer a member of SIL) who each lived for many years among
the Pirahãs and who speak/spoke the language fairly well. Both of them agreed
with the account in that paper."
IMHO, I'm inclined to believe his account is substantially correct,
surprising though it may be.
I can only hope that there will be more investigation of Piraha till this is