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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,
joerg_rhiemeier@WEB.DE writes:

>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 " That's at 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." [Same source] 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 definitively settled. Doug