- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Pantheon; 1 edition (March 13, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307378535
- ISBN-13: 978-0307378538
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Language: The Cultural Tool 1st Edition
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“Language: The Cultural Tool, full of intellectually omnivorous insights and reminiscences about Everett’s years with the Pirahã . . . is that rare thing: a warm linguistics book. . . . A useful study of a burgeoning theory compatible with Darwinism, anthropology, psychology and philosophy—an interdisciplinary orientation the Chomskyans have largely spurned.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Ambitious. . . . [Everett] doesn’t shy from making big claims.”
—The New York Times
“[Language] deserves a serious reading.”
“[Everett’s book] is revelatory. There is nothing about humans that is quite as astonishing as language.”
—The Guardian (London)
“Everett has . . . produced a book whose importance is almost impossible to overstate. This is an intellectual cri de Coeur and a profound celebration of human diversity. After reading it, you will—should—care as much about disappearing languages as you do about the clubbed seal or the harpooned whale. . . . A very rich but also very readable book. Everett is not the first to challenge the reign of Chomsky, but he is the most accessible, and, thanks to his years in Amazonia, the most-intimately informed.”
—The Sunday Times (London)
“A must-read for anyone having an interest in knowing what makes us human. . . . Everett resets the research agenda for linguistics, psychology, and neuroscience towards finding out how our biological endowment and culture interact, to form and shape the rich diversity apparent as we view the human condition.”
—Philip Lieberman, Fred M. Seed Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences, Professor of Anthropology, Brown University
“Everett mounts an impassioned argument that language has adaptively emerged as our species’ ‘tool’ for achieving social collectivity via discourse. He sharply questions today’s doctrinal wisdom in the field of linguistics by giving it a pendulum-push back in the direction of anthropology, of Humboldtian cosmography, and of humanity’s evolved socio-cognitive diversity.”
—Michael Silverstein, Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, of Linguistics, and of Psychology, University of Chicago
“A radical reassessment of the origin and evolution of language. . . . The book eloquently reminds us that the incredible diversity of languages on this planet reflect different ways of thinking and being in the world—a phenomenon that might sadly be on the verge of extinction.”
—Robert Greene, author of The 50th Law and The Descent of Power
“For the past half-century, linguistic theory has been dominated by the idea that language is a biologically determined instinct. Daniel Everett argues instead that language is a cultural tool, no different in principle from the physical tools that people have invented in adapting to different physical and cultural environments. The sheer diversity of the world’s 7,000 or so languages strongly challenges any notion of a universal grammar, and suggests instead that languages are the product of general human intelligence, adaptability, and creativity. Everett draws on a wide knowledge of diverse languages and cultures, a deep knowledge of the history of ideas, and above all on his experiences in living among the remote Pirahã people in the Amazon. This is the most recent and most eloquent account of a remarkable sea change that is taking place in our understanding of the nature of human language.”
—Michael Corballis, author of The Recursive Mind: The Origins of Human Language, Thought, and Civilization, and professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Auckland
“This is exciting work. I learned a tremendous amount from it, as will anyone who is concerned with the nature of language and of mind.”
—Robert Brandom, University of Pittsburgh Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
“Margaret Mead among the Samoans; Franz Boas among the Inuit; Bronislaw Malinowski among the Trobriand Islanders; Claude Lévi-Strauss among the Bororo and Guaycuru; Ruth Benedict among the Zuni, Dobu, and Kwakiutls—but to my mind Daniel Everett has now outdone them all. Language: The Cultural Tool, coming upon the heels of Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes, establishes his thirty years with the Pirahã deep in the Amazon as the most important—and provocative—anthropological field work ever undertaken.”
—Tom Wolfe, author of Hooking Up
“Controversial and leavened with wit, this is the book on language I have been waiting for. A masterpiece, and then some.”
—Patricia S. Churchland, professor emerita of philosophy, University of California, San Diego
About the Author
Daniel L. Everett is dean of arts and sciences at Bentley University. He has held appointments in linguistics and/or anthropology at the University of Campinas, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Manchester, and Illinois State University.
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My suggestion is to read his earlier work
"Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle"
I did and found I had an easier time following along with his examples.
I can't heap enough praise on this guy.
And no we're not pals or connected in any fashion other than we share the planet. Check out his latest book.
He will change your thinking...about your thinking.
If you are interested in that matter you should read it!
I hope you enjoy