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Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes : Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle

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Books : Don't Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle (Paperback)

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3.4 out of 5 stars
16 total reviews
5 stars
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Most helpful positive review
A riveting account of the astonishing experiences and discoveries made by linguist Daniel Everett while he lived with the Pirahã, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in central Brazil. Daniel Everett arrived among the Pirahã with his wife and three young children hoping to convert the tribe to Christianity. Everett quickly became obsessed with their language and its cultural and linguistic implications. The Pirahã have no counting system, no fixed terms for color, no concept of war, and no personal property. Everett was so impressed with their peaceful way of life that he eventually lost faith in the God he'd hoped to introduce to them, and instead devoted his life to the science of linguistics. Part passionate memoir, part scientific exploration, Everett's life-changing tale is riveting look into the nature of language, thought, and life itself.

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Books : Don't Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle (Paperback)
Although the author was a missionary far from converting the Pirahas they converted him. This title shows the slow meticulous steps by which he gradually mastered their language and his gradual realisation that its unusual nature closely reflected its speakers' startlingly original perceptions of the world.

Specifications

Publisher
Profile Books(GB)
Book Format
Paperback
Number of Pages
300
Author
Daniel Leonard Everett
ISBN-13
9781846680403
Publication Date
August, 2009
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
7.80 x 5.08 x 0.87 Inches
ISBN-10
1846680409

Customer Reviews

5 stars
3
4 stars
3
3 stars
8
2 stars
2
1 star
0
Most helpful positive review
2 customers found this helpful
A riveting account of ...
A riveting account of the astonishing experiences and discoveries made by linguist Daniel Everett while he lived with the Pirahã, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in central Brazil. Daniel Everett arrived among the Pirahã with his wife and three young children hoping to convert the tribe to Christianity. Everett quickly became obsessed with their language and its cultural and linguistic implications. The Pirahã have no counting system, no fixed terms for color, no concept of war, and no personal property. Everett was so impressed with their peaceful way of life that he eventually lost faith in the God he'd hoped to introduce to them, and instead devoted his life to the science of linguistics. Part passionate memoir, part scientific exploration, Everett's life-changing tale is riveting look into the nature of language, thought, and life itself.
Most helpful negative review
2 customers found this helpful
This could ahve been a...
This could ahve been a great book; It couls and should have been a fascinating story of life and redemption among the Amazonian peoples. Or perhaps a scholarly exploration of linguistics and anthropological discovery. Instead it's a badly written mishmash that desperately needs a good editor. The author was a missionary, sent to learn the language of a remote Amazonian tribe and introduce them to God (is his god, not their own already robust ones) He lived on and off, both alone and with his family, in the jungle for periods across a decade. He discovered athiesm or at least, that the christian god isn't automatically the god for everyone. So far so good. However the book is so unfocused, one minete concentrating on difficult to reproduce phonetic renderings of the local dialect and then trying to be a personal memoir, next moment trying to be a discourse on anthropology. Sadly it's not well written enough to be any of these things. Also, the most interesting and provocative moments are completely glossed over which is deeply unsatisfying. Could have, should have, would have. Didn't.
Most helpful positive review
2 customers found this helpful
A riveting account of ...
A riveting account of the astonishing experiences and discoveries made by linguist Daniel Everett while he lived with the Pirahã, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in central Brazil. Daniel Everett arrived among the Pirahã with his wife and three young children hoping to convert the tribe to Christianity. Everett quickly became obsessed with their language and its cultural and linguistic implications. The Pirahã have no counting system, no fixed terms for color, no concept of war, and no personal property. Everett was so impressed with their peaceful way of life that he eventually lost faith in the God he'd hoped to introduce to them, and instead devoted his life to the science of linguistics. Part passionate memoir, part scientific exploration, Everett's life-changing tale is riveting look into the nature of language, thought, and life itself.
Most helpful negative review
2 customers found this helpful
This could ahve been a...
This could ahve been a great book; It couls and should have been a fascinating story of life and redemption among the Amazonian peoples. Or perhaps a scholarly exploration of linguistics and anthropological discovery. Instead it's a badly written mishmash that desperately needs a good editor. The author was a missionary, sent to learn the language of a remote Amazonian tribe and introduce them to God (is his god, not their own already robust ones) He lived on and off, both alone and with his family, in the jungle for periods across a decade. He discovered athiesm or at least, that the christian god isn't automatically the god for everyone. So far so good. However the book is so unfocused, one minete concentrating on difficult to reproduce phonetic renderings of the local dialect and then trying to be a personal memoir, next moment trying to be a discourse on anthropology. Sadly it's not well written enough to be any of these things. Also, the most interesting and provocative moments are completely glossed over which is deeply unsatisfying. Could have, should have, would have. Didn't.
1-5 of 16 reviews

A riveting account of ...

A riveting account of the astonishing experiences and discoveries made by linguist Daniel Everett while he lived with the Pirahã, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in central Brazil. Daniel Everett arrived among the Pirahã with his wife and three young children hoping to convert the tribe to Christianity. Everett quickly became obsessed with their language and its cultural and linguistic implications. The Pirahã have no counting system, no fixed terms for color, no concept of war, and no personal property. Everett was so impressed with their peaceful way of life that he eventually lost faith in the God he'd hoped to introduce to them, and instead devoted his life to the science of linguistics. Part passionate memoir, part scientific exploration, Everett's life-changing tale is riveting look into the nature of language, thought, and life itself.

A fascinating look at ...

A fascinating look at an Amazonian culture and its language, by a linguist who lived with them as a missionary. This is a great book for anyone interested in obscure languages and what they may tell us about human cognition. The main thing I wished when reading this book was more information about the women's lives -- a throwaway line about how the women don't seem to use one phoneme has me hoping some female anthropologist or linguist will go live with them and write another book about them.

This is a must read fo...

This is a must read for anybody interested in endangered cultures or language theory. I must say that as part of my undergrad in English I studied Chomsky's theories about language and grammar. I very much disliked them, but I could not define why. I dereived a great amount of pleasure out of Mr. Everett's novel theories, which in fact trampled Chomskian approach to language. Add to this the marvel of discovering a culture in which material wealth is not important, and you have the most interesting book in decades.

I found this book so i...

I found this book so irritating that I just skimmed that last half of it. I have a life-long interest in the subjects, Amazonia and linguistics and anthropology, however both the poor writing style and author's unaccountable choices of what to tell, what to leave out, overcame my interest in the subjects. There is no doubt in my mind that Daniel Everett's knowledge of a peculiar indigenous people's language and culture is unique and that his life among them in the world's most prolific and diverse biosphere was immensely interesting. I found his style of telling it flat, his prose meager, and his time line jumbled without any overriding sense of purpose. In the end, my experience of the book was extremely frustrating. It takes an unusual alchemist to turn the gold of such experiences into the leaden account in "Don't Sleep, There Snakes".

The subtitle pretty mu...

The subtitle pretty much sums this up: Life and language in the Amazonian Jungle. Everett chronicles his experiences over three decades living among and studying the Piraha, an indigenous tribe. He first went to their villages in 1977, as a Christian missionary and accompanied by his wife and three young children. His mission was to learn their language and translate the New Testament into their native tongue so as to bring Jesus to them. What he found was his life's work.Parts of this book are very enjoyable for even a lay person (and armchair traveler). There is plenty of danger in the Amazonian jungle - anacondas with a body thicker than a grown man's, jaguars, caimans, piranhas, not to mention distrustful natives, malaria, typhoid fever and tarantulas the size of dinner plates. Everett and his family encountered all these and more. Stories of hunts, of a frantic trip upriver to take his critically ill wife and child to a hospital, or of altercations with unscrupulous merchants trying to buy natural resources with cheap liquor were told with flare and I found them fascinating and illuminating. But Everett is a linguistics professor/researcher, and there were chapters devoted to detailed study of the structure of language and the way it shapes (or is shaped by) a culture. I tended to lose interest in those sections of the book that read like a research paper, and sometimes got to the end of the page only to realize I'd understood what I read about as well as I might understand the Piraha language.

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Electrode, Comp-389264347, DC-prod-cdc01, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3-ebf-2, SHA-8c8e8dc1c07e462c80c1b82096c2da2858100078, CID-f01bc5ff-906-16f0d25fe7392a, Generated: Mon, 16 Dec 2019 05:19:51 GMT