BookBrowse Reviews Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes by Daniel L. Everett

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Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes

Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle

By Daniel L. Everett

Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes
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  • Hardcover: Nov 2008,
    304 pages.
    Paperback: Nov 2009,
    304 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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A riveting account of the astonishing experiences and discoveries made by linguist Daniel Everett while he lived with a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in central Brazil

Daniel Everett had lived in the Amazon jungle for years with the Pirahãs (pronounced pee-da-HANS) and had grown fluent in their language, when his entire understanding of their culture was overturned by a salad. He had hungered for some fresh lettuce after a steady diet of fish and wild game, and had asked the missionary plane to bring him a salad the next time they flew in to drop him some supplies. As he sat enjoying his greens, a Pirahã man walked by and peered at his bowl. "Pirahãs don't eat leaves," he said. "This is why you don't speak our language well. We Pirahãs speak our language well and we don't eat leaves."

Everett was floored by this summary judgment. He'd demonstrated his mastery of their language again and again. And what did his culinary taste have to do with his linguistic skill? When he finally understood what the man was saying...

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