Daniel L. Everett was born in 1951 into a working-class family in Holtville, a town on the California-Mexico border. As a teenager Everett attended the El Capitan High School in Lakeside, where he met Keren Graham, the daughter of Christian Missionaries. He became a Christian, and married Karen in 1969.
In 1976, after graduating with a degree in Foreign Missions from the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, they and their three children moved to Chiapas, Mexico. After Daniel's natural ability in languages became apparent, after additional training the family moved to Brazil in 1977, first to a city called Belém, to learn Portuguese, and then, a year later, to a Pirahã village at the mouth of the Maici River.
After teaching and chairing the Department of Linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh for several years, Everett moved to the University of Manchester, where he was Professor of Phonetics and Phonology. Daniel L. Everett has been the Chair of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Illinois State University. He has been publishing academic books and papers about the Pirahã (pronounced pee-da-HAN) for more than twenty-five years, but his work remained relatively obscure until early in 2005, when he posted on his Web site an article titled Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã, which was published that fall in the journal Cultural Anthropology. The article, which described the extreme simplicity of the tribes living conditions and culture, created furious debate with linguists, cognitive scientists, and evolutionary biologists.
Everett currently is the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Bentley University.
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