War of words over tribal tongue
Nature, May 9 2012. "[…] Because Everett has spent far more time than anyone else living among the Pirahã and studying their language (some eight years, by his estimate), it has been difficult for other researchers to evaluate his claims, says Jan-Wouter Zwart, a linguist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. “All I know about Pirahã is from his grammar, and that’s true for all of us. We are typically dependent on a single person’s work.” Now, however, another researcher has collected independent data on Pirahã, and he says that his findings do not support Everett’s interpretation. At a presentation in April at MIT, Uli Sauerland, a linguist at the Centre for General Linguistics in Berlin, told the audience: “My evidence is that they can express attitudes, and what I think they use to do this is embedded sentences.” Sauerland is now preparing his data for publication."


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