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"Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes" by Dan Everett

don't sleep there are snakes

I first met Dan Everett at a phonology conference in Manchester, UK. He kept on asking these amazing questions, and so after one of the sessions I just came up to him and said something like "Jesus Christ, you're smart!". Actually it wasn't exactly that, but I like to think it was, because Dan reminds me of (another) one of my heroes, Harry Nilsson (he of "Jesus Christ, You're Tall" fame). Dan and I immediately clicked, and I very soon came to think of him as one of my best friends--he has that effect on people!

In "Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes", Dan relates his remarkable experiences with the Pirahã people of the Amazon, and in doing so, drops a beautiful bomb on the field (of linguistics). Dan came to Brazil as a Christian missionary and a Chomksyan linguist, and after many years working with the Pirahã, studying their language and their culture (which Dan argues are inseparable, not only in the Amazon, but everywhere), he eventually abandoned both his faith in Jesus and his faith in Chomsky.

Welcome to my world, Dan!

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