On Everett & Piraha: "history holds the key"

Daniel L. Everett dlevere at ilstu.edu
Mon Apr 23 18:13:54 UTC 2007

>> Esa
>> P.S. The point of my 1996 paper (arrived at, literally, on the  
>> last page) was anticipated by Dell Hymes & John Fought on p. 242  
>> of their book  American Structuralism (Mouton, 1981 [1975]). In  
>> another context (= p. 160) they quote the following perceptive  
>> remark: "You can't fight arrogance with humility."

The remark by Hymes and Fought, which I read years ago, is,  I  
believe about why Chomsky won over the linguistic world instead of  
Ken Pike. I don't know that I agree with their assessment. In any  
case, I should say that I have read in the history of linguistics  
since the 80s and that my appreciation of Sapir has been strong since  
1979, as I was beginning my PhD, though I didn't have any good ideas  
on  how to integrate that into my own ethnogrammar research program  
until about 2003 or so.


Daniel L. Everett, Professor of Linguistics, Anthropology, and  
Biological Sciences

Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Campus Box 4300
Illinois State University
Normal, Illinois 61790-4300
OFFICE: 309-438-3604
FAX: 309-438-8038

Dept: http://www.llc.ilstu.edu/default.asp
Recursion: http://www.llc.ilstu.edu/rechul/
Personal: http://www.llc.ilstu.edu/dlevere/

Honorary Professor of Linguistics
University of Manchester
Manchester, UK
β€œThe notion that the essence of what it means to be human is most  
clearly revealed in those features of human culture that are  
universal rather than in those that are distinctive to this people or  
that is a prejudice that we are not obliged to share... It may be in  
the cultural particularities of people β€” in their oddities β€” that  
some of the most instructive revelations of what it is to be  
generically human are to be found.” Clifford Geertz (1926-2006)

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