[FUNKNET] 'Hear' as 'understand'

Daniel Everett dlevere at ILSTU.EDU
Tue Feb 2 12:46:26 UTC 2010

In Piraha ao-ob 'hear' means literally 'hit the ear'. It is used also to indicate understanding. ig-a 'carry sound' means 'to speak' and can be used for think or intention, even for inanimate objects. If the sky is cloudy, for example, or there is thunder, one can say 'the sky says I will rain' (It looks like it will rain, attributing intention to the sky). Or one can say 'the fish says it will hide under the rock'. 'The child says it is cold'.

Dan Everett

Daniel L. Everett
Chair of  Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
University Professor of Anthropology, Biological Sciences, and Linguistics
Campus Box 4300
Illinois State University
Normal, Illinois
phone: (309) 438-3604 
fax: (309) 438-8038

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list