Cultural constraints and the acquisition of language

5x puncte

categorie: Engleza

nota: 9.96

nivel: Facultate

Truly, the immediacy of experience is a very good argument that helps justify most of the peculiarities that present themselves in this language. For example, the refusal to record in writing their culture: 'We don't write our language', Everett recalls in his article (Everett, 626), might be considered a consequence of the above mentioned constraint. The fact that people choose not to register th[...]
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Truly, the immediacy of experience is a very good argument that helps justify most of the peculiarities that present themselves in this language. For example, the refusal to record in writing their culture: 'We don't write our language', Everett recalls in his article (Everett, 626), might be considered a consequence of the above mentioned constraint. The fact that people choose not to register their own heritage when they are offered the chance to learn how to do this (Everett's failure of the literacy classes), is, in my opinion, a sample of cultural constraint.

Also, it is not the case here of what one would call an oral type of civilization, seen as the counterpart of the written one. One would think that if people don't write, for sure they will keep the memory of their cultural heritage. But this thing does not happen in the case of the Piraha. The most striking proof is the fact that they are not able to date back the history of their people for more than two generations before. And as a consequence to this, the kinship terms are very scarce, as pointed out by Everett. This is an interesting phenomenon: to see clearly the link between culture and language and how the first manifests itself in the later.

Everett's demonstration appears a very determinate one. He furnishes many arguments, very technical, some of them , like the discussion regarding the embedding. He also states very clearly that what he dealt with was not, by any means, a 'primitive' language.
It is interesting to note that most of the criticism brought to his article deals with one, two, at most, three issues of his argumentation. I have not personally encountered any article that should literally neutralize Everett's argumentation. Most of them claim that Piraha is not unique in its lack of embedding or numbers or colours.
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