Fieldwork on Pirahã

by Jeanette Sakel

I was invited by Nils Langer to talk at the University of Bristol about my fieldwork on Pirahã yesterday. The topic is still hot, it seems! The regular seminar room (for an audience of 20 or so) had to be abandoned in favour of a much bigger lecture theatre, as there was a lot of interest from students and staff alike. What I found amazing was the interest from the whole range of fields that were represented, which became clear during the discussion period after the talk: history, theology, philosophy, anthropology and specific language subjects (I may have missed some, as I didn’t have a chance to talk to everybody). Dan Everett’s work on the subject, as well as the arising debate, has definitely put linguistics (and in particular field linguistics) on the map. Discussing the link between language and culture, as well as language change, with scholars from a wide range of fields with an interest in language was thoroughly enjoyable!

Thank you for the invitation, Nils – and thank you for the interest!

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