Daniel Leonard Everett is a U.S. author and academic best known for his study of the Amazon Basin’s Pirahã people and their language. He has worked in the Amazon jungles of Brazil for over 30 years, among more than one dozen different tribal groups. He is best-known for his long-term work on the Pirahã language. He has published more than 90 articles and six books on linguistic theory and the description of endangered Amazonian languages. His most recent book, “Don’t sleep, there are snakes: life and language in the Amazonian jungle”, was selected by National Public Radio as one of the best books of 2009 in the US, by Blackwell’s bookstores as one of the best of 2009 in the UK , and was an ‘editor’s choice’ of the London Sunday Times. His latest book is “Language as a cultural tool”. A documentary of his life and work, “The Grammar of Happiness”, will be released in 2012. A screenplay based on “Don’t sleep” is in progress by Spider Ink of Australia. He is currently Dean of Arts and Sciences at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts.


Daniel speaks with Joanna about culture, language and belief; the deep existencial change he experienced living with the Piraha people; “inmediacy of experience principle”; language and community, the Piraha languages: spoken, whistling…and humming, relative truth and tolerance, the deep ecological culture of the First People, the cognitive value of diversity…

Music: “Piraha singing“, fieldwork recording