Sarita's Reviews > Don't Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle

Don't Sleep, There are Snakes by Daniel L. Everett
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's review
Aug 02, 10

Recommended for: people who didn't sleep through most of linguistics
Read in August, 2010

Everett's story of how learning the language of a tribe whose culture had proved previously impenetrable to anthropoligists, linguists, and missionaries is a fascinating one. Definitely worth the read, if you're willing to skip around a bit. I say that, because:
a) If you're into linguistics, you'd probably want to read more about his theories
b) If your eyes glaze over once when he says "phoneme blah blah blah recoursive" I, I mean, hypothetical-you, would probably want to skip the details of his carefully explained methods
c) If you're interested in missionary stories, you might not like how this one turns out
d) If you're interested in how this one turns out, there isn't nearly, nearly enough about his wife and kids and general family dynamic as there could've been.
So it raises a lot more questions than it answers about everything except phonemes. But the writing is clear, the author's voice pretty warm and self-deprecating, and the tale is 5 times more interesting than any other memoir that I'm likely to read this year. Can't complain about that.

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