Piraha Reading - Linguistics 101: People and their language...

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Linguistics 101: People and their language 1 Pirah˜a, number, and counting February 7, 2010 The last slide shown on Friday, 05 Feb 10, presented the results of an experiment in which Pirah˜a people were presented with a series of spools of thread that either increased in number from 1-10 or decreased from 10-1. They were asked to say which of their three apparent number words, h´oi , ho´ ı , or baagiso/aibaagi applied to each number of spools in each sequence. Figure 1 illustrates the results for the increasing sequence at the top and decreasing sequence at the bottom. The amount of each bar that’s colored black, gray, or white indicates how often the words h´oi , ho´ ı baagiso/aibaagi were applied to each number of spools. If these words meant one, two, and many, respectively, then the first bar would be all black, the second all gray, and the remaining bars would be all white for both the increasing and decreasing sequences. Instead what we see is h´oi is applied to 1 spool in the increasing order but for anything from 1 to as many as 6 spools for the decreasing order (and it’s the only word applied to 1-3 spools in the decreasing sequence), and
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course LINGUIST 101 taught by Professor Mccarthy during the Spring '08 term at UMass (Amherst).

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Piraha Reading - Linguistics 101: People and their language...

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