LINGUIST List 15.3085
Mon Nov 01 2004
Media: Mundurucu Counting
Editor for this issue: Jessica Boynton <jessicalinguistlist.org>
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Message 1: Mundurucu Counting
From: Pierre Pica <picamsh-paris.fr>
Subject: Mundurucu Counting
Many readers of this list may have seen the October issue of Science
devoted to cognition and behavior.
At least three articles are relevant for the issue of 'numbers and
counting, which was raised by Dan Everett in his Friday 20 August 2004
message, (Linguist 15.2360).
The readers will be particularly interested in the article by P. Pica, C
Lemer, V Izard & S Dehaene : Exact and Approximative Arithmetics in an
Amazonian Indigene Group.
This article is based on data from Mundurucu (Para State, Brazil).
It both criticizes the Whorfian view expressed by Peter Gordon based on
Piraha (published in the same issue), and casts doubt on Dan Everett's
proposal that culture is the determining factor in language design and more
precisely in the availability of words for counting.
Pica & Dehaene underscore in particular that the facts do not cast doubt on
a universal competence in language and counting.
See also Gelman & Gallistel's article, which serves as an introduction to
Anyone interested in reading more on this issue is invited to consult the
Pierre Pica (UMR7023, CNRS, Paris)
Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science; Linguistic Theories
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