Entries by Dan

A discussion of “Understanding Recursion and Looking for Self-Embedding in Pirahã”

A discussion of Understanding Recursion and Looking for Self-Embedding in Pirahã, by Raiane Oliveira Salles, Pontifícia Universidade Católica of Rio de Janeiro. http://www.maxwell.vrac.puc-rio.br/26480/26480.PDF In the decades since I began field research on the Pirahã language, in December of 1977, 39 years ago, no one else has done any descriptive linguistics field research on this language. Brazilian […]

Who’s afraid of the big bad Wolfe? Apparently everyone.

Gibberish meets Wolfe: Recursion is Just a State of Mind Tom Wolfe’s new book, The Kingdom of Speech, continues to be the object of scathing reviews on blogs, in comments, and even in newspaper articles by linguists, anthropologists, psychologists, journalists, and evolutionary biologists  – often people with some belief that the views of Noam Chomsky […]

How Language Began

My newest book, after Dark Matter of the Mind, is called How Language Began: the Story of Humanity’s Greatest Invention (due out in Spring 2017, published in the USA by Liveright (WW Norton) and in the UK by Profile Books).  What follows is the catalog copy: How Language Began The Story of Humanity’s Greatest Invention Daniel […]

The Kingdom of Speech/Tom Wolfe

In August 2016, author Tom Wolfe published a book , The Kingdom of Speech, in which he discusses the work of four major figures in the history of the sciences of evolution and language. These are Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, Noam Chomsky and myself. He also wrote an article for Harper’s Magazine that outlines his […]


I have been listed as a producer on Blessid, a local indie film. It is a suspense drama about a pregnant woman who forms a bond with a man who is immortal. At its core, Blessid is an anti-suicide film with a message of self forgiveness. I was contacted by the filmmaker because there is one part […]

Overview of my new book

Pending publication with University of Chicago press, here is the overview of my new book, Dark Matter of the Mind. “Is it in our nature to be altruistic, or evil, to make art, use tools, or create language? Is it in our nature to think in any particular way? For Daniel L. Everett, the answer is a […]

Homesigns: Excerpt from Dark Matter of the Mind

So far, we have seen nothing in grammar, gestures, or other aspects of language that would lead us to believe that anything needs to be attributed to the genome of Homo sapiens that is specific to language. Cultural learning, statistical learning, and individual apperceptional learning complemented with human episodic memory seem up to the task, […]

Out of Africa

We are all out of Africa. But does this hold true of Homo sapiens or only our earlier ancestors, such as Homo erectus? In the second chapter of my book-in-progress, How Language Began, I contrast and evaluate the two primary hypotheses for the origins of modern humans, the multiregional theory and the Out of Africa or […]