Saturday, August 21

Encoding Colorless Language in Music

[Encoding Colorless Language in Music]

More on the Pirahã.

They have a truly complex and layered communication system that "uses five discourse channels; information may be spoken (the default), whistled, hummed, yelled or encoded in music. Whistled languages are rare, making Pirahã an interesting study in the strength of tone and stress in communication".

Their language can be whistled or encoded in music. That's pretty amazing.

The paper that spawned all this discourse is here. Some of the other interesting points about the Pirahã from that paper:
  • they've no creation myths or fiction
  • they've no terms for colors
  • they've neither collective nor individual memory of more than two generations past
  • they've no drawing or other art
That's too much to think about this evening.

Off to bed.