Like other tools, language was invented, can be reinvented or lost, and shows significant variation across cultures. It's as essential to survival as fire - and, like fire, is found in all human societies.
Language presents the bold and controversial idea that language is not an innate component of the brain, as has been famously argued by Chomsky and Pinker. Rather, it's a cultural tool which varies much more across different societies than the innateness view suggests.
Fusing adventure, anthropology, linguistics and psychology, and drawing on Everett's pioneering research with the Amazonian Pirahas, Language argues that language is embedded within - and is inseparable from - its specific culture. This book is like a fire that will generate much light. And much heat.
Daniel Everett is Dean of Arts and Sciences at Bentley University in Massachusetts. Previously, he was Chair of the department of languages, literatures and cultures at Illinois State University. He is the author of Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes [9781846680403, Profile].