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Cultural Evolutionary Language in the New York Times

On a day when my introduction to cultural anthropology class discussed cultural evolution, the New York Times ran a story about a ‘stone age’ tribe from the Colombian jungle. This group has, apparently, no concept of money or the future, but is interested in joining the ‘modern’ world.

Language Log provides useful analysis of the Sapir-Whorfian implications of the piece.

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John Hawks reviews the article noting:

It seems to me the article (by Juan Forero) spends a lot of words establishing the mismatch between Nukak knowledge and the realities of rural Colombia, but I can’t tell whether this is straight reporting (vis-à-vis the locals) or conscious imitation of old stereotypes.

Hawks adds more information about the Nukak from other sources too.

Lorenz at Anthropologi.info has his take on it the article too. In a word: ethnocentric.

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