Forum 7

Monday, June 3rd: Rick will post a question.

Tuesday, June 4th: Everyone will post a comment.

Wednesday, June 5th: Everyone will post an reply.

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6 thoughts on “Forum 7

  1. Some cultures in the world have a language with only a few words for colors. For example, our textbook mentions a Papua New Guinea people who use only two color words, white and black (or light and dark). Similarly, there are cultures in the world with a language with few number words. The Pirahã people in South America, for example, only have words for one, two, few, and many.

    Why do these cultures not have words for colors or numbers? What do anthropologists say about this?

  2. I think that they don’t need these extra words for other colors. They only need to differentiate day and night in the case of the people from Papua and in the other case, they don’t have the need to other numbers as they must not have too many possessions or even want to. According to our textbook the more complex the culture more words are needed to express, or the more specialized the culture becomes.

  3. In my opinion, this is because the culture only needs to separate the kind of color, people don’t need to use many words to distinguish them. The reason might be they only have to know the meaning of color in the nature, such as the red or yellow fruit is edible. For anthropologists,the reason is more complex, why they do these is connected to the environment of residence, their habits and customs.

  4. Don’t these hunters want to know who has killed the most deer in a season? If so, they would need to count using number words, right? Isn’t competition a normal part of all human societies?

    Perhaps this is not so. Perhaps, hunters only care about who has killed the largest deer? Interestingly, many fishing and hunting stories from English-speaking parts of North America concern the size of the fish or game, but not the total number of fish or game.

  5. Maybe hunters or gatherers in primitive cultures take only enough to feed the tribe and is not interested in taking more and count them.

    • If we were not able to count, we might avoid some conflicts.

      If I can not count, I cannot say “Hey, I’ve killed seven more deer than anyone else this season, so I want you guys to do something extra for me.”

      Still, it’s hard for me to believe that counting is not a universal human desire.

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