MIT-Led Team Finds Language Without Numbers

An Amazonian language with only 300 speakers has no word to express the concept of one or any other specific number, according to a new study from an MIT-led team. The team, led by MIT professor of brain and cognitive sciences Edward Gibson, found that members of the Piraha tribe in remote northwestern Brazil use language to express relative quantities such as some and more, but not precise numbers. It is often assumed that counting is an innate part of human cognition, said Gibson, but here is a group that does not count. They could learn, but it’s not useful in their culture, so they’ve never picked it up

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