In recent years the prevailing opinion among many academics has been that language is embedded in our genes, existing as an innate and instinctual part of us. But linguist Daniel Everett argues that language is like any other tool—it was invented by humans and can be reinvented or lost. Basing some of his findings on the Amazonian Pirahă people—who use grammar in ways that violate our under-standing of how language works—Everett also examines other far-flung cultures to discover the origins and limits of language.
"Everett draws on a wide knowledge of diverse languages and cultures…. This is the most recent and most eloquent account of a remarkable sea change that is taking place in our understanding of the nature of human language."—Michael Corballis