The Amondawa Tribe, Amazon rainforest, Brazil

March 22, 2011

An article by By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent, The Telegraph (UK)

“The Amondawa people who live deep in the Amazonian rainforests of Brazil have no watches or calendars and live their lives to the patterns of day and night and the rainy and dry seasons.

They also have no age – and mark the transition from childhood to adulthood to old age by changing their name.

The team of researchers, led by University of Portsmouth, said that it is the first time they have been able to prove time is not a deeply entrenched universal human concept, as previously thought.

Professor Chris Sinha said: ‘We can now say without doubt that there is at least one language and culture which does not have a concept of time as something that can be measured, counted or talked about in the abstract.

“This doesn’t mean that the Amondawa are “people outside time”, but they live in a world governed by events rather than the passing of time.”

Only discovered in 1986, the Amondawa, about 150 strong, continue their traditional way of life, hunting, fishing and farming.

They also have their own language which have a number system but it only goes up to four.

Prof Sinha and his team, including a linguist and anthropologist, spent eight weeks with the Amondawa researching how their language conveys concepts like “next week” or “last year”.

There were no words for such concepts, only divisions of day and night and rainy and dry seasons.

They also found nobody in the community had an age.

Instead, they change their names to reflect their life-stage and position within their society.

A little child will give up their name to a newborn sibling and take on a new one.

Prof Sinha said: “We have so many metaphors for time and its passing – we think of time as a ‘thing’ – we say ‘the weekend is nearly gone’, ‘she’s coming up to her exams’, ‘I haven’t got the time’, and so on, and we think such statements are objective, but they aren’t.

“We’ve created these metaphors and they have become the way we think. The Amondawa don’t talk like this and don’t think like this, unless they learn another language.

“For these fortunate people time isn’t money, they aren’t racing against the clock to complete anything, and nobody is discussing next week or next year; they don’t even have words for ‘week’, ‘month’ or ‘year’.

“You could say they enjoy a certain freedom.”

The findings were reported in the journal Language And Cognition”

The post The Amondawa Tribe, Amazon rainforest, Brazil appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.





Also in Wovensouls Blog on Indian & Asian Culture

No Shoes Indoors

May 09, 2019

The origins of this  gently-but-strictly enforced rule in all traditional Asian homes might be many. But I think the real reason is the art that is displayed on the floor…. … Continue reading

The post No Shoes Indoors appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.

Continue Reading

A Note on Phulkari Classification

April 30, 2019

A compilation of my jottings on Phulkaris Textiles of Punjab

The post A Note on Phulkari Classification appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.

Continue Reading

One Old Lady meets Another

April 28, 2019

The paint has worn out. And there are plenty of nicks on the woodwork, each telling an unforgetable tale. Layers of old paint shed – layers of fresh paint applied … Continue reading

The post One Old Lady meets Another appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.

Continue Reading