Let's keep tonight's update brief and light-hearted.
|Leisure in eleven sounds or less: Daniel Everett and a Pirahã man enjoying a dip.|
Image credit: The New Yorker.
On the other end of the extreme is !Kung, spoken in the deserts of Namibia, with a whopping 141 phonemes. No wonder the language gets an exclamation point in its name! (Actually, the exclamation point stands for a click phoneme resembling a cork being pulled from a bottle). For comparative purposes, English dialects range from 38 to 44 phonemes, which is above average but by no means extraordinary.
|Labor in one hundred and forty-one sounds: 18,000 people speak !Kung today but their way of life |
is endangered due to pollution of their water sources.
Image credit: Documentary Educational Resources.