In 2004 we discussed the Piraha, a tribe in the Amazon, when a study appeared characterizing their language as a "one, two, many
" language. Now reader mu22le
informs us of a new study of the Piraha pointing to the possibility that they use no number words at all
. Instead they seem to use the word formerly thought to mean "two" to represent a quantity of 5 or 6, and the "one" word for anything from 1 to 4. The language has about 300 native speakers. "The study... offers evidence that number words are a concept invented by human cultures as they are needed, and not an inherent part of language, Gibson said."