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Saturday, August 21, 2004 

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish... or not

According to an article in the Globe and Mail, there is a tribe in Brazil that has no vocabulary for numbers or counting. Adult members of the tribe appear to be unable to learn math, even after months of basic instruction. The tribe also has no distinct vocabulary for colour.

Some of the people quoted in the article say this is the best evidence for a long discredited linguistic theory posited by amateur linguest Benjamin Lee Whorf about 60 years ago. According to this article, he said that learning a specific language determined the nature and content of what you think.