The Amazon Code 52' by Randall Wood & Michael O’Neill


In a remote region of the Amazon live the last 300 members of the Pirahã tribe. They have one of the strangest languages in the world: they have no words for colours and numbers, no concern for the past nor the future – making it one of the hottest debates ever among linguists!

In the 1970’s, Daniel Everett first met the Pirahã as a Christian missionary exploring the Amazon basin. Having converted no one, Everett was soon much less interested in Jesus than the people with whom he was now living.

For 30 years, he attempted to understand the near indecipherable Pirahã language - once described by the New Yorker as ‘a profusion of songbirds’, ‘melodic chattering’, and ‘barely discernible as speech’ - and re-invented himself as a linguist, grabbing headlines by challenging Noam Chomsky’s theory of universal grammar.

In this documentary, we will follow Everett as he sets out to gather evidence to support his controversial theories.


Direction: Randall Wood & Michael O’Neill

Production: Essential Media & Entertainment production with ABC Australia, Smithsonian Networks and ARTE France

Genre: Science

Available versions: French, German, English



Jackson Hole Science Media Awards (United States)
Jackson Hole Science Media Awards
FIPA (France)
Jury of Young Europeans Prize

Screening Room

For professional use only

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