or


[04/30/12 - 08:18 AM]
"The Grammar of Happiness" Premieres May 12 on Smithsonian Channel
The one-hour special follows Daniel Everett, a red-bearded American who "decamped with his family to the Amazon rainforest to save souls."

[via press release from Smithsonian Channel]

FROM DEEP IN THE AMAZON, A MYSTERIOUS TRIBE SPARKS CONTROVERSY OVER ORIGINS OF HUMAN LANGUAGE AND A MISSIONARY RETURNS A CHANGED MAN

"THE GRAMMAR OF HAPPINESS" PREMIERES SUNDAY, MAY 12 AT 9PM ON SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL

New York, NY - April 30, 2012 - As a young, ambitious missionary three decades ago, Daniel Everett, a red-bearded American, decamped with his family to the Amazon rainforest to save souls. His assignment: convert the Pirahã to Christianity; an especially challenging task as he didn't speak their language and their puzzling speech seemed unrelated to any other on Earth. The Pirahã have no words for colors, no numbers, and no past or future tenses. Yet they would change Everett's life far more than he did theirs - and what he learned from them could forever transform our understanding of human language.

THE GRAMMAR OF HAPPINESS, a one-hour special premiering Sunday, May 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel, traces the epic story of Everett's journey and the profound effect it had on him personally and professionally. He lost his faith and his family, but gained an insight that overturns decades of conventional wisdom. It has also pushed him into conflict with perhaps the world's most esteemed academic, Noam Chomsky.

In the world of linguistics, Everett's argument is akin to saying that Einstein got it wrong on relativity. He makes the case in his new book, "Language: A Cultural Tool," which The New York Times called "full of intellectually omnivorous insights" and "that rare thing: a warm linguistics book."

Convinced by the Pirahã's steadfast beliefs that life should be lived in the present, that the past is behind us and thus irrelevant and that spiritual claims must be proven to be correct, Everett threw off the religious cloth to become a crusading and controversial academic. He re-invented himself as a linguist, grabbing headlines by challenging Chomsky's theory of universal grammar - the idea that there's a genetic foundation for all human language. In THE GRAMMAR OF HAPPINESS scientists from MIT design a computer analysis program to test Everett's theory in hopes of proving once and for all who is right: the legend or the maverick.

Everett's most controversial claim is that the Pirahã language lacks "recursion" - the ability to build an infinite number of sentences within sentences, regarded by Chomsky-ists as perhaps the most fundamental characteristic of human language. It is our ability to use recursion, or so the orthodoxy goes, that sets human language aside from animal communication.

Today, Dr. Everett is the dean of Arts and Sciences at Bentley University in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, oblivious to the academic arguments raging around their language, the Pirahã continue to live in the moment, deep in the Brazilian Amazon, with few concessions to modern life. They call themselves "the Straight Ones," while outsiders are considered to have "Crooked Heads."

As Everett's longtime teacher, Kohai, puts it in the THE GRAMMAR OF HAPPINESS: "Dan came here. He wanted to learn Pirahã. He wanted to have a 'straight head." Or as another put it in the film: "We love Dan. Dan speaks our language."

ABOUT SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL

Smithsonian Channel is owned by Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution. Its programs are largely inspired by the assets of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex. Smithsonian Channel features award-winning original documentaries, series, and groundbreaking programs highlighting America's historical, cultural and scientific heritage. Smithsonian Channel brings the American experience home in high definition and Dolby Digital 5.1 and is available to customers of DirecTV, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cablevision, Verizon, AT&T, and more. Learn more at www.smithsonianchannel.com.





  [april 2012]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S


· SHOWATCH
(series past and present)
· DEVWATCH
(series in development)
· MOVIEWATCH
(tv movies and mini-series)





[07/25/17 - 02:33 PM]
Video: National Geographic Summer TCA Trailers
Get your first look at scripted entries "The Long Road Home," "The State" and more!

[07/25/17 - 01:09 PM]
Legendary Survivalist Les Stroud Set to Return to TV in "Alaska's Grizzly Gauntlet" on Nat Geo WILD
"Les Stroud has inspired millions of people to explore the wild like no one else," said Geoff Daniels.

[07/25/17 - 01:08 PM]
National Geographic Begins Filming Season 2 of the Critically Acclaimed Series "Mars"
This second season's six-part arc jumps ahead several years into the future after the Daedalus astronauts have built a full-fledged colony - Olympus Town.

[07/25/17 - 01:07 PM]
National Geographic and Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron Mark 20th Anniversary of Blockbuster Film Titanic with One-Hour Documentary Global Event Special
"Titanic: 20th Anniversary" will look back at all the critical choices made during the film and put them to the test against a wealth of new sources - including new underwater footage, computer-generated simulation and scholarly research.

[07/25/17 - 01:06 PM]
National Geographic Honors Pioneering Primatologist's Legacy in "Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist," with Journal Entries Read by Sigourney Weaver
This is the story of one woman's extraordinary destiny, new insights into her murder and her battle to save the greatest primate on Earth.

[07/25/17 - 01:05 PM]
National Geographic Announces New Season of "StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson" Following Third Emmy(R) Nomination to Return in October
Each episode features an intimate interview between Tyson and a guest from pop culture, politics, sports or news, in which they discuss how science and technology have affected their lives and careers.

[07/25/17 - 01:04 PM]
Nat Geo WILD Unleashes the Wild Side of Costa Rica in New Season of Digital Series "Untamed"
In its second season, "Untamed" will give audiences an immersive experience into the most unique and unimaginable wildlife stories that Costa Rica has to offer.

[07/25/17 - 01:03 PM]
Nat Geo WILD Greenlights "The Road to Westminster," An All-Access Look at What It Takes to Be Best in Show
This is a peek behind the curtain of the Super Bowl for dogs.

[07/25/17 - 01:02 PM]
National Geographic, Martha Raddatz, and Lincoln Square Productions Announce Greenlight of Companion Documentary Special to Upcoming Drama "The Long Road Home"
"The Long Road Home" scripted series and its companion documentary special will air globally in November.

[07/25/17 - 01:01 PM]
National Geographic Documentary Films Presents "Diana: In Her Own Words"
The special weaves archival footage and photography with these rarely heard recordings and is the latest presentation under the National Geographic Documentary Films banner.

[07/25/17 - 11:04 AM]
Season Four of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer's "Broad City" Premieres Wednesday, September 13 at 10:30 P.M. ET/PT on Comedy Central(R)
The series moves back from its previously announced Wednesday, August 23 premiere.

[07/25/17 - 11:03 AM]
Comedy Central Announces One-Hour Sketch Comedy Special from "Goatface" Comedy Quartet
Hasan Minhaj, Asif Ali, Fahim Anwar and Aristotle Athiras star in the special, which uses sharp, playful sketch work to satirize a vast spectrum of topics including sports, music, politics, media, family relations, social issues and more.

[07/25/17 - 11:02 AM]
Comedy Central Announces Series Extension for "The President Show"
Beginning Thursday, September 28, "The President Show" will premiere at midnight, following new late night series "The Opposition with Jordan Klepper."

[07/25/17 - 11:01 AM]
Comedy Central(R) Announces Series Extension for "The Jim Jefferies Show"
After a brief hiatus, new episodes from this extension will begin on Tuesday, September 19 following the fall season premiere of "Tosh.0."

[07/25/17 - 11:00 AM]
"The Opposition with Jordan Klepper" - Comedy Central's Newest Late Night Series Launches Monday, September 25 at 11:30 P.M. ET/PT
The series will satirize the hyperbolic, conspiracy-laden noise machine that is the alternative-media landscape on both the right and left.