Kincentric Ecology – Language

Kincentric Ecology – Language

Music: Raramuri music, guitar

For the Raramuri people of Mexico, their culture, their music and especially their language reminds them of their relationship with their environment. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Enrique Salmon is a Raramuri anthropologist who studies the language and customs of his own people.

ES: “We can’t say poison. We don’t have a word for poison in our language, and so as a result, we can’t think that concept of poison. To carry the idea further, we can’t say things like poisonous plants. We have no poisonous plants, according to us, but of course botanists would say well there’s, there’s a lot of poisonous plants. But to the Raramuri way of talking about plants, none of them are poisonous. They’re what we call uichiri, plants that are dangerous. And so we do recognize that there are plants that you have to be careful with, but at the same time it leaves room for the beneficial qualities of plants. So that, that’s a difference there with how our languages are structuring the way we think about things like the environment. Our brains still work the same way that everyone else’s brains work around the world, but culturally our languages are affecting the way we, look at reality. I’ve had some environmentalists really get a little angry cause I don’t believe in the notion of wilderness. Wilderness is not a part of my Raramuri language. We don’t have a word for wilderness, ’cause wilderness expresses this notion of something that’s separate from us as humans.”

Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Kincentric Ecology - Language

The language of the Raramuri people is interwoven with the elements of nature.
Air Date:04/23/2013
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Transcript:

Kincentric Ecology - Language

Music: Raramuri music, guitar

For the Raramuri people of Mexico, their culture, their music and especially their language reminds them of their relationship with their environment. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Enrique Salmon is a Raramuri anthropologist who studies the language and customs of his own people.

ES: "We can't say poison. We don't have a word for poison in our language, and so as a result, we can't think that concept of poison. To carry the idea further, we can't say things like poisonous plants. We have no poisonous plants, according to us, but of course botanists would say well there's, there's a lot of poisonous plants. But to the Raramuri way of talking about plants, none of them are poisonous. They're what we call uichiri, plants that are dangerous. And so we do recognize that there are plants that you have to be careful with, but at the same time it leaves room for the beneficial qualities of plants. So that, that's a difference there with how our languages are structuring the way we think about things like the environment. Our brains still work the same way that everyone else's brains work around the world, but culturally our languages are affecting the way we, look at reality. I've had some environmentalists really get a little angry cause I don't believe in the notion of wilderness. Wilderness is not a part of my Raramuri language. We don't have a word for wilderness, 'cause wilderness expresses this notion of something that's separate from us as humans."

Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.