The language of the tribe, of which there are only about 300 members, seems to be unique in that it has no numbers. Counting was thought to have been innate in human cognition. Apparently that isn’t totally the case. Specific numbers weren’t useful to this culture, so they never developed them in their language.
Instead of specific numbers, the group, called the Piraha, has a couple of relative terms, translating to something like “some” and “more.” Piraha math classes, I assume, would be awesome.
Some + some = more (obviously)
Nothing + some = some (duh)
Nothing + more = some (interesting!)
More – some = some (probably)
Some – more = your mind blown (Whoa!)
Something very anthropologically and linguistically crazy is going on here. Something about how even though we think our thoughts shape language, language actually ends up shaping our thoughts. So if you come from a culture whose language has no concept of specific numbers, how does that shape your perception of the world?
Oh, if only I had been a better student.