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)





[02/20/17 - 08:37 AM]
Sunday's Broadcast Ratings: ABC Wins Low Key Night in Demos
The Alphabet wins the evening among adults 18-49 with a modest 0.9 average rating.

[02/19/17 - 08:07 PM]
Upcoming Episodes of "Big Little Lies," "Girls," "Crashing" Available for Early Streaming Next Friday
HBO's originals will be available in advance of Sunday's telecast against the Oscars.

[02/19/17 - 04:18 PM]
BBC America Announces "Blue Planet II" - Successor to Nature Series Phenomenon "Planet Earth II"
This brand new seven-part landmark nature series exploring the world's oceans, will be presented by world renowned broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

[02/19/17 - 08:32 AM]
Saturday's Broadcast Ratings: NBC Wins Race in Total Viewers, Adults 18-49
The Peacock's "SNL Vintage" tops the night in the key demographic.

[02/18/17 - 08:25 AM]
Friday's Broadcast Ratings: CBS Tops Both Viewers, Demos
The Eye's "Blue Bloods" leads the night in each category.

[02/17/17 - 03:05 PM]
ABC Counts Down to Oscar(R) Sunday from Morning till Night with Special Episodes of "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Speechless," "Good Morning America" and "The Chew," Beginning Monday, February 20
On "Speechless": When the Dimeos throw their annual Oscar party with other special-needs families, Maya feels threatened by new mom Becca, who seems a little too perfect.

[02/17/17 - 02:37 PM]
"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" to Broadcast Live Following President Trump's Address to Congress, Tuesday, Feb. 28
Colbert will host from the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York and welcome actress Lisa Kudrow and former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest as his guests.

[02/17/17 - 12:20 PM]
Nick Swisher Joins FOX Sports - 2009 World Series Champion and MLB All-Star Serves as Studio Analyst
Recently retired, Swisher, a fan-favorite with an infectious personality throughout his 12-year playing career, makes his 2017 debut on FS1's "MLB Whiparound" this April.

[02/17/17 - 11:09 AM]
TNT's "Animal Kingdom" Returns for Season 2 Tuesday, May 30
The second season has been expanded to 13 episodes, up from its 10-episode freshman run.

[02/17/17 - 10:31 AM]
The Top 20 Junior Home Cooks Are Revealed on "MasterChef Junior"
Throughout this season, the juniors will face a wide array of exciting new challenges, including one served up by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

[02/17/17 - 09:21 AM]
"The Walking Dead" Season 7 Mid-Season Premiere Delivers 15.9 Million Total Viewers
AMC further spins the numbers for Sunday, February 12.

[02/17/17 - 09:01 AM]
TBS's "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" Is #1 in Late Night Among Young Adults in 2017
TBS spins the numbers for the year to date.

[02/17/17 - 08:37 AM]
Showtime Sports(R) to Stream First Ever Live Boxing Event on Twitter with Broner vs. Grandos, Live on Saturday, Feb. 18
The unique collaboration with Twitter is an extension of the Showtime Free Preview Weekend during which the premium network will be available to more than 73 million television households nationwide from Friday, February 17 through Monday, February 20.

[02/17/17 - 08:27 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: ABC Continues Demo Win Streak
The Alphabet leads the night among adults 18-49 for the fourth consecutive week.

[02/16/17 - 11:28 PM]
Development Update: Thursday, February 16
Updates include: Kevin Smith brings "Sam & Twitch" to BBC America; Retta tapped for "Good Girls" at NBC; and Jonathan Krisel to helm "Ghosted" at FOX.