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)





[01/24/17 - 12:35 PM]
"Nashville" on CMT Ratings Surge Nearly 20% Since Premiere
CMT further spins the numbers for the season to date.

[01/24/17 - 12:16 PM]
"The Leftovers" Returns for Final Season April 16
The new season of the Peabody Award-winning show finds the Garvey and Murphy families coming together as they desperately grasp for a system of belief to help better explain that which defies explanation.

[01/24/17 - 10:14 AM]
ICARUS, The Real-Life Story of How an Amateur Cyclist Exposed Russia's Olympic Doping Program, Coming Exclusively to Netflix
Premiering to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival, ICARUS takes viewers on an improbable odyssey that starts out in the world of amateur cycling and ends up upsetting the Olympics world order.

[01/24/17 - 10:01 AM]
TNT's Hit Series "The Librarians" Renewed for Season Four
The fourth season is slated to begin later this year.

[01/24/17 - 09:21 AM]
Bravo Media's Emmy Award-Winning "Inside the Actors Studio" Welcomes Cuba Gooding, Jr. on Thursday, February 2 at 8PM ET/PT
The Academy Award-winning actor sits down with host Lipton to delve into his boisterous Hollywood career.

[01/24/17 - 08:56 AM]
1.85 Million Viewers Tune in for Tito Ortiz - Chael Sonnen Main Event on Spike TV
Spike TV spins the numbers for Saturday, January 21.

[01/24/17 - 08:51 AM]
Super Bowl Champion Greg Jennings Joins FOX Sports
"We've been fortunate to have Greg on as a guest across many of our studio shows and have been incredibly impressed by his insight and ability to speak on a wide variety of topics," said Whit Albohm.

[01/24/17 - 08:30 AM]
Monday's Broadcast Ratings: ABC, "The Bachelor" Win Demo Race Once Again
Plus: "Quantico" rises in its new Monday home for the Alphabet.

[01/24/17 - 08:19 AM]
Science Channel Explores Subterranean Mysteries in All-New Series "Secrets of the Underground" Premiering Tuesday, February 14 at 10 PM ET/PT
In the new Science Channel series, scientist and tech fanatic Rob Nelson travels the country to investigate long lost, subterranean phenomena.

[01/24/17 - 08:01 AM]
Video: Welcome to Santa Clarita - New Featurette from Netflix Original Series Premiering February 3
The all new featurette gives a peak inside the lives of the Hammonds - a mild mannered family on a collision course down a road of death and destruction.

[01/24/17 - 07:05 AM]
WWE(R) Superstar John Cena(R) to Host "Nickelodeon's 2017 Kids' Choice Awards," Live on Saturday, March 11, 2017
With stunts and surprises at every turn, the show will air live from USC's Galen Center in Los Angeles and will be seen by kids around the globe on Nickelodeon channels in more than 180 countries and territories.

[01/24/17 - 06:43 AM]
Bravo Media Renews "Top Chef" for Season 15 and Sets Out on a Nationwide Call for Chefs
This year's chef meet and greets will take place by appointment at restaurants of alumni and friends of "Top Chef" in Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, New York, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

[01/23/17 - 06:55 PM]
Netflix Takes Worldwide Rights to Joe Piscatella's Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower
The film, which is a June Pictures production, will launch globally later this year, simultaneously to Netflix's over 93 million members in 190 countries.

[01/23/17 - 05:14 PM]
Netflix Acquires Worldwide Rights to The Incredible Jessica James at 2017 Sundance Film Festival
The movie will be branded as a Netflix original film and launch globally this year simultaneously to Netflix's over 93 million viewers in 190 countries.

[01/23/17 - 02:52 PM]
Jenn Brown Joins Spike's Multi-Platform Coverage of Bellator MMA
In this newly created role, Brown will host Bellator's online fight coverage and provide updates as well as conduct interviews during the live telecasts.