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Introduction / History
The Piraha language has been traditionally referred to as the Mura-Piraha (Everett 1986). This designation obscures the distinction between the Mura language family and the Mura and Piraha languages. The Mura family has no known external affiliates and it includes Piraha and three dead languages: Matanavi, Bohura and Yahahi (Everett 1986).
There are between 9-15 different Pirahã villages along the Maici River. In the dry season, when the river is low and there are beaches, the village locations will increase considerably because they break up into small groups. The Membership of each village is between 15-40 people, with the larger numbers during the rain season and the smaller numbers during the dry season.
A village is comprised of two to three families. A family consists of the father, the mother, and the children. A child may or may not stay living with his parents after the age of 3. Most of the larger villages have a subculture of children, generally ages 3-14, who live together and take care of each other. These children, in general, come from broken homes, that is, their parents have split up and remarried.
Just as there is a geographic tightness in the lay-out of the lean-tos of a village, so there is a strong, tightly knit social network between the members. All members know everything about any given member of the group and each are considered to be close brothers and sisters. The close proximity of houses and the fact that there are no walls, makes each member's life an open book. Nothing is hidden from the other. The concept of a private life is foreign.
Scripture Prayers for the Mura-Piraha in Brazil.