Food to a large extent is what holds a society together, and eating is closely linked to deep spiritual experiences.

— Peter Farb

The most skyrocket Peter Farb quotes to discover and learn by heart

At every moment of his life the Shoshone must be careful to observe the complicated folkways of his group, to do reverence to superhuman powers, to remember the courtesies and obligations of family, to pay homage to certain sacred plants, or to avoid particular places.


Gestures and facial expressions do indeed communicate, as anyone can prove by turning off the sound on a television set and asking watchers to characterize the speakers from the picture alone.


Men in all societies possess the biological equipment to remove their hats or shoes, but it is the birth within a particular culture that decides that a Jew will keep his hat and shoes on in his place of worship, a Mohammedan will take off his shoes, and a Christian will keep his shoes on but remove his hat.


Native speakers of a language know intuitively whether a sentence is grammatical or not. They usually cannot specify exactly what is wrong, and very possibly they make the same mistakes in their own speech, but they know-unconsciously, not as a set of rules they learned in school-when a sentence is incorrect.


Letters to the editors of English and American newspapers often contain expressions of horror about the new terms that creep into the language, and these expressions are usually accompanied by dire predictions about ruination of the mother tongue.


The environment does not determine man's culture;

it merely sets the outer limits and at the same time offers opportunities.


An inability to communicate has little to do with international friction-as is seen in the special ferocity of wars fought between people who speak the same language.


A complex society is not necessarily more advanced than a simple one;

it has just adapted to conditions in a more complicated way.


The dictionary is a closed system in which someone interested in the meaning of a word can go around and around and end up exactly where he started, simply because words are defined in terms of other words, and these, in turn, are defined in terms of still other words.


People who speak the same language can hate one another as easily as can people who speak unrelated languages.


Language does not stand still. Surprisingly, despite this knowledge, most speakers are fearful of change.


Speakers who have grown up in the American community unconsciously know its rules about taking turns in conversations-in the same way that they know the rules of grammar and the rules about appropriate speech in various situations.


About Peter Farb

Quotes 18 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday 1929

Despite the theories traditionally taught in high-school social studies, the truth is: the more primitive the society, the more leisured its way of life.


In place of science, the Eskimo has only magic to bridge the gap between what he can understand and what is not known. Without magic, his life would be one long panic.


No child is capable of speech until he has heard other human beings speak, and even two infants reared together cannot develop a language from scratch.


An invention or new combination can be successful only if all if the elements necessary for the recombination are present in the culture.


Marriage is simply an economic necessity, and so there are no elaborate courtship displays or marriage celebrations among the Eskimo.

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