The air we breathe -- A village in the swamp -- First catch your teacher -- Moses's plan -- The burden of giving -- Dining in Gapun -- "I'm getting out of here" -- Over the rainbow -- The poetics of swearing -- Matters of the liver -- Young people's Tayap -- Living dangerously -- Who killed Monei? -- Luke writes a letter -- Going to hell -- What actually dies when a language dies? -- The end.
As a young anthropologist, Kulick went to the tiny village of Gapun in New Guinea to document the death of the native language, Tayap. He arrived knowing that you can't study a language without understanding the daily lives of the people who speak it: how they talk to their children, how they argue, how they gossip, how they joke. Over the course of thirty years, he returned again and again to document Tayap before it disappeared entirely. Here he takes us inside the difficult-to-get-to village of two hundred people in the middle of a tropical rainforest. In doing so he looks at the impact of Western culture on the farthest reaches of the globe. -- adapted from jacket.