The tribe that specifies how you reach a certain conclusion when you use a verb

The tribe that specifies how you reach a certain conclusion when you use a verb

I think that, I think that, this is so, this is so, I am right, my ideology is … all these are common places not only in any bar conversation, but in debates.

Yet accumulated evidence, data, statistics, peer-reviewed studies are rarely discussed. Or even the inductive / deductive process through which we have reached a certain conclusion. Not so for this Amazon tribe .


The Matsés is an Amazonian tribe that is obliged to specify, whenever they use a verb, how exactly they have come to know about the facts they are reporting .

As Guy Deutscher explains Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages :

There are separate verb forms depending on whether one is reporting from direct experience (you saw someone passing before your eyes), from something inferred from evidence (you saw footprints in the sand), from conjecture (people always pass by here at this time of day) or gossip (your neighbor told you he had seen someone pass). If a statement is reported in the wrong form of evidence, it is considered a lie.

Therefore, if you ask a matsé man how many wives he has, if he does not have them in front of him, he should answer something like: "There was one the last time I checked."

The Matsés who reside in Peru, are concentrated around the community of Buenas Lomas . In Brazil, there are also some population centers in the upper and lower Yavarí, upper Tapiche, Río Blanco and the Ucayalino towns of Requena and Jenaro Herrera. A total of 2,000-3,000 people can be estimated. Last time we checked .