The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
How the Mind Creates Language (P.S.)

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Synopsis

In this classic, the world's expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution. The Language Instinct received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update on advances in the science of language since The Language Instinct was first published.

 

About Steven Pinker

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Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He is the author of seven books, including The Blank Slate.
 
Published December 14, 2010 by HarperCollins e-books. 546 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Education & Reference, Science & Math, Self Help, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical, Nature & Wildlife. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Language Instinct

Kirkus Reviews

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This theme, the power and mystery of the human mind, permeates Pinker's engaging study, balanced with the more sober scientific belief that the mind is an "adapted computational model": "To a scientist," he writes, "the fundamental fact of human language is its sheer improbability."

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The New York Times

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Brain Work (September 15, 2002) Related Searches Books and Literature Pinker, Steven Language and Languages

Sep 23 2007 | Read Full Review of The Language Instinct: How th...

The New York Times

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One is a theorist of human nature, the author of “How the Mind Works” and “The Blank Slate.” The other is a word fetishist, the author of “The Language Instinct” and “Words and Rules.” One minute, he’s explaining the ascent of man;

Sep 23 2007 | Read Full Review of The Language Instinct: How th...

The Guardian

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Where Steven Pinker's bestselling The Language Instinct was somewhat austerely dedicated to language in its most general aspects, The Power of Babel is about languages in the plural: their eccentricities and "baroque" complexities.

Mar 09 2002 | Read Full Review of The Language Instinct: How th...

Publishers Weekly

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Pinker argues that our brains exhibit both kinds of thought, and that we can see them both in English verbs: rule application (""combination"") governs regular verbs, memory (""lookup"") handles irregulars.

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The Independent

Language is unique to humans, he concedes, unlike eyes, but that does not bother him: 'A language instinct unique to modern humans poses no more of a paradox than a trunk unique to modern elephants.' Further on, he claims that the language instinct impresses him no more or less than the island-bu...

Apr 10 1994 | Read Full Review of The Language Instinct: How th...

The Independent

It would be going it a bit to say that drastic punning is a central theme in Steven Pinker's dazzling new book on the nature of language - he has some very serious concerns.

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The Bookbag

A lot of space is devoted to the arguments against the (recently resurrected) neo-Whorfian language relativism, which claims that structures of our native language mould our thoughts to a very high degree and make if very hard to even think thoughts that are contrary to the patterns of our language.

Jan 09 2011 | Read Full Review of The Language Instinct: How th...

The Bookbag

Summary: This book concerns language in general rather than any specific languages and it describes mechanics of language as well as making an extremely convincing, well presented and often entertaining argument in favour of the innate character of spoken language acquisition and development.

Jan 09 2011 | Read Full Review of The Language Instinct: How th...

Slate

I mean, there's also a personal, reflective style where the author makes an attempt to reflect on personal experience, and some people do enjoy this type of romantic style, but few writers can pull it off, so probably a more realistic expectation for most journalists and essayists is to aim for c...

Sep 30 2014 | Read Full Review of The Language Instinct: How th...

Project MUSE

S rightly points out that this notion only seems plausible when language is represented on the page: when speaking, we perceive language in chunks rather than perceiving each separate element in sequence.

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