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The language instinct

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: New York : W. Morrow and Co., ©1994.
Edition/Format:   Book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Everyone has questions about language. Some are from everyday experience: Why do immigrants struggle with a new language, only to have their fluent children ridicule their grammatical errors? Why can't computers converse with us? Why is the hockey team in Toronto called the Maple Leafs, not the Maple Leaves? Some are from popular science: Have scientists really reconstructed the first language spoken on earth? Are  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Popular Works
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Pinker, Steven, 1954-
Language instinct.
New York : W. Morrow and Co., ©1994
(OCoLC)646971227
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Steven Pinker
ISBN: 0688121411 9780688121419 0060976519 9780060976514 0140175296 9780140175295 0060958332 9780060958336 9780141037653 0141037652
OCLC Number: 28723210
Description: 494 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: An instinct to acquire an art --
Chatterboxes --
Mentalese --
How language works --
Words, words, words --
The sounds of silence --
Talking heads --
The Tower of Babel --
Baby born talking --
describes heaven --
Language organs and grammar genes --
The big bang --
The language mavens --
Mind design.
Responsibility: Steven Pinker.

Abstract:

Everyone has questions about language. Some are from everyday experience: Why do immigrants struggle with a new language, only to have their fluent children ridicule their grammatical errors? Why can't computers converse with us? Why is the hockey team in Toronto called the Maple Leafs, not the Maple Leaves? Some are from popular science: Have scientists really reconstructed the first language spoken on earth? Are there genes for grammar? Can chimpanzees learn sign language? And some are from our deepest ponderings about the human condition: Does our language control our thoughts? How could language have evolved? Is language deteriorating? Today laypeople can chitchat about black holes and dinosaur extinictions, but their curiosity about their own speech has been left unsatisfied - until now. In The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading scientists of language and the 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, how it evolved. But The Language Instinct is no encyclopedia. With wit, erudition, and deft use of everyday examples of humor and wordplay, Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling theory: that language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution like web spinning in spiders or sonar in bats. The theory not only challenges conventional wisdom about language itself (especially from the self-appointed "experts" who claim to be safe-guarding the language hut who understand it less well than a typical teenager). It is part of a whole new vision of the human mind: not a general-purpose computer, but a collection of instincts adapted to solving evolutionarily significant problems - the mind as a Swiss Army knife. Entertaining, insightful, provocative, The Language Instinct will change the way you talk about talking and think about thinking.

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Major work in linguistics and evolutionary psychology

by vleighton (WorldCat user published 2012-01-03) Excellent Permalink

Pinker's Language Instinct is in its own league, not only in the perspective that it imparts, but in the quality of the writing. Pinker brings Chomsky's universal grammar to the masses, explaining how the mind processes linguistic structures. He then shows how the brain has to perform several distinct...
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