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The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

Written by Steven Pinker

Narrated by Arthur Morey


The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

Written by Steven Pinker

Narrated by Arthur Morey

ratings:
3/5 (862 ratings)
Length:
18 hours
Released:
Dec 6, 2011
ISBN:
9781455839728
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as ebookEbook

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Description

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.

"Pinker writes with acid verve." -Atlantic Monthly

"An extremely valuable book, very informative, and very well written." -Noam Chomsky

Released:
Dec 6, 2011
ISBN:
9781455839728
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

About the author

One of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World Today," Steven Pinker is the author of seven books, including How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate—both Pulitzer Prize finalists and winners of the William James Book Award. He is an award-winning researcher and teacher, and a frequent contributor to Time and the New York Times.



Reviews

What people think about The Language Instinct

3.1
862 ratings / 38 Reviews
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Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    A classic of popular (and at times, fairly academic) linguistics. The ideal gift for someone with an interest in language who's tired of hearing nothing about it in the mainstream but arguments over "proper" English and word origin fairy tales.
  • (5/5)
    Don't have the expertise in English that would allow me to take better benefit of this book. Still found it tremendously interesting in vary ways. And feel that made me aware of grammar in a completely new and fascinating way. Found it fascinating this idea that grammar is like a tool that connects all the mechanics of our expressions, the eyes, the face, the mouth, the hands, the body, everything is connected through grammar! “Complexity in the mind is not cause by learning, learning is cause by complexity in the mind”.
  • (5/5)
    Probably worth having a written copy too to appreciate the subtleties of language analysis.
  • (5/5)
    This is the book that blew my mind in college. Never thought of language in this way ever. Perhaps it's the luck of having read this first in my dive into linguistics, but this is one of those books I look fondly back on. Totally made me become much more incensed by grammar Nazis--an idealistic position I now know--and then on a second read a couple years later, made me slid right into the in-between of prescriptive and descriptive ideology where I belong. Definitely recommend.
  • (4/5)
    Pinker's books are always easy to read and absorbing. I believe that this was his very first book for a popular audience and he certainly got off to a good start. However, he contradicts himself in the first chapter and in a later chapter seems unaware that "flitch" and "thole" not only sound like they might be English words, but actually are. I'm right there with him when he debunks some stupid usage rules, like the injunction not to split the infinitive. But, although I'm a computer scientist, and know my Chomsky hierarchy and context-free grammars very well, his more technical discussion of grammar seem not to make sense. Somehow, this book feels a little lightweight; probably I'm not quite his intended audience.
  • (3/5)
    I read this for my first and second language acquisition class, and while I didn't love it, I definitely didn't hate it either. I liked Pinker's use of examples when trying to describe complex language issues, however, I wished sometimes that he would have stopped at two or three examples per topic. Once or twice he would use an entire chapter simply to expound upon different examples that helped him make his point. I get it Mr. Pinker.

    If you're into books on language, then go ahead and give this a read.