“A brilliant, witty, and altogether satisfying book.” – New York Times. Book Review. ZZOLIN. Thel. LANGUAGE. INSTINCT. How the Mind Creates Language . STEVEN PINKER Pinker, Roslyn Pinker, Susan Pinker, John Tooby, and especially .. A language instinct may seem jarring to those who think of language. THE LANGUAGE INSTINCT BY STEPHEN PINKER William Morrow, pages; $ REVIEW BY RANDY HARRIS Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct is.
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The classic book on the development of human language by the world's leading expert on language and the roughnosecontdar.tk this classic, the world's expert on languag. PDF | This paper examines Steve Pinker's arguments for the existence of a language instinct encoded in the genes of human beings as an language instinct encoded in the genes of human beings as an explanation Steven Pinker's book. The Language Instinct. Steven Pinker. June 18 - June 26, Mans uniqeuness in the universe has during recent history suffered many setbacks, the latest of.
Read in: 4 minutes Favorite quote from the author: Steven Pinker writes on a great variety of subjects, yet does so with a diligence that is tough to match.
He goes into a topic determining the current state of research, takes lots of time to critically reflect on it and then pins down his lessons about it, much like I do here on Four Minute Books. The result? Humans have an innate language instinct, which allows them to tackle communication on a whole other level. Here are my 3 favorite lessons from the book: Since children learn grammar without studying it, they must have an innate capability to understand it.
There are two central principles behind all languages, which make them learnable. Ready to investigate and uncover your inner, ingrained language learner? If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want. What does a language researcher have to do with computer science?
Chomsky is the main supporter of the idea that we are born with the skill to learn languages, and his main argument is called the poverty of the stimulus. He is lobbying for Chomsky's theory, not describing the entire field, nor reporting a consensus. This approach could be misleading.
Readers could be led to believe that the intense, narrow study that Chomsky has defined is the whole of linguistics.
In fact, there is much in linguistics besides Chomsky's work, and many who disagree with it fervently. Pinker's lobbying is less of a problem than it might be, though, because he is honest. Pinker tells you when he is speculating. He tells you when his claims are controversial. He even tells you though not in much detail or with much courtesy that there are other ways of looking at language and the mind.
Lobbying is less of a problem, too, because the position he is promoting is so limited that any reader can see flaws in the reasoning. Language is a massive, Gordian, social-mental construct.
It resides in our heads. We think with it. We perceive the world through it.
But it also resides in our society. We communicate with it. We build our culture through it. Pinker only attends to the mental dimensions, and only to some of them. If you keep the social and cultural tentacles of language in mind when you read the book, you will recognize the many weak links in Pinker's case against the theory that language influences perception, which he tars with the Orwellian label 'linguistic determinism' and never examines in a realistic version.
You will recognize premises like "virtually every sentence that a person utters Hasn't Pinker ever watched a sports cast? You will shake your head when he offers specious analogies like this dismissal of learning-by- imitation: You will notice that there are huge expanses of language that he omits, or waves at distractedly.
Hasn't he ever heard of a metaphor, or a dialect?
There is much to believe in the book, much to trust, many reasons to read it. I am as guilty in this review of glibness as Pinker is the book consider mine an inoculation against his. This review is not an argument to ignore the book. Quite the contrary. It's an argument to read it, but to read it cautiously.
One reason to read the book is that it has come under attack from many quarters. William Safire has jumped on it for denigrating motherhood. Linguists have derided it for propagandizing. And your humble reviewer has just sneered at it for many inches. Anything which earns diverse denunciations is worth checking out for yourself. Another reason: Pinker skewers language snobs while still advocating language standards. But the most important reason for reading The Language Instinct is for what it reveals about Chomsky's linguistic program.