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Book Cover
Author Pinker, Steven, 1954- author

Title The language instinct / Steven Pinker
Edition First edition
Published New York : W. Morrow and Co., [1994]
New York : William Morrow and Company, [1994]


Location Call no. Vol. Availability
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
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 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 safeguarding the language but 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
Analysis Biolinguistics
Language and languages
Notes Cover and spine subtitle: How the mind creates language
Includes index
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 447-472) and index
Subject Biolinguistics.
Language acquisition.
Language and languages -- Physiological aspects.
Language and languages.
Language Development.
Verbal Behavior.
Genre/Form Popular Work.
LC no. 93031842
ISBN 0688121411
(alkaline paper)
(paperback) (2007 Harper Perennial)
(alkaline paper)
(paperback) (2007 Harper Perennial)
Other Titles Language of instinct : how the mind creates language