The Language Instinct: How The Mind Creates Language (P.S.) Reprint Edition, Kindle Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0061336461
ISBN-10: 0061336467
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  • Length: 546 pages
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Page Flip: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A three-year-old toddler is "a grammatical genius"--master of most constructions, obeying adult rules of language. To Pinker, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology psycholinguist, the explanation for this miracle is that language is an instinct, an evolutionary adaptation that is partly "hard-wired" into the brain and partly learned. In this exciting synthesis--an entertaining, totally accessible study that will regale language lovers and challenge professionals in many disciplines--Pinker builds a bridge between "innatists" like MIT linguist Noam Chomsky, who hold that infants are biologically programmed for language, and "social interactionists" who contend that they acquire it largely from the environment. If Pinker is right, the origins of language go much further back than 30,000 years ago (the date most commonly given in textbooks)--perhaps to Homo habilis , who lived 2.5 million years ago, or even eons earlier. Peppered with mind-stretching language exercises, the narrative first unravels how babies learn to talk and how people make sense of speech. Professor and co-director of MIT's Center for Cognitive Science, Pinker demolishes linguistic determinism, which holds that differences among languages cause marked differences in the thoughts of their speakers. He then follows neurolinguists in their quest for language centers in the brain and for genes that might help build brain circuits controlling grammar and speech. Pinker also argues that claims for chimpanzees' acquisition of language (via symbols or American Sign Language) are vastly exaggerated and rest on skimpy data. Finally, he takes delightful swipes at "language mavens" like William Safire and Richard Lederer, accusing them of rigidity and of grossly underestimating the average person's language skills. Pinker's book is a beautiful hymn to the infinite creative potential of language. Newbridge Book Clubs main selection; BOMC and QPB alternates.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

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.

--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0049B1VOU
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (December 14, 2010)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ December 14, 2010
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 2316 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 546 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 766 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
766 global ratings
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Paul Macdonnell
4.0 out of 5 stars Great. Penguin screwed up the index.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 27, 2017
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18 people found this helpful
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Russell Singh
3.0 out of 5 stars Circular, underestimates human creativity
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 22, 2017
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Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast delivery, good condition
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 28, 2019
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fernando saravia
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and easy to read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 25, 2019
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex ideas written beautifully
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 15, 2020
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