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The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature Audio CD – Audiobook, September 11, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 308 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Unless you have a reasonably good background in linguistics, you'll find this excellent book much easier to read than to listen to. Olsher is not to blame; he reads clearly and at a (slightly rapid) conversational speed. Pinker aims for the educated lay reader, using wit and popular metaphor to clarify his meanings and bring abstruse linguistic concepts to life. But his sentences are dense; you need to reread them and think them through. And the jargon, though clearly defined, requires time and thought to absorb: Though hypernyms are not really examples of polysemy the way metonyms are, their use in emotionally tinged speech is another illustration of how choice among words can make a psychological difference. Such sentences are followed by clarifying illustrations, but they require cogitation—work that is well rewarded by a deeper and more complex understanding of language as a window into the mind. The chapter on the semantics of swearing is particularly fun and enlightening. In every culture swear words concern gods, diseases, excretions and sex, and Pinker tells us why. A person with some knowledge of linguistic theory will enjoy this audio enormously; a person without it will be enriched and delighted by the book, but have great difficulties with the audio version.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Steven Pinker is the Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and the winner of many awards for his research, teaching, and books, he has been named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World Today and Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin Audio; Abridged edition (September 11, 2007)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0143142585
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0143142584
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 18 years and up
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.36 x 1.56 x 5.64 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 308 ratings

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Steven Pinker is one of the world's leading authorities on language and the mind. His popular and highly praised books include The Stuff of Thought, The Blank Slate, Words and Rules, How the Mind Works, and The Language Instinct. The recipient of several major awards for his teaching, books, and scientific research, Pinker is Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He also writes frequently for The New York Times, Time, The New Republic, and other magazines.

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
308 global ratings

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