The Language Instinct

Until I get home and get a chance to write in my actual journal, I am going to post on here. Feel free to refer books or authors to me.

From the back cover:

“In The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker, well-known for his revolutionary theory of how children acquire language, lucidly explains everything you ever wanted to know about language; how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, how it evolved. With wit, erudition, and deft use of everday examples of humour and wordplay, Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution like web spinning in spiders or sonar in bats.”

I am about halfway through the book and found the first half of what I read to be extremely interesting. It’s the bits that I have discussed in various philosophy classes such as the small window for children to pick up language that we lose at around age 4 or 5. The way it evolves and that kind of thing. The second half that I have read has got bogged down a wee bit in how sentences are constructed and why they are that way, why we interpret the way we do, and that sort of stuff. Interesting but not enough for me to read every word. I have been skimming a lot of that section. 

There have been some funny examples of how people can get words in an order that while is grammatically correct, makes for a double-take. A few examples taken from headlines:

New Housing for Elderly Not Yet Dead
12 on Their Way to Cruise Among Dead in Plane Crash
NJ Judge to Rule on Nude Beach
Chou Remains Cremated
Hershey Bars Protest
Reagan Wins on Budget, But More Lies Ahead
Complaints About NBA Referees Growing Ugly

I may want to come back to this book and re-read it after I have had a chance to absorb what I am learning this time through. In case:
Title: The Language Instinct
Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: William Morrow and Company 1994

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One Response to The Language Instinct

  1. dw00 says:

    As found in our skytrains: Priority seating for people with disabilities and seniors. Not quite as good as the famous Hershey Bar Protest.

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