The language instinct how the mind creates languag great book
The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language (P.S.) by Steven Pinker Great Book In this classic, the worlds expert on language and mind lucidly explainseverything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, howchildren learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how itevolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinkerweaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: languageis a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution. The LanguageInstinct received the William James Book Prize from the AmericanPsychological Association and the Public Interest Award from theLinguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update onadvances in the science of language since The Language Instinct was firstpublished.
Features:* ISBN13: 9780061336461* BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positivefeedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition.100% Satisfaction Guaranteed* Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.As someone who has had a fascination about languages, this book wasthe perfect choice for my undergraduate neuroscience class--its objectiveis to elucidate how the mind creates language. The prose is extremelywell-written and complex ideas clearly explained. Pinker takes the readeron a very fun and thought-provoking journey, providing fascinating insightsfor both the casually-interested reader and linguists alike. I will highlight onsome key points presented throughout.The first sections illustrate the key themes that Pi nker will elaborate onthroughout the rest of the book. He presents language as being anevolutionary adaptation that is unique to humans, just as much as a trunkis an adaptation for elephants or sonar for a bat. It is an instinct that weinnately are born with. One of the myths about language is the notion thatlanguage is taught or transmitted, whether from mother to baby, or fromone civilization to another. In actuality, children seem to be born withUniversal Grammar, a blueprint for all grammars on earth. Virtually everysentence is a brand new combination of words. Therefore a languagecannot be a repertoire of responses; the brain must contain a recipe orprogram that can build an unlimited set of sentences out of a finite list ofwords (9). Likewise, there has yet to be a civilization found that is devoid oflanguage. For example, a group of a million people had inhabited an areaisolated from the rest of the world in New Guinea for forty thousand years,yet had independently developed their own language, as discovered whenfirst contact was made in the 1920s.Another important concept presented is mentalese, a euphemism for atheory of thinking known as computational/representational theory of mind.It essentially negates the common myth that thought is dependent onlanguage and its corollary, that since people of different backgrounds thanus have different languages, they must think differently. There is thought tobe a universal mentalese, and to know a language is simply being able totranslate mentalese into strings of words in that language.The second section of the book is a comprehensive summary of the basicparts of language, with plentiful information regarding syntax, phrasestructure, morphemes, and more. A key point made is the recent discoveryof a common anatomy in all the worlds languages, called X-bar theory.With the general set of rules, children do not have to learn lists and lists ofrules for each language via rote memorization, but are born knowing thelinguistic framework. They are then able to go from speaking a few isolated
words to complex yet grammatically coherent sentences in a matter ofmonths.In the next section, Pinker introduces the concept of the parser, which isthe mental program that analyzes sentence structure during languagecomprehension. Grammar is simply a protocol, which does not necessitateunderstanding. In a nutshell, as the person reads a sentence, the parserwill group phrases, building phrase trees, consistent with linguistic rules(for example, a noun phrase is followed by a verb phrase). It is interestingthat grammatically correct yet poorly constructed sentences can cause aperson great difficulty in comprehension--the rationale is that the parserwill not present the person with the correct phrase tree, among copiouspossible combinations. Pinker goes on to describe the differences between languages. Despitegrammatical difference between languages, such assubject(S)/verb(V)/object(O) order (SVO, SOV, etc), fixed-word-order/free-word-order (if phrase order can vary or not), there are striking similarities.The most prominent are implications--if a language has X, it will have Y.For example, if the basic order of a language is SOV, it will have questionwords at the beginning of the sentence (234).Pinker cites three processes that act on languages that result in thedifferences that we see evident in languages today: innovation, learning,and migration. For example in the case of migration, though the roots ofEnglish are from Northern Ger many, the existence of thousands of Frenchwords in English is the legacy of the invasion of Britain by the Normans in1066. One of the most broad-reaching relationships between currentmodern languages can be traced back to the possible existence of a pro to-Indo-European language, whose modern-day descendents span fromWestern Europe to the Indian subcontinent.Over the final chapters, Pinker elaborates on the amazing explosion oflanguage acquisition in children during their first three years. He explainsthe significance of Brocas and Wernickes in language, by examiningdifferent cases of aphasia with patients having damage to those areas. Ourcurrent understanding of the brain does not allow us to be able to predictwhat the impact of damage to these areas are from patient to patient--it isfrequently witnessed that patients with damage in identical places to theseareas have different types of aphasia.As a final note, Pinker makes a distinction between prescriptive rules, suchas grammatical rules that we are taught in school, and descriptive rules,the way people actually talk. In response to the former, he makes a claimthat using non-standard English such as I cant get no satisfaction versusthe standard English I cant get any satisfaction is not wrong linguistically,as it is simply a different dialect with an internally consistent grammar. Theevident double-negative (which is wrong in standard English) is simply a
remnant of Middle English, where double-negatives were ubiquitous. Aslong as the grammatical rules of any language are consistent andsystematic, as in the seemingly wrong non-standard English, they followthe descriptive rules and are linguistically correct.Overall, The Language Instinct is a great read for anyone even remotelyinterested in the topic. The scope is immense, from basic linguistics, tolanguage development, to language evolution, to genetics, to overall minddesign. In addition to being introduced to very important linguisticconcepts, you will have an amazing amount of entertaining examples toshare in any setting. For More 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price:The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language (P.S.) by Steven Pinker - 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price!