The Language Instinct

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062032526
Release Date: 2010-12-14
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

The classic book on the development of human language by the world’s leading expert on language and the mind. 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.

How the Mind Works

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393069730
Release Date: 2009-06-22
Genre: Science

“A model of scientific writing: erudite, witty, and clear.” —New York Review of Books In this Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness? ?How the Mind Works? synthesizes the most satisfying explanations of our mental life from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and other fields to explain what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and contemplate the mysteries of life. This new edition of Pinker's bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.

The Language Myth

Author: Vyvyan Evans
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781316123591
Release Date: 2014-09-22
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

Language is central to our lives, the cultural tool that arguably sets us apart from other species. Some scientists have argued that language is innate, a type of unique human 'instinct' pre-programmed in us from birth. In this book, Vyvyan Evans argues that this received wisdom is, in fact, a myth. Debunking the notion of a language 'instinct', Evans demonstrates that language is related to other animal forms of communication; that languages exhibit staggering diversity; that we learn our mother tongue drawing on general properties and abilities of the human mind, rather than an inborn 'universal' grammar; that language is not autonomous but is closely related to other aspects of our mental lives; and that, ultimately, language and the mind reflect and draw upon the way we interact with others in the world. Compellingly written and drawing on cutting-edge research, The Language Myth sets out a forceful alternative to the received wisdom, showing how language and the mind really work.

Through the Language Glass

Author: Guy Deutscher
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
ISBN: 1429970111
Release Date: 2010-08-31
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

A masterpiece of linguistics scholarship, at once erudite and entertaining, confronts the thorny question of how—and whether—culture shapes language and language, culture Linguistics has long shied away from claiming any link between a language and the culture of its speakers: too much simplistic (even bigoted) chatter about the romance of Italian and the goose-stepping orderliness of German has made serious thinkers wary of the entire subject. But now, acclaimed linguist Guy Deutscher has dared to reopen the issue. Can culture influence language—and vice versa? Can different languages lead their speakers to different thoughts? Could our experience of the world depend on whether our language has a word for "blue"? Challenging the consensus that the fundaments of language are hard-wired in our genes and thus universal, Deutscher argues that the answer to all these questions is—yes. In thrilling fashion, he takes us from Homer to Darwin, from Yale to the Amazon, from how to name the rainbow to why Russian water—a "she"—becomes a "he" once you dip a tea bag into her, demonstrating that language does in fact reflect culture in ways that are anything but trivial. Audacious, delightful, and field-changing, Through the Language Glass is a classic of intellectual discovery.

Words and Rules

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780465049714
Release Date: 2015-07-14
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

"If you are not already a Steven Pinker addict, this book will make you one." --Jared Diamond In Words and Rules, Steven Pinker explores profound mysteries of language by picking a deceptively simple phenomenon--regular and irregular verbs--and examining it from every angle. With humor and verve, he covers an astonishing array of topics in the sciences and humanities, from the history of languages to how to simulate languages on computers to major ideas in the history of Western philosophy. Through it all, Pinker presents a single, powerful idea: that language comprises a mental dictionary of memorized words and a mental grammar of creative rules. The idea extends beyond language and offers insight into the very nature of the human mind. This is a sparkling, eye-opening, and utterly original book by one of the world's leading cognitive scientists.

Language Cognition and Human Nature

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199328741
Release Date: 2013-11
Genre: Computers

Pinker's seminal research explores the workings of language and its connections to cognition, perception, social relationships, child development, human evolution, and theories of human nature. This eclectic collection spans Pinker's thirty-year career, exploring his favorite themes in greater depth and scientific detail. It includes thirteen of Pinker's classic articles, ranging over topics such as language development in children, mental imagery, the recognition of shapes, the computational architecture of the mind, the meaning and uses of verbs, the evolution of language and cognition, the nature-nurture debate, and the logic of innuendo and euphemism. Each outlines a major theory or takes up an argument with another prominent scholar, such as Stephen Jay Gould, Noam Chomsky, or Richard Dawkins.

The Unfolding of Language

Author: Guy Deutscher
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
ISBN: 9781466837836
Release Date: 2006-05-02
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

Blending the spirit of Eats, Shoots & Leaves with the science of The Language Instinct, an original inquiry into the development of that most essential-and mysterious-of human creations: Language Language is mankind's greatest invention-except, of course, that it was never invented." So begins linguist Guy Deutscher's enthralling investigation into the genesis and evolution of language. If we started off with rudimentary utterances on the level of "man throw spear," how did we end up with sophisticated grammars, enormous vocabularies, and intricately nuanced degrees of meaning? Drawing on recent groundbreaking discoveries in modern linguistics, Deutscher exposes the elusive forces of creation at work in human communication, giving us fresh insight into how language emerges, evolves, and decays. He traces the evolution of linguistic complexity from an early "Me Tarzan" stage to such elaborate single-word constructions as the Turkish sehirlilestiremediklerimizdensiniz ("you are one of those whom we couldn't turn into a town dweller"). Arguing that destruction and creation in language are intimately entwined, Deutscher shows how these processes are continuously in operation, generating new words, new structures, and new meanings. As entertaining as it is erudite, The Unfolding of Language moves nimbly from ancient Babylonian to American idiom, from the central role of metaphor to the staggering triumph of design that is the Semitic verb, to tell the dramatic story and explain the genius behind a uniquely human faculty.

Language and Mind

Author: Noam Chomsky
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521858194
Release Date: 2006-01-12
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

Presents a collection of essays on language and mind. This book brings the author's influential approach into the twenty-first century. The chapters 1-6 present his early work on the nature and acquisition of language as a genetically-endowed, biological system, the rules and principles of which we acquire an internalized knowledge.

Language and Species

Author: Derek Bickerton
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226046117
Release Date: 1992-04-15
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

Language and Species presents the most detailed and well-documented scenario to date of the origins of language. Drawing on "living linguistic fossils" such as "ape talk," the "two-word" stage of small children, and pidgin languages, and on recent discoveries in paleoanthropology, Bickerton shows how a primitive "protolanguage" could have offered Homo erectus a novel ecological niche. He goes on to demonstrate how this protolanguage could have developed into the languages we speak today. "You are drawn into [Bickerton's] appreciation of the dominant role language plays not only in what we say, but in what we think and, therefore, what we are."—Robert Wright, New York Times Book Review "The evolution of language is a fascinating topic, and Bickerton's Language and Species is the best introduction we have."—John C. Marshall, Nature

The Architecture of Language

Author: Nirmalangshu Mukherji
Publisher: OUP India
ISBN: 9780195684469
Release Date: 2006-08-17
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

In this book, Noam Chomsky reflects on the history of 'generative enterprise' - his approach to the study of languages that revolutionized our understanding of human languages and other cognitive systems.

Connections and Symbols

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262660644
Release Date: 1988-01-01
Genre: Psychology

Does intelligence result from the manipulation of structured symbolic expressions? Or is it the result of the activation of large networks of densely interconnected simple units? Connections and Symbols provides the first systematic analysis of the explosive new field of Connectionism that is challenging the basic tenets of cognitive science.These lively discussions by Jerry A. Fodor, Zenon W. Pylyshyn, Steven Pinker, Alan Prince, Joel Lechter, and Thomas G. Bever raise issues that lie at the core of our understanding of how the mind works: Does connectionism offer it truly new scientific model or does it merely cloak the old notion of associationism as a central doctrine of learning and mental functioning? Which of the new empirical generalizations are sound and which are false? And which of the many ideas such as massively parallel processing, distributed representation, constraint satisfaction, and subsymbolic or microfeatural analyses belong together, and which are logically independent?Now that connectionism has arrived with full-blown models of psychological processes as diverse as Pavlovian conditioning, visual recognition, and language acquisition, the debate is on. Common themes emerge from all the contributors to Connections and Symbols: criticism of connectionist models applied to language or the parts of cognition employing language like operations; and a focus on what it is about human cognition that supports the traditional physical symbol system hypothesis. While criticizing many aspects of connectionist models, the authors also identify aspects of cognition that could he explained by the connectionist models.Steven Pinker is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Co-Director of, the Center for Cognitive Science at MIT. Connections and Symbols is included in the Cognition Special Issue series, edited by Jacques Mehler.

Learnability and Cognition

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262518406
Release Date: 2013-06-21
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

A classic book about language acquisition and conceptual structure, with a new preface by the author, “The Secret Life of Verbs.”

The Crucible of Language

Author: Vyvyan Evans
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781316445396
Release Date: 2015-02-16
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

From the barbed, childish taunt on the school playground, to the eloquent sophistry of a lawyer prising open a legal loophole in a court of law, meaning arises each time we use language to communicate with one another. How we use language - to convey ideas, make requests, ask a favour, and express anger, love or dismay - is of the utmost importance; indeed, linguistic meaning can be a matter of life and death. In The Crucible of Language, Vyvyan Evans explains what we know, and what we do, when we communicate using language; he shows how linguistic meaning arises, where it comes from, and the way language enables us to convey the meanings that can move us to tears, bore us to death, or make us dizzy with delight. Meaning is, he argues, one of the final frontiers in the mapping of the human mind.

On Language

Author: Noam Chomsky
Publisher: The New Press
ISBN: 9781595587619
Release Date: 2011-07-26
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

Restoring to print two of Chomsky's most famous and popular books in one omnibus volume, On Language features some of the noted linguist and political critic's most informal and highly accessible work, making it an ideal introduction to his thought. In Part I, Language and Responsibility, Chomsky presents a fascinating self-portrait of his political, moral, and linguistic thinking. In Part II, Reflections on Language, Chomsky explores the more general implications of the study of language and offers incisive analyses of the controversies among psychologists, philosophers, and linguists over fundamental questions of language. "Language and Responsibility is a well-organized, clearly written, and comprehensive introduction to Chomsky's thought." —New York Times Book Review "Language and Responsibility brings together in one readable volume Chomsky's positions on issues ranging from politics and philosophy of science to recent advances in linguistic theory... The clarity of presentation at times approaches that of Bertrand Russell in his political and more popular philosophical essays." —Contemporary Psychology "Reflections on Language is profoundly satisfying and impressive. It is the clearest and most developed account of the case of universal grammar and of the relations between his theory of language and the innate faculties of mind responsible for language aquisition and use." —Patrick Flanagan