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The Language Instinct Audiobook

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2011 Steven Pinker (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Pinker writes with acid verve." (Atlantic Monthly)

"An extremely valuable book, very informative, and very well written." (Noam Chomsky)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (511 )
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  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 06-29-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 06-29-14 Member Since 2015

    Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.

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    "HUMAN LANGUAGE"

    “The Language Instinct” explores the origin and mechanics of human language. The author, Steven Pinker, offers more than a dilettante wants to know about language mechanics. But, Pinker offers credible and interesting information about where human language comes from and how it evolves.

    There are many digressions in Pinker’s book about mechanics of speech, language dialects, and specific language disabilities. He criticizes some writers for improper use of language and enlightens listeners about the teachings of Norm Chomsky.

    Changes in human language, according to Pinker, are an evolutionary inevitability. The complicated process of language creation is always in a state of change.

    Pinker delves into dialects of language that differ by population cohort, environmental interaction, and social interchange. Pinker argues for continuation of rule-making in language but discounts belief that rules should not, cannot, or will not change. Pinker infers language rules should keep pace with common understanding and clear communication.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    damarques Brasília, Brazil 03-29-14
    damarques Brasília, Brazil 03-29-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Solid book about the nature of language"
    If you could sum up The Language Instinct in three words, what would they be?

    Darwin wins again.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Steven Pinker explains very clearly the theory of human language as a biological adaptation. And he teaches you a lot of related subjects along the way.

    The way Pinker conveys knowledge to the layperson and the specialist at the same time reminds me of Carl Sagan. Pinker's book is very well written and makes you want to read more and more about the subjects involving human language. In contrast, I was reading one of Terrence Deacon's books about language and got stuck with his tiresome writing.


    Which character – as performed by Arthur Morey – was your favorite?

    About the narrator, this was the second book I listened with Arthur Morey. Like in "The Better Angels of our Nature" his performance was flawless.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but it's 19 hours of audio!


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent book for the lovers of linguistics. And an excellent opportunity for those interested in knowing more about this subject without getting bored.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Premo Los Angeles 04-06-13
    Ken Premo Los Angeles 04-06-13 Member Since 2004
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    "Thought provoking and clearly written"

    I was initially concerned by the length of this book, being a sign that I was in for a tedious listen. How pleasantly surprised I was by this clearly written and interesting work. Fascinating look at how similar all languages are and how they evolve over time. Pinker shows that for the human species, language is instinctual. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone 02-25-13
    Simone 02-25-13 Member Since 2016

    Follow me on Goodreads too!

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    "UGH! Forget It!!"

    I'm 24% done and that's enough. I'm not learning a thing, it's very text-booky, and nowhere near as interesting as I hoped it would be.

    I don't like to waste my money so I often plow through books even if I don't like them ... but this one was only 5$; not worth the effort!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mapache New York 09-01-16
    Mapache New York 09-01-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Pinker is brilliant."

    Pinker is a brilliant Harvard professor whose work is unconstrained by political correctness. This book is witty and insightful, and still current 20 years after first publication.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ariel 06-30-16
    Ariel 06-30-16
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    "Great content, but terrible in audio format"

    This is a great book that I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in not only language but science and human nature. But I WOULD NOT recommend listening to it in audio format. It's extremely hard to follow and I almost gave up several times. I'm overall quite happy with Audible, but listening to this book proved to me not only the obvious truth that not all books can be adapted to audiobook format, but that the judgement of whether a book can be adapted or not can be quite subjective. My answer to this question regarding this book is a clear NO, but I'm happy I finished it and I now actually really want to buy the paper version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-10-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Linguistics rit right"

    Pinker writes well. and for me that's often enough, but his subject knowledge and thoughtful arguments make a technical subject understandable and enjoyable

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    jose 11-02-15
    jose 11-02-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Very smart but..."

    ...it tends to read like a linguistics textbook. I often found my mind wandering and missed several portions of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adu 06-22-15
    Adu 06-22-15
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    "Includes brief updates on each chapter."
    Any additional comments?

    At the end of the book, there are brief updates, chapter by chapter, on more recent developments. (And it seemed that there wasn't much, of the 1994 material, that was really outdated.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    John 05-24-15
    John 05-24-15 Listener Since 2009
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    "makes me want to read more from Steven Pinker"

    An excellent explication of evolutionary neo-Chomsky-aniism. A bit tedious in its minutia. Deliberately perhaps, to bring to mind Darwin's seminal work. Well worth a listen if you don't mind sleeping through some of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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