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The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language | [Steven Pinker]

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

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....
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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Randy Bakersfield, CA, United States 03-30-13
    Randy Bakersfield, CA, United States 03-30-13 Member Since 2012

    Band guy who always wants to be better at something.

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    "Not your typical linguistic book."
    What did you love best about The Language Instinct?

    This book delves into the history and evolution of language. It's nice to get the "how we got here", which is much more enlightening.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Younos Waterloo, ON, Canada 03-18-13
    Younos Waterloo, ON, Canada 03-18-13
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    "This could be a good book"
    Would you try another book from Steven Pinker and/or Arthur Morey?

    Chapter 1 got me hooked, and the subject is very related to my research. However the book is redundant if you have any idea about Naom Chomsky's work. My take on the book is that most of the research it talks about is not well designed and fails to accept the fact that computers are available.


    Has The Language Instinct turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Arthur Morey?

    I would have just referred listeners to accompanying material instead of reading long lists of words or examples that are included in many parts of the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 02-25-13
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 02-25-13 Member Since 2006

    Join me on GoodReads too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel BUCKHANNON, WV, United States 02-25-13
    Rachel BUCKHANNON, WV, United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2013
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    3
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    "Hang in there"
    Any additional comments?

    Very informative and mostly interesting, but you must bear through some less interesting sections here and there as Pinker explains some important concepts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 11-29-12
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 11-29-12 Member Since 2009

    I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio.

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    "Good book, feels a bit dated, but features updates"

    I enjoyed this book, though some of the pieces of information or anecdotes weren't new to me. I liked how the author clearly laid out his arguments, though I didn't always need 15 examples of the phrase or concept he was explaining. The book was a pleasant listen and I was pleased that it was broader than a basic discussion of language. The author allowed himself to spend time explaining related concepts and instincts to put the language stuff in perspective.

    My main concern with the book was that it was a bit dated in places, including one reference that was just ridiculous from a 2012 perspective (but not central to the story Pinker was trying to tell). The book was first written in 94, I think, but was updated more recently. The end of book addresses those dated items. It was nice to hear a short update on some of the affected topics, though it sounds like Pinker's general theories did not change. The dated bits were mostly just pop culture references, I think the science (or theory) holds up.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Ware, MA USA 11-05-12
    Amazon Customer Ware, MA USA 11-05-12 Member Since 2005
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    "A solid introduction to language science"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Language Instinct to be better than the print version?

    Although the narrator was excellent, I kept wondering what the written page might look like as Pinker gives many examples that are sometimes just subtly different.


    Have you listened to any of Arthur Morey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I've not listened to this narrator before, but he does a superb job of making clear and comprehensible a dense work of explication.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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