The Language Instinct (Popular Penguin)

Author(s): Steven Pinker

Popular Penguins

Steven Pinker's The Language Instinctpropelled him to worldwide fame in 1994. His groundbreaking book's premise - that language is instinctual rather than acquired - so shook the foundations of biological science that the reverberations are still being felt today.


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“Is thought dependent on words? Do people literally think in English, Cherokee, Kivunjo, or, by 2050, Newspeak? Or are our thoughts couched in some silent medium of the brain - a language of thought, or 'mentalese' - and merely clothed in words whenever we need to communicate them to a listener? No question could be more central to understanding the language instinct.'…Steven Pinker, an experimental psychologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His answer is unequivocal: 'mentalese'. Language, he says, does not shape thought: thought shapes language. Fundamentally, human minds work in the same way, regardless of the language we happen to speak; and this working is innate - we cannot help but learn to talk.”

Andrew Robinson - The Independent

General Fields

  • : 9780141037653
  • : Penguin Books, Limited
  • : Penguin Books, Limited
  • : July 2008
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Steven Pinker
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 400
  • : 504
  • : Historical & comparative linguistics; Sociolinguistics