Thursday, June 05, 2008

How we talk: an Amazon review of Steven Pinker's 'The Language Instinct'

"We all talk. (Some of us more than others). But all humans -- barring a problem such as deafness -- talk. Even our deaf friends talk by means of a complicated language of visual signs.

And Steven Pinker tells this story, the story of human language, and why it's so essential a part of our humanity, well. Following Chomsky, he posits a universal language structure, an innate part of our being who we are, and how small children grow quickly into complex grammatical and syntactical structures.

And for the most part, this is a good read. My only complaint is that on occasions, Dr. Pinker waxes a bit too eloquent, telling more information than is needed for the argument, giving pages and pages of examples when one or 2 would do. But this is a good introduction to the whole question of why and how we talk, and by inference how we think."

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