Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language (P.S.)

November 26, 2012
Author:
Steven Pinker
Publisher:
Harper Perennial (3/8/2011)

How does language work? How do we learn to speak? Why do languages change? Why do they have so many quirks? What does language reveal about the mind?

Steven Pinker explores the mysteries of language in this original and hugely entertaining book. Pinker uses a deceptively simple phenomenon—regular and irregular verbs—to illuminate an astonishing array of topics: the history of languages, what we can learn from children’s grammatical mistakes, the genetic and neurobiological underpinnings of language, and some of the major themes in Western philosophy. The key idea—that language comprises a mental dictionary of memorized words and a mental grammar of creative rules—extends beyond language, offering insight into the nature of thinking. For fans of The Language Instinct and The Stuff of Thought, here is another cornucopia of ideas about language and mind.