Book Review & Discussion : The Language Instinct

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How the Mind Creates Language

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In this event, you’ll learn

Why our words don’t really affect how we see the world, no matter what language we use

What morphemes are and why grammar isn’t the only important aspect of language

The reason Siri still has a tough time understanding you

How we understand written language

What happens in the first years of your life that makes you such an amazing language learner as a kid

Why our language instinct might be the result of evolution

What other natural-born instincts we might possess

About the Author

One of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World Today," Steven Pinker is the author of seven books, including How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate—both Pulitzer Prize finalists and winners of the William James Book Award. He is an award-winning researcher and teacher, and a frequent contributor to Time and the New York Times.


Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Plot Summary of “The Language Instinct” by Steven Pinker. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language (1994), by famed Harvard psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker, posits that humans learn language primarily through an instinct, guided by human instruction, that develops naturally as infants are brought up in their respective communities. Pinker remains a leader in the field of cognitive psychology.

The book’s themes include language acquisition, the possibility that language is an inborn trait, and that language is a result of mankind's evolution from hunter-gathers. Along with links to hundreds of studies, The Language Instinct contains multiple examples within the text that demonstrate the nuances and mysteries of language.

Pinker begins by saying that language is the most unique features humans possess. It’s an exciting time to write about language because, since the mid 1970s, cognitive science (a combination of neurobiology, computer science, psychology, linguistics and philosophy) has unveiled dozens of features of language and dispelled several common misconceptions about language acquisition.

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