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Sioux Falls Feminists endorse The Language Instinct for
describing how language is at least partially genetically
driven and not wholly learned behavior.This is
to be expected. We are not blank slates.

The Language Instinct
How the Mind Creates Language
By Steven Pinker

The Language Instinct (1994) - 494 pages
The Language Instinct at Amazon.com

Everyone has questions about language. Some are from everyday experience: Why do immigrants struggle with a new language, only to have their fluent children ridicule their grammatical errors? Why can't computers converse with us? Why is the hockey team in Toronto called the Maple Leafs, not the Maple Leaves? Some are from popular science: Have scientists really reconstructed the first language spoken on earth? Are there genes for grammar? Can chimpanzees learn sign language? And some are from our deepest ponderings about the human condition: Does our language control our thoughts? How could language have evolved? Is language deteriorating?

Today laypeople can chitchat about black holes and dinosaur extinctions, but their curiosity about their own speech has been left unsatisfied - until now. In The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading scientists of language and the 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, how it evolved.

But The Language Instinct is no encyclopedia. With wit, erudition, and deft use of everyday examples of humor and wordplay, Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling theory: that language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution like web spinning in spiders or sonar in bats.

The theory not only challenges conventional wisdom about language itself (especially from the self-appointed "experts" who claim to be safe guarding the language but who understand it less well than a typical teenager). It is part of a whole new vision of the human mind: not a general-purpose computer, but a collection of instincts adapted to solving evolutionarily significant problems - the mind as a Swiss Army knife.

Entertaining, insightful, provocative, The Language Instinct will change the way you talk about talking and think about thinking.

Steven Pinker is professor and director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research in visual cognition and in child language acquisition earned him the Distinguished Early Career Award and the McCandless Young Developmental Psychologist Award from the American Psychological Association, and the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences. He has also won a teaching prize from MIT, and in 1986 was featured in the "Esquire Register" of outstanding men and women under forty. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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The Language Instinct
How the Mind Creates Language
By Steven Pinker

Sioux Falls Feminists endorse The Language Instinct for
describing how language is at least partially genetically
driven and not wholly learned behavior.This is
to be expected. We are not blank slates.