Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language

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Harper Collins, Oct 24, 2000 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 349 pages
62 Reviews

How does language work, and how do we learn to speak? Why do languages change over time, and why do they have so many quirks and irregularities? In this original and totally entertaining book written in the same engaging style that illuminated his bestselling classics, The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works, Seven Pinker explores the profound mysteries of language.

By picking a deceptively simple phenomenon--regular and irregular verbs--Pinker connects an astonishing array of topics in the sciences and the humanities: the history of languages; the theories of Noam Chomosky and his critics; the attempts to create language using computer simulations of neural networks; what there is to learn from children's grammatical "mistakes"; the latest techniques in identifying genes and imaging the brain; and major ideas in the history of Western philosophy. He makes sense of all this with the help of a single, powerful idea: that language comprises a mental dictionary of memorized words and a mental grammer of creative rules. His theory extends beyond language and offers insight in the very nature of the human mind.

  

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Review: Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language

User Review  - Goodreads

Interesting and well argued. I must say that Pinker convinces me that language is a combination between words and rules, between the need to memorize certain aspects of language and the use of rules ... Read full review

Review: Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language

User Review  - Joseph Sverker - Goodreads

Interesting and well argued. I must say that Pinker convinces me that language is a combination between words and rules, between the need to memorize certain aspects of language and the use of rules ... Read full review

Contents

Dissection by Linguistics
21
Of Mice and Men
147
Kids Say the Darnedest Things
189
The Horrors of the German Language
211
The Black Box
241
Glossary
289
Notes
297
References
313
Index
335
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

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 Slateóboth 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.

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