Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language

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Harper Collins, Mar 8, 2011 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 384 pages
4 Reviews

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.

 

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User Review  - TJWilson - LibraryThing

Easy at times; rough at times. Definitely a better read than a lot of other popular science books but still difficult as far as understanding the minuteness of grammatical detail involved. In the end ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Schmerguls - LibraryThing

i found some things in this erudite book of interest, but most of it was not well comprehended by me. The blurbs for the book talk about 'a delicious romp through everything interesting about words ... Read full review

Contents

Dissection by Linguistics
21
Of Mice and Men
147
Kids Say the Darnedest Things
189
The Black Box
241
A Digital Mind in an Analog world
269
Glossary
289
Notes
297
3 5
335
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

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.

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