Language Learnability and Language Development, With New Commentary by the Author

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Harvard University Press, Jun 30, 2009 - Psychology - 473 pages
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In this influential study, Steven Pinker develops a new approach to the problem of language learning. Now reprinted with new commentary by the author, this classic work continues to be an indispensable resource in developmental psycholinguistics.

Reviews of this book:
"The contribution of [Pinker's] book lies not just in its carefully argued section on learnability theory and acquisition, but in its detailed analysis of the empirical consequences of his assumptions." DD--Paul Fletcher, Times Higher Education Supplement

"One of those rare books which every serious worker in the field should read, both for its stock of particular hypotheses and analyses, and for the way it forces one to re-examine basic assumptions as to how one's work should be done. Its criticisms of other approaches to language acquisition...often go to the heart of the difficulties." DD--Michael Maratsos, Language

"[A] new edition, with a new preface from the author, of the influential monograph originally published in 1984 in which Pinker proposed one of the most detailed (and according to some, best) theories of language development based upon the sequential activation of different language-acquisition algorithms. In his new preface, the author reaches the not very modest conclusion that, despite the time elapsed, his continues to be the most complete theory of language development ever developed. A classic of the study of language acquisition, in any case." DD--Infancia y Aprendizaje [Italy]

 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
Assumptions and Postulates
13
3 Phrase Structure Rules
63
Developmental Considerations
96
5 Inflection
166
6 Complementation and Control
209
7 Auxiliaries
243
8 Lexical Entries and Lexical Rules
291
9 Conclusion
348
Notes
369
References
402
Index
421
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Steven Arthur Pinker was born on September 18, 1954 in Canada. He is an experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist, and author. He is a psychology professor at Harvard University. He is the author of several non-fiction books including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, Words and Rules, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, and The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. His research in cognitive psychology has won the Early Career Award in 1984 and Boyd McCandless Award in 1986 from the American Psychological Association, the Troland Research Award in 1993 from the National Academy of Sciences, the Henry Dale Prize in 2004 from the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the George Miller Prize in 2010 from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1998 and in 2003. In 2006, he received the American Humanist Association's Humanist of the Year award for his contributions to public understanding of human evolution.

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