Steven Pinker

The Language Instinct Publication date : April 5, 2013

The Language Instinct was unanimously praised was it was published in the United States. It examines a number of fascinating linguistic questions such as:What are the universal structures of language? What are its biologicalfoundations? What do infants know at birth? Is there such a thing as a "grammargene"? Will scientists eventually succeed in recreating language with artificialintelligence? What is the difference between human beings and animals? Whatcan be learnt from idiots savants and wolf-children? Do we think in words orpictures? Is there such a thing as a "mother tongue"? Why are there so manydifferent languages? Why is it so difficult for adults to learn new languages? The Language Instinct will tell you everything you ever wanted to know aboutlanguage: how languages are structured, how they constantly evolve andchange, how children learn them, and how the brain processes them. The author takes a series of examples drawn from history, anthropology,literature and daily life and re-examines them in the light of the most recentfindings in the cognitive sciences and psycholinguistics. With great clarity andhumour, he surveys the story of language, from its beginnings in the depths ofthe human brain and follows it to its most surprising and convolutedexpressions. The Language Instinct is also a hymn to human beings, to thepower of their minds, and to their creativity.

Steven Pinker heads the Center for Cognitive Neurosciences at theMassachusetts Institute of Technology. He specialises in childhood language acquisition.