In this classic, the world's expert on language and 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, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution. The Language Instinct received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update on advances in the science of language since The Language Instinct was first published.
In this Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness? How the Mind Works synthesizes the most satisfying explanations of our mental life from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and other fields to explain what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and contemplate the mysteries of life.
This edition of Pinker's bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.
"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]
As Pinker writes in a new preface, "The Secret Life of Verbs," the phenomena and ideas he explored in this book inspired his 2007 bestseller The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. These technical discussions, he notes, provide insight not just into language acquisition but into literary metaphor, scientific understanding, political discourse, and even the conceptions of sexuality that go into obscenity.