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The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language is available at

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

by Steven Pinker

Investigation into how humans develop and acquire language.
Published by Harper Perennial Modern Classics 2007,  ISBN 0061336467 [Paperback,Kindle]
  Buy from or or Kindle Store

Steven Pinker covers a lot of ground in The Language Instinct, including the latest research and ideas about how language evolved, how we learn languages, what aspects are common to all languages, and what the differences are.

The Language Instinct provides a fascinating look into liguistics and theories by Noam Chomsky and others. There are interesting discussions of unusual cases where certains illnesses and brain injuries alter how language is perceived and used.

The writing styles is witty and fresh, even in discussions of the more technical aspects of linguistics. The references section alone could keep a person reading for years.

Here is the table of contents:

  1. An Instinct to Acquire an Art
  2. Chatterboxes
  3. Mentalese
  4. How Language Works
  5. Words, Words, Words
  6. The Sounds of Silence
  7. Talking Heads
  8. The Tower of Babel
  9. Baby Born Talking—Describes Heaven
  10. Language Organs and Grammar Genes
  11. The Big Bang
  12. The Language Mavens
  13. Mind Design


This book is likely worth reading a few times.

Paperback,Kindle reviewed by Greg Dixon
Monday, January 19, 2009

Please see or or Kindle Store for online ordering, sample pages, and more reviews for The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language


Subject keywords: english language grammar syntax linguistics evolution adaptation