Wendy's Reviews > The Language Instinct

The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
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's review
Nov 11, 08

bookshelves: permanent-reference-shelf

Pidgin languages are created as a lingua franca between people who speak different languages (as on slave plantations) or none (as when ASL was created for the deaf). These languages are imprecise, ungrammatical, rudimentary. But in the next generation, children who are raised only speaking the pidgin language create order, and the grammatical language they effortlessly develop becomes a creole language. The kids figure out how to indicate verb tense, noun cases (who did what to whom),etc., instinctively--hence the title.

Isn't that amazing? A perq of reading a scholarly book just for fun is that you can skip the boring parts, but this book really doesn't have many boring parts, just tidbits like the above.

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