Jessica Draper's Reviews > The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
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's review
Aug 24, 2009

really liked it
Read in August, 2009

It's only appropriate that a book about language be written engagingly, and Steven Pinker is very fun to "listen" to. He lays out the evidence for a hard-wired ability for languages built into the structure of human brains (physically residing in the perisylvian region where Wernicke's and Broca's areas are), and livens things up with interesting examples from the scientific literature (kids are grammar geniuses) and fun quotes from sources from newspapers to Shakespeare. I appreciated his spirited defense of the idea of innate abilities and dismissal of complete relativism, too--the idea that humans can all have built-in abilities AND variation doesn't automatically give eugenics nuts or whatever-supremacists grounds to say that any particular group is inferior or superior, and not everything is negotiable.

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