Literature Study GuidesThe Language Instinct How The Mind Creates Language

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language | Study Guide

Steven Pinker

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Course Hero. "The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language Study Guide." Course Hero. 1 May 2020. Web. 9 May 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Language-Instinct-How-the-Mind-Creates-Language/>.

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Course Hero. (2020, May 1). The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 9, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Language-Instinct-How-the-Mind-Creates-Language/

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Course Hero. "The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language Study Guide." May 1, 2020. Accessed May 9, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Language-Instinct-How-the-Mind-Creates-Language/.

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Course Hero, "The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language Study Guide," May 1, 2020, accessed May 9, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Language-Instinct-How-the-Mind-Creates-Language/.

Overview

Author

Steven Pinker

Year Published

1994

Type

Nonfiction

Genre

Argument, Nonfiction, Psychology

At a Glance

The author addresses many common questions about language, such as how it is learned and why children seem to learn language more easily than adults. Pinker draws on the ideas of well-regarded theorists such as Noam Chomsky (b. 1928), recent scientific findings about language, and his own scholarly work. He translates these academic sources into words the layperson can readily understand.

Pinker writes for a varied audience. His explanations of the quirks of spoken and written language may appeal to language lovers. At the same time, his references to research appeal to the scientifically curious and the student. Pinker's ability to synthesize vast bodies of research, interpret complicated theories, and relate complex ideas to everyday examples makes the book useful, even for academic study.

About the Title

The title, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language, incorporates two of Pinker's key premises. The first is that language is an instinct. That is, humans are hardwired, so to speak, to learn and use language just as spiders know how to spin webs. This view contrasts with the behaviorist perspective on language, which suggests language develops based on external factors, such as reinforcement. Second, in contrast to some early language theorists, who held that language mediates thought, Pinker views thought and language as distinct.

Summary

This study guide for Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

Key Figures

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