Words and Rules: The Ingredients Of Language (Science Masters Series)

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9780465072705: Words and Rules: The Ingredients Of Language (Science Masters Series)
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Steven Pinker has a very good ear; you know it instantly from his prose: elegant, accessible and very witty indeed. In Words and Rules, Pinker picks apart our language to reveal pro found truths about how we think.

Do we deduce rules from the world around us and behave rationally? Or do we free-associate, discovering the world through experience and creative analogy? The obvious answer is "both". But proof of the obvious answer has long eluded philosophers of mind. Pinker, though, believes he has found it--in the English past tense.

English verbs come in two flavours. Regular verbs have past tenses that look like the present-tense verb with "-ed" on the end--today I walk, yesterday I walked, etc. The second kind of English verb is irregular. Irregular past tenses follow no rules--today I buy, but yesterday I bought; today I hold, yesterday I held.

The way children distinguish between these different sorts of verbs as they learn to talk suggests they learn both by rule and by association. Proving this is Pinker's task--and it's a bravura performance.

It takes nothing away from that other recent lit-hit, Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue, to say that Pinker's book achieves an altogether deeper level of profundity. It says much for Pinker that in doing so, he can still match Bryson for wit and readability. --Simon Ings

Review:

"[An excellent work of popular science."--Thomas Nagel, The New Republic

"the book provides a scholarly, persuasive, enjoyable, and eminently readable account of important language phenomena."--Nature

"Compelling and revelatory."--Guardian

"An intellectual joyride."--Globe and Mail

"Not only does Pinker breathe life into the topic, he makes the reading breathtakingly exciting."--Montreal Gazette

"A fascinating voyage of discovery."--Sunday Telegraph

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780465072699: Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0465072690 ISBN 13:  9780465072699
Publisher: Basic Books, 1999
Hardcover

9780062011909: Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language (P.S.)

Perennial, 2011
Softcover

9780060958404: Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language

Harper..., 2000
Softcover

9780753810255: Words And Rules: The Ingredients of Language (SCIENCE MASTERS)

W&N, 2001
Softcover

9780297816478: Words And Rules (Science Masters)

W&N, 1999
Softcover

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Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. How does language work? How do children learn their mother tongue? Why do languages change over time, making Shakespearean English difficult for us and Chaucer's English almost incomprehensible? Why do languages have so many quirks and irregularities? Are they all fundamentally alike? How are new words created? Where in the brain does language reside?In Words and Rules , Steven Pinker answers these and many other questions. His book shares the wit and style of his classic, The Language Instinct , but explores language in a completely different way. In Words and Rules , Pinker explains the profound mysteries of language by picking a deceptively simple phenomenon and examining it from every angle. The phenomenon,regular and irregular verbs,connects an astonishing array of topics in the sciences and humanities: the history of languages, the theories of Noam Chomsky and his critics the attempts to simulate language using computer simulations of neural networks the illuminating errors of children as they begin to speak the nature of human concepts the peculiarities of the English language major ideas in the history of Western philosophy the latest techniques in identifying genes and imaging the living brain.Pinker makes sense of all of this with the help of a single, powerful idea: that language comprises a mental dictionary of memorized words and a mental grammar of creative rules. The idea extends beyond language and offers insight into the very nature of the human mind. This is a sparkling, eye-opening and utterly original book by one of the world's leading cognitive scientists. Seller Inventory # AAC9780465072705

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Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. How does language work? How do children learn their mother tongue? Why do languages change over time, making Shakespearean English difficult for us and Chaucer's English almost incomprehensible? Why do languages have so many quirks and irregularities? Are they all fundamentally alike? How are new words created? Where in the brain does language reside?In Words and Rules , Steven Pinker answers these and many other questions. His book shares the wit and style of his classic, The Language Instinct , but explores language in a completely different way. In Words and Rules , Pinker explains the profound mysteries of language by picking a deceptively simple phenomenon and examining it from every angle. The phenomenon,regular and irregular verbs,connects an astonishing array of topics in the sciences and humanities: the history of languages, the theories of Noam Chomsky and his critics the attempts to simulate language using computer simulations of neural networks the illuminating errors of children as they begin to speak the nature of human concepts the peculiarities of the English language major ideas in the history of Western philosophy the latest techniques in identifying genes and imaging the living brain.Pinker makes sense of all of this with the help of a single, powerful idea: that language comprises a mental dictionary of memorized words and a mental grammar of creative rules. The idea extends beyond language and offers insight into the very nature of the human mind. This is a sparkling, eye-opening and utterly original book by one of the world's leading cognitive scientists. Seller Inventory # BZE9780465072705

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Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United States, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. How does language work? How do children learn their mother tongue? Why do languages change over time, making Shakespearean English difficult for us and Chaucer's English almost incomprehensible? Why do languages have so many quirks and irregularities? Are they all fundamentally alike? How are new words created? Where in the brain does language reside?In Words and Rules , Steven Pinker answers these and many other questions. His book shares the wit and style of his classic, The Language Instinct , but explores language in a completely different way. In Words and Rules , Pinker explains the profound mysteries of language by picking a deceptively simple phenomenon and examining it from every angle. The phenomenon,regular and irregular verbs,connects an astonishing array of topics in the sciences and humanities: the history of languages, the theories of Noam Chomsky and his critics the attempts to simulate language using computer simulations of neural networks the illuminating errors of children as they begin to speak the nature of human concepts the peculiarities of the English language major ideas in the history of Western philosophy the latest techniques in identifying genes and imaging the living brain.Pinker makes sense of all of this with the help of a single, powerful idea: that language comprises a mental dictionary of memorized words and a mental grammar of creative rules. The idea extends beyond language and offers insight into the very nature of the human mind. This is a sparkling, eye-opening and utterly original book by one of the world's leading cognitive scientists. Seller Inventory # AAC9780465072705

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