Tag Archives: Linguistics

The language instinct

The language instinct: How the mind creates language

By Steven Pinker

Although this post has little or nothing to do with finance, it has very much to do with translation and linguistincs. Today we will briefly review a fascinating and highly informative book on a topic that is vital for our lives, societies and, needless to say, for our jobs as translators: how the mind creates language.

I’ve just read “The Language Instinct”, a 1994 book by Steven Pinker, written for a general audience.  The world’s expert on language and mind lucidly argues that humans are born with an innate capacity for language. He deals sympathetically with Noam Chomsky’s claim that all human language shows evidence of a universal grammar, but dissents from Chomsky’s skepticism that evolutionary theory can explain the human language instinct.

In this classic, Pinker explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how kids learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With skillful use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a fascinating story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution. The Language Instinct received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America.

It is a highly recommended essay for those interested in linguistics and languages.