The Language Instinct: The New Science of Language and Mind
Penguin, 2000 - 548 pages
Simply by making noises with our mouths, we can reliably cause precise new combinations of ideas to arise in each other's minds. The ability comes so naturally that we are apt to forget what a miracle it is. Pursuing the ideas of Darwin and Chomsky, Steven Pinker offers a look at why we use language and where this ability comes from. Rather than being an acquired cultural artefact, it is vigorously argued that language is a biological adaptation to communicate information and as such is a system of great richness and beauty. Using examples of the way language is used in daily life from the mouths of children to the pontifications of politicians, Pinker explores this system and our instinct to use it.