Customer Reviews for

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

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  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    As Ambrose Bierce might say, "The covers of this book are too far apart."

    This is a rambling, pedantic, diatribe laced with opinion, soft science, and psychobabble. Many of the problems Pinker deals with are no more than paper tigers that are easily torn down by logic, application of a few rules of English, and appropriate use of punctuation. Pinker strangely has no use for either. He wonders why Americans have so much difficulty with their language; then, he spends an entire chapter ranting against the teaching of rules of language. Well, duh! Had Pinker had a circa 1949 class in diagramming sentences, he may have made a career change.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2000

    Se riuscite a leggere queste parole magari non avrete bisogno di lenti, ma sicuramente avete bisogno di un cervello adatto.

    Credete di sapere cosa troverete dentro a un libro che tratta del linguaggio? Sbagliato. Qualunque cosa abbiate pensato. Pinker riporta la trattazione del linguaggio a quello che il linguaggio è nella realtà, mostrando che non ci vuole più competenza linguistica per sostenere una dissertazione accademica rispetto a quella che serve per imprecare contro il vicino di casa fracassone. E lo fa in una maniera molto convincente. Parlare è ciò che il nostro cervello non può non farci fare, esattamente come il cervello di un ragno non può che fargli costruire ragnatele. Il linguaggio è qualcosa di innato, ma non (solo) perchè tutti lo parlano, bensì perchè tutti, quando parlano, organizzano le loro parole secondo una struttura sintattica innata ed economica dal punto di vista genetico. I bambini ce l¿hanno quando nascono, e imparano a usarla produttivamente NONOSTANTE i nostri tentativi di ¿insegnargli¿ a parlare. E così capiamo perchè i titoli scandalistici del tipo ¿Bambino nato parlante descrive il paradiso¿ non siano così campati per aria. L¿istruzione è un¿ottima cosa, ma come ci ricorda Pinker citando Wilde, ¿bisognerebbe ogni tanto ricordarsi che nulla che valga la pena di essere appreso può essere insegnato¿. Quello che è eccezionale nei bambini non è che ¿imparano¿ il linguaggio, bensì che ogni volta ¿lo reinventano¿, ma mai in maniera sgrammaticata. Ma Pinker non si ferma a Chomsky. Il linguaggio, checchè ne possa dire Chomsky, è un prodotto del lavorio congiunto di evoluzione e selezione naturale, si è accresciuto a poco a poco (ma questo non ha nulla a che fare con scimmie parlanti o gesticolanti). Inoltre, un apparato unico ed estremamente specializzato con aree cerebrali dedicate, come è il linguaggio, non è un¿eccezione in natura: la proboscide dell¿elefante ne è un altro esempio. Perchè Pinker ha scritto questo libro? Ce lo dice lui stesso: perchè non ha mai trovato qualcuno che non fosse interessato al linguaggio. Ma anche perchè, così come Fodor, odia il relativismo, che vorrebbe farci credere che quando nasciamo siamo una tabula rasa perfettamente liscia, e che non impariamo a usare la proboscide (invece del linguaggio) non tanto perchè il caso vuole che non ce la ritroviamo addosso, bensì soprattutto perchè ci ritroviamo in mezzo a persone che si da il caso che parlino. Nonostante tutti noi in fondo sentiamo che la vera ragione sta nel fatto che tutti gli uomini hanno la stessa mente.

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2008

    Predicting and interpreting jokes and language

    I would like to work also at the Steve project... and understanding the way we comprehend the world.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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