Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure
  • Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure
  • Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure

Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure

by Steven Pinker
     
 

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Before Steven Pinker wrote bestsellers on language and human nature, he wrote several technical monographs on language acquisition that have become classics in cognitive science. Learnability and Cognition, first published in 1989, brought together two big topics: how do children learn their mother tongue,
and how does the mind represent basic

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Overview

Before Steven Pinker wrote bestsellers on language and human nature, he wrote several technical monographs on language acquisition that have become classics in cognitive science. Learnability and Cognition, first published in 1989, brought together two big topics: how do children learn their mother tongue,
and how does the mind represent basic categories of meaning such as space, time,
causality, agency, and goals? The stage for this synthesis was set by the fact that when children learn a language, they come to make surprisingly subtle distinctions:
pour water into the glass and fill the glass with water sound natural, but pour the glass with water and
fill water into the glass sound odd. How can this happen, given that children are not reliably corrected for uttering odd sentences, and they don't just parrot back the correct ones they hear from their parents? Pinker resolves this paradox with a theory of how children acquire the meaning and uses of verbs, and explores that theory's implications for language, thought, and the relationship between them.

As Pinker writes in a new preface, "The Secret Life of Verbs," the phenomena and ideas he explored in this book inspired his 2007
bestseller The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human
Nature
. These technical discussions, he notes, provide insight not just into language acquisition but into literary metaphor, scientific understanding,
political discourse, and even the conceptions of sexuality that go into obscenity.

The MIT Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262518406
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
06/30/2013
Series:
Learning, Development, and Conceptual Change
Edition description:
new edition
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
1,356,834
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Times Higher Education Supplement - Paul Fletcher

The author's arguments are never less than impressive, and sometimes irresistible, such is the force and panache with which they are deployed.

Lila Gleitman

Learnability and Cognition is theoretically a big advance, beautifully reasoned, and a goldmine of information.

Ray Jackendoff

A monumental study that sets a new standard for work on learnability.

From the Publisher
"A monumental study that sets a new standard for work on learnability." —Ray Jackendoff, Tufts University

"The author's arguments are never less than impressive, and sometimes irresistible, such is the force and panache with which they are deployed." — PaulFletcher, Times Higher Education Supplement

" Learnability and Cognition is theoretically a big advance,beautifully reasoned, and a goldmine of information." — Lila Gleitman,University of Pennsylvania

Meet the Author

Steven Pinker is Harvard College Professor in the Department of Psychology at
Harvard University. His books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works,
The Blank Slate
, and The Better Angels of Our Nature
have won numerous prizes.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Boston, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
September 18, 1954
Place of Birth:
Montreal, Canada
Education:
B.A., McGill University, 1976; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1979
Website:
http://stevenpinker.com/

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