Warter und Regeln: Die Natur der Sprache (Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language)

Overview

Wie funktioniert Sprache? Wie erlernen Kinder ihre Muttersprache? Warum verändern sich Sprachen über die Zeiten hinweg, so dass etwa Originaltexte aus dem Mittelhochdeutschen uns heute kaum noch verständlich sind? Warum weisen Sprachen so viele Eigentümlichkeiten und Unregelmäßigkeiten auf? Sind sie dennoch im Kern einander gleich? Wie werden neue Wörter geschaffen? Und wo im Gehirn sitzen die sprachlichen Fähigkeiten?

In seinem neuen Buch gibt Steven Pinker Antworten auf diese ...

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Overview

Wie funktioniert Sprache? Wie erlernen Kinder ihre Muttersprache? Warum verändern sich Sprachen über die Zeiten hinweg, so dass etwa Originaltexte aus dem Mittelhochdeutschen uns heute kaum noch verständlich sind? Warum weisen Sprachen so viele Eigentümlichkeiten und Unregelmäßigkeiten auf? Sind sie dennoch im Kern einander gleich? Wie werden neue Wörter geschaffen? Und wo im Gehirn sitzen die sprachlichen Fähigkeiten?

In seinem neuen Buch gibt Steven Pinker Antworten auf diese und viele weitere Fragen. Das Buch teilt den Witz und den Stil von Pinkers Klassiker Der Sprachinstinkt, aber es untersucht Sprache in einer völlig neuen Weise. So erläutert der Autor die tiefen Geheimnisse der Sprache, indem er ein scheinbar vereinzeltes Phänomen herausnimmt und es von allen Seiten beleuchtet. Dieses Phänomen - regelmäßige und unregelmäßige Verben - verknüpft eine erstaunliche Vielfalt von Themen in den Natur- und Geisteswissenschaften: die Geschichte der Sprachen, die Theorien von Noam Chomsky und seinen Kritikern, die Versuche, Sprache mittels Computersimulationen neuronaler Netzwerke nachzuvollziehen, die erhellenden Fehler, die Kinder machen, wenn sie zu sprechen beginnen, das Wesen menschlicher Konzepte, die Besonderheiten der englischen Sprache, wichtige Ideen in der westlichen Philosophie, die neuesten Verfahren zur Identifizierung von Genen und zur Darstellung der Aktivität des lebenden Gehirns.

Pinker gibt all dem Sinn mit Hilfe einer einfachen, aber schlagkräftigen Idee: nämlich der, dass Sprache sich aus zwei Komponenten speist - einem mentalen Lexikon erinnerter Wörter und einer mentalen Grammatik kreativer Regeln. Diese Vorstellung erstreckt sich über die Sprache hinaus und öffnet letztlich Einblicke in die Natur des menschlichen Geistes.

Ein schillerndes, augenöffnendes und zutiefst originelles Buch von einem der führenden Kognitionswissenschaftler der Welt.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783827402974
  • Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York, LLC
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Language: German
  • Edition description: German-language Edition
  • Pages: 478

Meet the Author

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker hat an der McGill University und an der Harvard University experimentelle Psychologie studiert. Der aus Montreal stammende Wissenschaftler ist Professor für Psychologie in der Abteilung für Brain and Cognitive Sciences am Massachusetts Institute of Technology und war bis 1999 Direktor des dortigen Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. Pinker hat viele Aspekte von Sprache und visueller Kognition untersucht und sich dabei schwerpunktmäßig mit dem Spracherwerb bei Kindern beschäftigt. Er ist Mitherausgeber der Fachzeitschrift Cognition. Zu seinen zahlreichen Auszeichnungen gehören Forschungspreise der National Academy of Sciences und der American Psychological Association sowie etliche Lehr- und Buchpreise. Pinker ist Autor der beiden Bestseller Der Sprachinstinkt und Wie das Denken im Kopf entsteht. Der englische Guardian hat den ebenso angesehenen wie sympathischen Psychologen und Sprachforscher einmal so beschrieben: Steven Pinker: der Gedankenleser. Er sieht aus wie ein Rockstar, liebt die frühen Woody-Allen-Filme und genießt als Wissenschaftler wie als Autor Weltruf. Der Evolutionspsychologe hat ein Faible für das Populäre und eine Mission: den Menschen zu erklären, wie das Gehirn funktioniert.

Biography

"When a gifted scientist and a gifted writer are all in one, you have Steven Pinker," writes fellow cognitive scientist Michael S. Gazzaniga. With his crisp prose style and zany, pop culture-inflected sense of humor, the MIT psychology professor has become famed for his ability to turn something like a discussion of regular and irregular verb forms into a rollicking good read.

As a psychology student at McGill University in Montreal, Pinker was drawn to the emergent field of cognitive science: "I found alluring the combination of psychology, computer science, artificial intelligence, the philosophy of mind, and linguistics," he said in a Scientific American interview. He earned his Ph.D. at Harvard, where his mentor was the psychology professor Roger Brown, who was a pioneer in the study of language acquisition and one of the first to apply Noam Chomsky's theories of language to field research. After accepting a post at MIT in 1982, Pinker began studying language acquisition in children, amassing enough data to demonstrate that children have an inborn facility for language.

Pinker's academic works on language development were admired by many of his peers, but in 1994 he sought—and gained—a broader audience with The Language Instinct, which suggests that human language is a biological adaptation, like web-spinning in spiders, rather than (as it is sometimes seen) a cultural invention, like the wheel. Pinker's lively and engaging treatise held tremendous appeal for a popular audience. Michael Coe, writing in The New York Times, called The Language Instinct "A brilliant, witty and altogether satisfying book."

But if humans have an instinct for language, how was that instinct acquired? That question led Pinker to the field of evolutionary psychology, and to the writing of his next book, How the Mind Works. If a particular behavior is common among humans, evolutionary psychologists reason, that behavior probably contributed to the ability of earlier humans to survive and pass along their genes. How the Mind Works, which uses this approach to examine behaviors from music-making to murder, was a finalist for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Following its release, Pinker publicly tangled with Stephen Jay Gould over the scientific legitimacy of evolutionary psychology. Although the two scientists clashed on some issues, Pinker admired Gould's ability to write entertaining explications of complex ideas—"profundity with a light touch," as Pinker wrote in his Time magazine eulogy for Gould.

Pinker's next book, Words and Rules, returned to the subject of language; specifically, it explores the different mechanisms involved in learning regular and irregular verb forms. In a recent book The Blank Slate, Pinker tackled the objections some people have to a biological view of human nature. "There are fears that if you acknowledge that people are born with anything, it implies that some people have more of it than others, and therefore it would open the door to political inequality or oppression, for example," he explained in a New York Times interview. The Blank Slate is Pinker's attempt to demonstrate that there's no inherent contradiction between evolutionary psychology and the concepts of free will and moral behavior. "It's a fallacy to think that hunger and thirst and a sex drive are biological but that reasoning and decision making and learning are something else, something non-biological," he said. "They're just a different kind of biology."

Good To Know

Journalists often comment on Pinker's rock-star mane of curls, and indeed Pinker once flirted with the idea of becoming a rock musician: "I have to confess that watching rock 'n' roll concerts, I did fantasize about being up on stage," he told The Guardian. "Not in the lead. I never wanted to be Mick Jagger. Maybe the bass-player or the drummer. But I never, ever played air guitar."

Research at Pinker's lab, in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, focuses on the different mental processes involved in using grammatical rules (e.g., an English plural can be formed by adding –s to the end of a noun) and using exceptions to the rules (e.g., the plural of mouse is not mouses but mice). The lab has undertaken magnetoencephalographic (MEG) studies to identify "the time course of the processing of words and rules in the brain."

Pinker was named among Newsweek's "100 Americans for the Next Century" and included in Esquire's "Register of Outstanding Men and Women."

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

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