Monday, February 2, 2009

The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker - 16/81

The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker

I had a hard time with this book. When I started it, I was excited because the introduction was really good and it looked like the rest of the book would be also. But it soon got very technical and dull. Then it would get more interesting again. Then it would be very hard to read and understand. Then we'd have several pages of diagrams and obscure notation.

I don't really know how to rate this book. The basic idea is that language is a human instinct, and that language is acquired naturally. I understood a lot of his examples and some of what he said made sense. But I was frankly lost a lot of the time. I did study linguistics at least a little back in college, but that was not much help here.

I would say if you are interested in the subject, it might be worth a try, but it's certainly not for everyone.

1 comment:

Mary said...

I haven't read this title, but another by the same author "The Stuff Of Thought" was similarly technical and hard going on just one college-level linguistics course. Ultimately rewarding, but I set myself out a schedule of about 22 pages a day so my brain wouldn't zone out from trying too much at a time.