Now, in The Stuff of Thought, Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best: language and human nature. The result is a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature. What does swearing reveal about our emotions? Why does innuendo disclose something about relationships? Pinker reveals how our use of prepositions and tenses taps into peculiarly human concepts of space and time, and how our nouns and verbs speak to our notions of matter. Even the names we give our babies have important things to say about our relations to our children and to society.
With his signature wit and style, Pinker takes on scientific questions like whether language affects thought, as well as forays into everyday life: why is bulk e-mail called spam, and how do romantic comedies get such mileage out of the ambiguities of dating?
The Stuff of Thought is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable work that will appeal to fans of everything from The Selfish Gene and Blink to Eats, Shoots & Leaves.
"Engaging and provocative...filled with humor and fun." (Douglas Hofstadter, Los Angeles Times)
"Pinker is a star, and the world of science is lucky to have him." (Richard Dawkins)
"Curious, inventive, fearless, naughty." (New York Times Book Review)
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- Marc Dierckx
Don't tell me I didn't tell you!
If you are on the hunt for a treasure trove about semantics and semiotics this could be your find. It contains many "aha"-moments, many intricacies of hidden thoughts expressed in your verbal utturances as well as the enlightment that a native speaker gets the guts feeling of the language by just being a native speaker. The theories in the book and the resulting knowledge about our mindsets are the product of the many big data experiments on language that have been run in recent decades in the search for NLP. They are the proof that indeed computers are contributing to a better understanding of who we are and how we think. In any case a book that I will reread from time to time to get myself acquainted with the details that I failed to uncover during the first persual of the trove.