Steven Pinker

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Department of Psychology
Harvard University
Best American Science and Nature Writing The Blank Slate Words and Rules How the Mind Works The Language Instinct Learnability and Cognition Language Learnability and Language Development Edited Academic Volumes


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"A monumental study that sets a new standard for work on learnability."
—Ray Jackendoff

Learnability and Cognition

In tackling a learnability paradox that has challenged scholars for more than a decade—how children acquire predicate-argument structures in their language—Steven Pinker synthesizes a vast literature in the fields of linguistics and psycholinguistics, and outlines explicit theories of the mental representation, the learning, and the development of verb meaning and verb syntax. He describes a new theory that has some surprising implications for the relation between language and thought.

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

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