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 fiercely reasoned,
bently written landmark of
psychological science."
—Roger Brown

Language Learnability and Language Development

This classic study is still the only comprehensive theory of child language acquisition—one that begins with the infant, proceeds step by step according to explicit learning algorithms, mirrors children's development, and ends up with adult grammatical competence. Now reprinted with new commentary by the author that updates of every section, Language Learnability and Language Development continues to be an indispensible resource in developmental psycholinguistics.

"Altogether, this book is truly rare. It makes one think about how work should be done in the field, points out many present difficulties insightfully, and is full of interesting proposals and analyses... a fascinating and distinguished original work."
—Michael Maratsos, American Scientist

"A major contribution that is sure to remain an important source for many years to come... Language acquisition theory has come of age with this work."
—Martin Braine, Journal of Child Language

"The most explicit and detailed account of the interaction between the principles of learnability and data from langauge acquisition research... Pinker's carefully reasoned book promises to be an influential work, which sets high standards for its potential critics."
—Paul Fletcher, The Times Higher Education Supplement

"The book is replete with insightful discussion on a vast array of topics. It will no doubt serve as a standard text in language acquisition for years to come, and fortunately... sets a high standard."
—Stephen Crain, Contemporary Psychology

"Pinker has painstakingly and thoughtfully worked through an enormous number of tangles, contradictions, gaps, and ambiguities that plague any systematic study of children's language and has come through with a coherent description that is theoretically motivated and empirically grounded.The conclusion is well written, intellectually aggressive, yet comfortably humble."
—Ellen Bialystok, Modern Language Journal