Thursday, November 18, 2004
Blogger Help : How do I make a link to another webpage?
My reading these days is "The Language Instinct", by Steven Pinker. His latest book, "The Blank Slate", I read earlier and found it fascinating. This one is more technical, and hard sledding in places. The serious and respectful presentation of Noam Chomsky's ideas confirms an impression: a moron on geopolitics, but, indeed a kind of genius in linguistics. I have no problem carrying both those ideas in my head at the same time. The dense discussion of the nature of language is leavened by Pinker's humorous and playful examples. A joke spawned by a discussion of irregular verbs: A lady gets into a cab at the Boston airport, and asks the driver, "Where can I get scrod?" The cabbie answers, "That's the first time I ever heard that in the subjunctive pluperfect."