The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  888 Words
Date:  2022-03-29

There is a universality of the language since all human societies talk and communicate effectively among themselves. The illusion that other languages are primitive or that some vernaculars are somehow inherently worse is the first myth that is debunked by the author. All societies communicate, and in broad, structural sense, communicate well through their diverse dialects. The most fundamental concepts used in the book is "'mentalese" which is a global, underlying language found in mind, linked to but different from the normally spoken dialects (Pinker, 2007, p. 67). This concept is applicable for thinking, and it is from here that the thoughts are interpreted into words and expressions of natural language. Through the concept of "mentalese," the hypothesis of linguistic determination is put to rest.

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The overall concept of the author of the book is dedicated to the mechanics of language and looks the whole idea from the structural point of view and assesses the prevailing neurological and genetic foundation of people. There is plenty of three dimensions, charts and logical formulae added with grammar and structural terms used in the book to show how the mind creates language (Pinker, 2007, p. 143). Nevertheless, the book has been written in a manner that actually gives an opportunity to skip the strictly technical stuff attached to language. The understanding acquired in this manner is shallow but creates an avenue to learn some concepts even if graphs are skipped. There is a global human nature that we all share, that we are equipped with complex mental systems where language is only one although very important; a meta-culture that facilitates communication between people of diverse cultures, from sex in private to fear of reptiles and from laws prohibiting murder to rape. All these testify that despite the existing differences, all people have the same intellectual intelligence. There is indeed a lot of information and explanation given in the book.

The natural style in which children acquire language often amaze parents who stop to fascinate how complicated speaking actually is. Through the book, readers have learned how natural children manage to learn languages and speak. They often tend to compare them with adults learning new languages. The truth is that children are better performers on many mental and physical tasks and often illustrates the logic of the whole learning process. Three-year-olds are often correct in more than 90 percent of their speeches. As a result of this, it is essential to delegate a critical period to facilitate the learning process during childhood since this is when the brain is developing, and one can learn new concepts and dialects easier (Pinker, 2007, p. 67). It is virtually arduous to learn a new language after adolescent.

There is a significant difference between rules for natural languages as spoken which are precisely followed by those that use the language and the prescriptive instructions that delineate how a speech is supposed to be. However, the author has dismissed the prescribers of the rules and guidelines linked to the natural languages and treats most of them as shibboleths. This is true because these rules are designed to make a difference between the elite and the poor in the society. On the flip side, there is a sense to the practical proposition highlighted on the book that people should learn the "standard language" as socially helpful more specifically in enhancing the standards of the written text. Nevertheless, the written component of language is not an instinct since human beings are designed to speak but not to write or read. This shows that writing itself is a craft that requires continuous practice, instruction, and periodic feedback.

Language has been taken for granted but it's more sophisticated than many think. People cannot move yet through speaking and listening transfer what is in their mind to others and ultimately influence each other's thoughts through language. This is often flexible in relation to content that is shared and shows the dazzling competences of human language (Pinker, 2007, p. 129). This indicates that indeed flexible combinatorial grammar is an essential feature of a language. An analysis of the language also highlights the numerous apparent coincidences of language and indicates that there exists some reason behind it. This can be explained by the words "mouse-infested" and "rat-infested." The plural for "mouse" is "mice" and that of "rat" is "rats." When the plural of the first two words are used, there is a likelihood of saying "mice-infested" and "rat-infested." This is because the brain searches for words in the mental database and the entries saves stems and irregular plural forms but fails to store the regular plurals.


In a nutshell, the sort of concept used in the book is not openly taught as many parents lack explicit grammar training themselves. At the same time, it is hard to assess how children can work out rules through listening closely and store some of these concepts in their minds. However, it is essential to understand how a language works. To understand that there are nouns which can be pluralized and which are different from the verbs is the root of language instinct. To the children, they don't need to figure all concepts from scratch as compared to the adult learners: some basics are acquired for free during childhood.


Pinker, S. (2007). The language instinct: How the mind creates language. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

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