Meta: 5 Must-Read Books on Words & Language
by Maria Popova
What single Chinese men have to do with evolution and insults from Virginia Woolf. We love, love, love words and language. And what better way to celebrate them than through the written word itself? Today, we turn to five of our favorite books on language, spanning the entire spectrum from serious science to serious entertainment value. THE STUFF OF THOUGHT Harvard’s Steven Pinker is easily the world’s most prominent and prolific psycholinguist, whose multi-faceted work draws on visual cognition, evolutionary science, developmental psychology and computational theory of mind to explain the origin and function of language. The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature reverse-engineers our relationship with language, exploring what the words we use reveal about the way we think. The book is structured into different chapters, each looking at a different tool we use to manage information flow, from naming to swearing and politeness to metaphor and euphemism. From Shakespeare to pop songs, Pinker uses a potent blend of digestible examples and empirical evidence to distill the fundamental fascination of language: What we mean when we say. Sample The Stuff of Thought with Pinker’s fantastic 2007 TED talk:

Meta: 5 Must-Read Books About Language | Brain Pickings

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