Steven Pinker Quotes.

1. "A woman gets into a taxi in Boston's Logan airport and asks the driver, 'Can you take me somplace where I can get scrod?' He says, 'Gee, that's the first time I've heard it in the pluperfect subjunctive."
- Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

2. "Chomsky is a pencil-and-paper theoretician who wouldn't know Jabba the Hutt from the Cookie Monster,"
- Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

3. "In the speech sound wave, one word runs into the next seamlessly; there are no little silences between spoken words the way there are white spaces between written words. We simply hallucinate word boundaries when we reach the end of a stretch of sound that matches some entry in our mental dictionary."
- Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

4. "The word 'glamour' comes from the word 'grammar', and since the Chomskyan revolution the etymology has been fitting. Who could not be dazzled by the creative power of the mental grammar, by its ability to convey an infinite number of thoughts with a finite set of rules?"
- Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

5. "Chomsky's writings are 'classics' in Mark Twain's sense: something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read."
- Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

6. "Humans are so innately hardwired for language that they can no more suppress their ability to learn and use language than they can suppress the instinct to pull a hand back from a hot surface."
- Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

7. "We hear speech as a string of separate words, but unlike the tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it, a word boundary with no one to hear it has no sound. In the speech sound wave, one word runs into the next seamlessly; there are no little silences between spoken words the way there are white spaces between written words. We simply hallucinate word boundaries when we reach the edge of a stretch of sound that matches some entry in our mental dictionary. This becomes apparent when we listen to speech in a foreign language: it is impossible to tell where one word ends the next begins. The seamlessness of speech is also apparent in 'oro­nyms', strings of sound that can be carved into words in two different ways: The good can decay many ways / The good candy came anyways."
- Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

8. "The very concept of imitation is suspect to begin with (if children are general imitators, why don’t they imitate their parents’ habit of sitting quietly in airplanes?),"
- Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

9. "As far as the language instinct is concerned, the correlation between genes and languages is a coincidence. People store genes in their gonads and pass them to their children through their genitals; they store grammars in their brains and pass them to their children through their mouths. Gonads and brains are attached to each other in bodies, so when bodies move, genes and grammars move together. That is the only reason that geneticists find any correlation between the two."
- Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

10. "In nature’s talent show we are simply a species of primate with our own act, a knack for communicating information about who did what to whom by modulating the sounds we make when we exhale."
- Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

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