What Our Language Habits Reveal? A review of Steven Pinker

In Steven Pinker’s “What our language habits reveal?” TED talk, the Linguist Pinker debates about our language habits but also questions the very nature of our thoughts and existence. The specific TED Talk took place in 2005 and Pinker gave some very specific points on language and how it comes into play but also discussed how he was writing a book to shed light onto a number of aspects in human nature. In most forms language is legislated by an academy but in all actuality language emerges from human minds interacting with one another. When it comes to language their will always be a visible and unstoppable change whether it come from: jargon or slang, dialect divergence, or something as simple as the language formation. These factors essentially cancel out the idea of language being legislated. Language is not necessary a creator of human nature but more so a window into it.

Dative construction is defined as a grammatical way of constructing a sentence with the subject in a dative case and the direct object in the nominative case. These types of construction extract generalizations so we can produce and understand new sentences. Another important aspect is how verbs are constructed and used. What most individuals do not realize is that verbs are the framework for a sentence. They basically are the wireframes in fact. Once you can understand which verb tense go in which construction then you can effectively communicate properly.

We communicate more than we realize because the construction in the English language is used metaphorically. We tend to transfer things or “transfer” ideas. This is because we conceive ideas as objects. We used space as a metaphor as well whether it is space, state, or time. We also do this with force whether it is physical force, interpersonal force, or intrapersonal force. Our ability to conceive a giving event in two different ways is a fundamental feature in human though. Human intelligence consists of a repertoire of concepts (objects, space, time, causation, and intention) useful in social, knowledge-intensive species and a process of metaphorical abstraction. Overall the vagueness of our language is one most important feature of our language because it is based off of interpretation.


2 thoughts on “What Our Language Habits Reveal? A review of Steven Pinker”

  1. You know what Cam. I was just thinking about this… Yesterday. I didn’t view this particular video but I may go back and watch it. I think it’s interesting how language is just a concept but it all really comes down to interpretation. What we say is not necessarily what we mean and what we mean is not necessarily how people perceive it. I’m guilty of saying things people do not interpret well or take the wrong way. I’m working on better articulating myself in social situations. However, I do have a sense of humor that thrives on slang and jargon so how I can synthesize the two without totally loosing my personality is going to be interesting. That’s for posting.


  2. This was an interesting video Cam. I have watched the same video with you. This I believe was pretty interesting as the words are so powerful. It seems like words can easily hurt somebody’s feeling, or words can easily make somebody happy.

    Oh and Dravon, you don’t hurt other people by words. You are like the holy angel guy. You don’t get upset, you are calm, and you are kind. You have good word choices as well. After all, you are copywriter 😉


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