Sunday, December 09, 2007

The stuff of thought

I was about to say that i'm the only person who would read a chapter of a book discussing the ins-and-outs of the difference between the words cut, hit and break . . . but there's the guy that wrote the book! The Stuff of Though by Steve Pinker. It's a great read so far.

The premise of his book is that we can see into the functioning of the human mind through language. As a linguist, he is looking at language to tell us about how the mind works and operates. so far it is a very interesting read. Not only do i find him to be an entertaining writer, i like the subject: words (did i mention that for like four months of my life i would go to bed late reading the thesaurus?)

Basically our thoughts are comprised of basic ideas, and words reflect combinations of these ideas.
The difference between 'hit', 'cut' and 'break' are that they do or don't include more elementary concepts like motion, contact, effects etc.

I don't know what the rest of the book is about, but i'm waiting to get to the chapter about metaphors, because Pinker takes to task one of my other favorite authors George Lakoff, who is the 'metaphor man' in the world of linguistics, and more recently in the world of political spin. look him up.
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