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Steven Pinker: Linguistics as a Window to Understanding the Brain

19991 ratings | 1126443 views
Steven Pinker - Psychologist, Cognitive Scientist, and Linguist at Harvard University How did humans acquire language? In this lecture, best-selling author Steven Pinker introduces you to linguistics, the evolution of spoken language, and the debate over the existence of an innate universal grammar. He also explores why language is such a fundamental part of social relationships, human biology, and human evolution. Finally, Pinker touches on the wide variety of applications for linguistics, from improving how we teach reading and writing to how we interpret law, politics, and literature. The Floating University Originally released September, 2011. Additional Lectures: Michio Kaku: The Universe in a Nutshell http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NbBjNiw4tk Joel Cohen: Joel Cohen: An Introduction to Demography (Malthus Miffed: Are People the Problem?) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vr44C_G0-o
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Text Comments (1957)
Dom Garcia (6 days ago)
I watched this with the captions on, the irony around 40 minutes in made me chuckle.
Nathan Bendich (16 days ago)
When he said "written language appears to have been invented only once, by the Canaanites," I immediately paused the video and was like "wow"
Mariposa Redimida (17 days ago)
"All gone sticky", loved that, children do say the darndest things!
Matthew Clingan (18 days ago)
I'm pleased to find over 1 million view on a steven pinker video.
Kojo Khu Ra (24 days ago)
if you like linguistics; check this out!!! https://www.facebook.com/groups/208924543020249/
tolmol (26 days ago)
Tongue click.
Lemon (1 month ago)
Take my wife. Please!
Alpeshkumar Makvana (1 month ago)
Mind blowing work..
Reed Criswell (1 month ago)
Wow, this was a better use of my time, this morning, than Morning Joe...
Dávid Danos (1 month ago)
I wish he would be less audist. He highlights the audio-oral side of language at the detriment of visual-manual and tactile-manual languages like ASL, Auslan, Libras, Hand Talk, Protactile, Atgangmuurniq and other manual languages Children do not just hear and voice, but also see/feel and sign...
Learning how to see (23 days ago)
I’ve always wondered if a parent were to decide on a bilingual upbringing with a tactile-manual language such ASL as the second, if it would benefit the word acquisition or sentence construction of the other, since including gestures increases the speed of development.
John Sturgeon (1 month ago)
Write to Dr. Pinker about it. You could also try writing to Chomsky, although he'd be much less likely to respond.
Khalled Alves (1 month ago)
Thanks for making me doubt of my carreer dream 😂😂😂
Matt Harden (2 months ago)
Do something useful. Come up with a universal language.
Elijah Kelsey (2 months ago)
If the larynx has descended over time to allow us to speak, does this mean that early humans didn’t have the capability of speaking?? Or just limited capability? Great video too by the way!!!
Sri Chakra Enterprises (2 months ago)
Hello, first of all, you know what is the purpose of language? For communication, transformations,understanding, and sharing mainly.every language has atleast a simple grammar of rules on both side of speech,read,write and listen. are they all unique for all of us? No.......Not............ Never..... . Unknowingly Impossible ......... It is all about your synchoronization with that actions. And what you receive and realize and react. That may affect your general grammar rules perhapes. A clear and clean complete transrer and understanding only give the proper solutions .... Thanking You All. Wishes.........
osaka (2 months ago)
DylanNCF (2 months ago)
awesome awesome awesome video and more
Gerardo Vasquez (2 months ago)
He be working
Sean Jackson (2 months ago)
please stop lip smacking, its hurting my autism
GuitarMD Pittsburgh (2 months ago)
Pinker has improved my understanding of language bigly . . . (Thanks Donnie T.!)
th3giv3r (2 months ago)
I'm only halfway in but is there any mention of how to determine where UG comes from, evolutionarily?
Gabriel Concha (2 months ago)
Plus 1 million views, *recovers faith in humanity*
Gabriel Concha (2 months ago)
44:35 "...According to legend..." good trolling mate.
Gabriel Concha (2 months ago)
40:10 it has already been done, modern AI can easily "understand" language.
Chi Chi (3 months ago)
Linguistics IS awesome. Exchange of information that got us to where we are. BUT, interesting how the LEFT is trying to take it away from us. Oh, however, we can impart language as long as THEY agree on its content.
Nate Ellenberger (3 months ago)
I absolutely love the way Steven explains things in his lectures. He doesn't over express words that don't need to be to show his intelligence. Profess Pinker is a brilliant man and awesome teacher.
EverLearner4 (3 months ago)
Why do I think that he looks like an iphone?
Cletus Kasady (3 months ago)
Great talk. Would be better if there were no sound effects while Steven is speaking.
Eclipse of the Cortex (3 months ago)
Well... I just sat down and began to watch some YouTube for a few moments; While I smoked some weed and relaxed after work... Ended up realizing that I was 45 minutes in Absolutely engaged, 'til the mouse moved~ At which point my mind began to implode, only ever so slightly, as It felt it had only been like... 300 seconds.. gg and well deserved "Like" on the Video, and many more accolades Professor! This certainly does spark a huge interest in my mind and soul :) Will put in my due research; Just needed to say that I adored the watch!
Daniel Newhouse (3 months ago)
tartality - do not be a detail seeker
Elaina Bensen (3 months ago)
Well, we can give him a standing ovation for his expertise in Cognitive applications of language simply by the use of the word "Capacious" followed by "Dictionary", visual prompts, and his tactful timing in his use of kinetic typography. The information regarding Computer Diction Tech is a bit obsolete to say the least, as my Google Home, Alexa, or Siri very well could have typed this comment — NYT style em-dash and all.
This kind of quality videos is what I'm subscribed for I can't help but keep nodding whenever he said something XD to be able to explain such a complex concept to a layman like me is a great feat
Haggard Pillock (3 months ago)
The silly sound effects ruin this great video
slehc yo (3 months ago)
Even though he is old he is very attractive !!
somebody doesntmatter (3 months ago)
Pinkler be workin'
J. Philip Jimenez (3 months ago)
"Mick Jagger should have SUNG . . . " not SANG.
Omar Hegazy (3 months ago)
“But ‘can’t’ and ‘any’ is just as much of a double negative as ‘can’t’ and ‘no’” How is “I can’t have any satisfaction” a double negative?
trabur metaheap (3 months ago)
be workin i be
Alex G (3 months ago)
Great lecture, Dr Pinker :)
Gñoooooon Jañiiooooooon Nihaöōōooooone Gñoooooon Jañiiooooooon Nihaöōōooooone Gñoooooon Jañiiooooooon Nihaöōōooooone Gñoooooon Jañiiooooooon Nihaöōōooooone Gñoooooon Jañiiooooooon Nihaöōōooooone Gñoooooon Jañiiooooooon Nihaöōōooooone
Dylan Chapin (4 months ago)
Just Discovered Pinker! He might be my new favorite person!
Quosain Memon (4 months ago)
Sean Havlin (4 months ago)
Great video. Terrible makeup
Daniel Zuñiga (4 months ago)
year 2012: 40:00 -> why computers speak so bad... blah, year 2018: Now listen to google voice and AI voice talking... it's amazing.
Akane Tendo (4 months ago)
a true teacher!
Manny (4 months ago)
7:25, as a minority thinking about starting a degree in linguistics; this, I'm sure sold me. 😏
Delilah Hart (4 months ago)
"I be strokin'! That's what I be doin'!" So I guess that's something Clarence Carter does on a regular basis. :-)
Jeannie Devereaux (4 months ago)
Nyakallo Scheepers (4 months ago)
Lord Mutton (5 months ago)
You can't explain it, so god dun didit.
Alex Kairis (5 months ago)
I love this video, but I fear that Pinker is going to put me into the sunken place with that clicker.
Tasos Alvas (5 months ago)
Those sound effects are obnoxious.
Santiago Diazgranados (5 months ago)
He looks like an angel in heaven.
Anders Engman (5 months ago)
4:29 "And alphabetic writing, where each mark on the page stands for a vowel or a consonant, appears to have been invented only once in all of human history, by the Kanaanites, about 3,700 years ago." Well, that's one hell of an over simplification. I know the Cyrillic alphabet was based on the Latin and Greek counterparts, but there's no good explanation for the Greek and Latin, not to mention the Etruscan(!) alphabets to differ so much from one another despite the short geographical distances. You might say it has been _reinvented_ a great many times, inspired by the first Kanaanite alphabet, but that still begs the question of the runes that look objectively _nothing_ like that language and, for all I know, have developed entirely independently from the Kanaanite alphabet _or_ derive ultimately from cuneiform. Speaking of which -- it's the oldest known writing system, and it's decidedly _not_ a pictogram based language, rendering it the first written language where the individual characters refer to phonematical units rather than words. Depending on how anally you want to interpret "where each mark on the page stands for a vowel or a consonant", the Japanese (among many others) _also_ invented this type of alphabet and quite independently of the Kanaanites. I'm pretty sure most reasonably advanced cultures developed the same basic idea, but the Kanaanites get all the credit for being first, which is sort of irrelevant in the same sense that the Egyptians and Chinese both invented pictograms. Can you claim pictogram based writing systems were invented only once and definitely by the first culture to do so? Finally, the Egyptian scribes developed the same kind of system as the Kanaanites, i.e. by simplifying pictograms and having the characters invoking phonemes, but they didn't use it for inscriptions. Their civilization predates the Kanaanites by some millennia, though, and thus I don't think the latter deserve anywhere near the credit they get for an obviously ubiquitous idea.
Yousef Alfarhoud (5 months ago)
Amazing, have a question for you dr! How can I enrich the input of the children and and adults? If the answer available in another video, I would really like to watch it. Thank you very much
Mr Shah (5 months ago)
what an absolute gangster
Dan Jakubik (5 months ago)
Fascinating lecture about linguistics from a psychology professor.
Miguel Rodriguez (5 months ago)
I refuse to accept ebonics or black english as correct english. Far from perfect myself, I prefer to engage in conversation with a person that speaks in a clear, concise and eloquent manner.
Javier Gonzalez (4 months ago)
The argument, as far as I understand it, never said it is correct English. It, in fact, said it is not English at all, but a dialect which could be referred to as ebonics. The argument is not that it is better, just that it has the same level of sophistication and grammatically consistent syntax and structure. Why one is considered the proper way to speak or eloquent way to communicate, has to do with sociopolitical reasons and nothing to do with the language itself. Language is naturally in a state of constant morphological change, and what we consider correct is only so if there is a large bureaucratic, energy-intensive power mechanism that systematically and consistently regulates the natural deviances from the 'norm'.
Roger Dodsworth (5 months ago)
I like Pinker a lot but the stupid sound effects made me stop listening. Is this aimed at children?
H Agarwal (5 months ago)
He moves around too much and waves his hands too much, it's very disconcerting in a white background,
Brand Gardner (5 months ago)
lecture and silly cartoon noises don't mix
Demiurge Shadow (6 months ago)
Language is weird.
JR Rodriguez (6 months ago)
So many errors mixed with many truths that this video is of little use. For example, making fire and worship are the only qualitative differences between humans and other animals. Phonetic writing was in use in Mesopotamia long before the caananites, and while Egyptian is not intrinsically phonetic, it was routinely used that way very often. There's many true things but teasing apart what is true from wrong is not worth it. I have done graduate work in language aquisition, neurolinguistics and deep structure analysis.
ajaopify (6 months ago)
Our mini-mic tech has mercilessly introduced us to the lip smack effect.
k98killer (6 months ago)
I really hate these transitions -- every single one looks like the video is ending .__.
Mariam Sardaryan (6 months ago)
This guy makes me want to be a Harvard student.
manju yadav (6 months ago)
learned so much in an hour...phenomenal...thank you professor Pinker...my text book has your name ...and its wonderful to hear everything about linguistics from the God himself
Scoot Errr (6 months ago)
did they put the mic inside that tongue smackers mouth ? the literate sure do love their propaganda .
Andrew Vavi (6 months ago)
Language, its happening as we speak.
prdi ludi (6 months ago)
I actually stood up and applauded. Brilliant lecture!
Badá Rock (6 months ago)
This was truly awesome. It flows. Very well constructed. My first language is Portugese but I could understant everything and relate to the content. Beautiful. I'll watch it again in the future. The more I learn, the more I can teach. Thank you so much.
Dd4V (6 months ago)
great talk, but the extra noises are annoying
marc verhaegen (6 months ago)
Biological preadaptations for speech & language evolution, google "Speech originS 2018 Verhaegen PPT"
Joey Burt (6 months ago)
So Noam Chomsky discovered that sentences are composed of multiple clauses (which was already known). Not exactly knocking my socks off.
Aleksandar Dzunic (6 months ago)
Inglorious Basterd (6 months ago)
So, did Conan have sex with Dr.Ruth or not?:)
Inglorious Basterd (6 months ago)
I would love to know Steven's opinion of Trump through analysis of the his linguistic skills:)
Bob Bobby (6 months ago)
maljamin (6 months ago)
plenty cool but ... the excess makeup.. and the off-angle shots where he's looking at the other camera... make no sense.
Trent Hogan (6 months ago)
Pinker is one of my favourite Canadian's. A Montreal boy.
J Comper (6 months ago)
Learn SLOVAK - is the most simple and logical grammar structured of all the Slavic languages conlang ever. Which Latin language has the most letters of the alphabet? Slovak alphabet is an extension of the Latin alphabet used for writing the Slovak language. It has 46 letters which makes it the longest Slavic and European alphabet. The modern English alphabet is a Latin alphabet consisting of 26 letters, each having an uppercase and a lowercase form: A a. B b.
Öykü Özer (6 months ago)
uHhHH too long WHY
edipcan oktay (6 months ago)
Well, I have a question for Steven. Nerde unnecessary ki?
Richard Gates (7 months ago)
I can get no, satisfaction.
Sander Cohen (7 months ago)
The 1:30 part instantly reminded me of the song: Das Boot
Billy Willy (7 months ago)
Steven Pinker is one of only a handful of liberals that I still respect.
Tarquin The Rotter (7 months ago)
Very good, apart from the lapses into political correctness and ‘inclusivity’.
Tarquin The Rotter (7 months ago)
19:07 For fuck’s sake, Pinker, why? Now tell us you’re not selling snake oil. Incredibly dishonest. You’ve just pegged yourself as one who cannot be trusted. But you must know that. Yet you don’t care, clearly. Hmmm.
Tarquin The Rotter (7 months ago)
People tell me my command of language is bad. I say fuck them, the stupid cunts. What the fuck do they know?!
day tripper (7 months ago)
You get what you pay for: free is free.
David N (7 months ago)
Is it miraculous or is it the nonsense of evolution? Pick one Pinker.
El Mehdi RHINDI (7 months ago)
this man is astonishingly awesome!
x x (7 months ago)
27:00 Universal grammar is a very weak theory. Could just be memory access in a concrete thinking way. It does not seem to require any special or inborn "grammar" abilities, only normal human brain thinking processes.
Josiah Suarez (7 months ago)
hisses and squeaks xD
NupeAtl (7 months ago)
🤔 [7:40] 🤨 Annnnd here we go with the ebonics bullshit. Some white people spend so much time trying to science the shit out of style because they don't understand it. Black people in America DO NOT walk around saying, "He be working" seriously. The vernacular that Black people create is done so for comical effect. Clearly he needs more training.
Adil Adil (7 months ago)
hi can you allow me to translate this video to another language
Fredrik Svensson (7 months ago)
The sound effects really made the lecture a lot less enjoyable. Far too many, and far too loud.
Prasoon Joshi (7 months ago)
Even the terribly unnecessary animation (with jarring sounds) could not stop me from hanging on to every word that Prof. Pinker said. This man is wonderful.
Austin Rodriguez (7 months ago)
Where can I find the sound guy that added an hour of clicky, clacky useless sounds to justify his job? He needs to get shot in the face; his geolocation would be highly appreciated.
lohphat (7 months ago)
Almost 6 years after this talk, it’s obvious it predates the exponential improvement of speech recognition which took off in 2012. Now, computer comprehension of speech is nearly in parity with humans.
lohphat (7 months ago)
6:45 Between this scene and the next, the handheld remote changes from an Apple remote to another brand in the next scene.

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