Yesterday Steven Pinker gave a talk on the topics covered in his latest book, The Stuff of Thought as a part of the Arts & Ideas lecture series at JCCSF. Essentially, Pinker's argument seems to be that language reflects how humans think about time, matter, and space. Personally, I think it would be pretty strange if this were not the case. At any rate, Pinker speaks well, he is charismatic and funny, unlike many other academics in his field. He discussed grammar, swearing, and innuendo, using a slide show to polished effect. His examples were entertaining, particularly the audience-participation Stroop test that was given.
* Tattling *
The audience was very respectful and asked some thoughtful questions that were answered nicely by Pinker. He recommended the work of Deborah Tannen.
I did manage to finally finish reading Pinker's The Language Instinct just a few hours before the talk. After hearing him, my interest in reading this latest book is piqued, but I really should study up on music instead.