Sunday, September 18, 2011
Language and Meaning
Steven Pinker's talk on the relationship between language and human nature.
Here's a link in case the embedding didn't work:
Basically, Pinker discusses the phenomenon of mutual knowledge, its distinction from individual knowledge, and how individuals verbally relate to one another in various situations. For example, one of the main subjects he covers has to do with the appropriateness of certain behavior or language when applied in a friendly situation, vs. in a professional situation (or any other relationship mode). I found this a very interesting subject, particularly when he discusses innuendo and implied meanings, since discerning between the actual words said and the real content of those words must be a rather complicated cognitive process. I never thought something like 'awkwardness' could be discussed scientifically/linguistically, but here it is.
I also highly recommend checking out the whole RSA Animate series, as they have LOTS of great animated lectures available on all kinds of great subjects.