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The Language Instinct

The Language Instinct is a book by Steven Pinker, published in 1995, in which he argues the case for the belief that humans are born with an innate capacity for language. In addition, he deals sympathetically with the still stronger claim of Noam Chomsky that all human language shows evidence of a universal grammar. In the final chapter Pinker dissents from the apparent skepticism shown by Chomsky that evolution by natural selection is equal to the challenge of explaining a human language instinct.

Many reviewers have judged the book to be well written and absorbing. One went so far as to describe Pinker as the only linguist he knew who was able to write readable prose.