Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Politics of Language

In this fantastic RSA animation of his lecture 'Language as a Window into Human Nature", linguist Steven Pinker explains how we unconsciously follow rules of language which change depending on the relationship between the speakers. He makes interesting parallels to the idea of altruism, dominance and subservience which I mentioned in a previous post with regard to Richard Dawkins' ideas of how morality developed in humans from pre-existing instincts. It is also interesting to consider that the basis of many forms of autism appears to be a lack of unconscious awareness of these complex rules.

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