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Illustrating Steven Pinker:  What We Say Vs. What We Mean
On Language | April 13, 2011

Illustrating Steven Pinker: What We Say Vs. What We Mean



In this new YouTube video, Steven Pinker uses a seemingly normal sentence as a jumping off point for a provocative and deeply funny lecture about how language offers a window into human nature. (The sentence is, “If you could pass the guacamole, that would be awesome.”) The speech comes alive, literally, thanks to RSA Animate, which — with its focus on cartoon figures accompanied by thought and speech bubbles — is well suited to illustrate Pinker's talk on why what we say is often at odds with what we actually mean. Pinker, a Harvard professor and Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of The Stuff of Thought, asks, “Why are bribes, requests, seductions, solicitations, and threats so often veiled when both parties presumably know what they mean?” An aesthetically awesome and intellectually stimulating video!


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