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Charles Yang

Charles Yang teaches linguistics at Yale and is writing a book about language acquisition in children.

The mastery of the English past tense isn’t a glamorous topic, not these days. That, however, is what Words and Rules is about and, as if to sweep any doubts away, Steven Pinker assures us of the subject’s importance: the study of the past tense is ‘the only case I know in which two great systems of Western thought may be tested and compared … like ordinary scientific hypotheses’. As for his own theory of the tense, it is ‘an opening statement in the latest round of a debate on how the mind works that has raged for centuries’ – this book never runs low on hubris or hyperbole.’‘

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