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Steven Pinker: Language as a Window into Human Nature

Steven Pinker: Language as a Window into Human Nature

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Running Time
11 Min.
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In this 10-minute RSA animated lecture Steven Pinker takes a look at using overt language vs. innuendo. He takes a look at a few examples from the movies Fargo and `When Harry Met Sally to illustrate his point. He uses anthropologist Alan Fiske's idea of three relationship types: dominance, communality, and reciprocity. When these relationships cross over they often lead to awkwardness. Through indirectness we can help bridge the gap between these relationships. We can also use innuendo in a relationship to avoid awkwardness. If we are overt with our language we can't take it back and there is common knowledge about what is said, but if we use innuendo then there is no mutual knowledge and we can maintain the fiction of our current relationship.


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  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: S045829