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Steven Pinker Knows Why You Curse

i-554c5d498a7ddb341a1f824339a2ba8c-curse.jpgHis January 24 lecture in Toronto is sold out, but Steven Pinker fans can get a sneak preview of the cognitive scientist’s forthcoming book, The Stuff of Thought, and his current work on metaphor, indirect speech, and the the neuroscience of swearing, in this Toronto Star profile.

From the article:

“As it turns out, people swear in five different ways. That’s why it took me a while to figure this out,” [Pinker] says.

it’s not all prurient interest. Pinker’s work on salty language serves to get at the role of metaphor in human thought and expression. Far from being the province of high-school literature classes and lyric poems, Pinker thinks that metaphor might lie at the very heart of human communication — and that a facility for it could be buit deep into the structures of the mind.