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Steven Pinker is a psychology professor at Harvard. He conducts research on language and cognition, fusing linguistics and societal atmospheres. His ideologies offer an interesting outlook on the true effect of both verbal and non-verbal communication.
Pinker explores the surprising weight of language in social situations. There is a subtle but complex system in which language can alter a social interaction. Pinker explains that language aims to convey some content and negotiate a relationship type. These types include dominance, communality and reciprocity. The three relationships interact differently with each. It is a clashing in these relationships that creates awkwardness.
To prevent uncomfortable interaction, people often take to indirect speech acts. In committing an indirect speech act, it is presumed that the listener will pick up on the real intent between the innuendo. With overt language, you can’t take it back.
Pinker makes a powerful argument for the power of language on social relationships.