…if there were a Noble Prize for linguistics or a more inclusive field, it would have been awarded long ago to Chomsky. It is no less reasonable to expect that if in the years ahead the recipient of the Noble Prize for Peace is chosen from among hose who have contributed the most and continued to be most committed to bringing about a more peaceful and better world, Chomsky's name will be high on the short list.
Chomsky is a prolific author whose principal linguistic works after Syntactic Structures include Current Issues in Linguistic Theory (1964), The Sound Pattern of English (with Morris Halle, 1968), Language and Mind (1972), Studies on Semantics in Generative Grammar (1972), Knowledge of Language (1986), Language and Thought (1993), and Architecture of Language (2000).
[Chomsky] observed that the input available to children - the language they hear around them - does not provide enough information alone for the child to learn the complex set of grammatical rules needed to produce and understand a language. Much research in the filed of first language acquisition supports this property of stimulus argument, that children do not receive enough data to acquire language simply form what they hear spoken around them.
Chomsky looked beyond the complicated sentence structures we humans regularly use (in English, “The man bit the dog” and “The dog was bitten by the man”). He proposed instead simple “deep structures” that we unconsciously transform into our daily utterances, including such hard-to-parse speech as “um” and “er,” the different ways we pronounce “ketchup” and our use of intonation.
The proofs Chomsky uses for his theories are complex, but his conclusions are readily accessible. Robinson observes that, put as simply as possible, Chomsky's view holds that "the ability to speak and understand a language cannot be explained in purely empirical terms--that is, purely by induction. When we 'learn' a language, he says, we are able to formulate and understand all sorts of sentences that we've never heard before. What we 'know,' therefore, must be something deeper--a grammar--that makes an infinite variety of sentences possible. Chomsky believes that the capacity to master grammatical structures is innate: It is genetically determined, a product of the evolutionary process, just as the organic structures of our bodies are."
Noam Chomsky’s well-known claim that linguistics is a “branch of cognitive psychology” (Chomsky 1972, 1) has generated a great deal of dissent—not from linguists or psychologists, but from philosophers. Jerrold Katz, Scott Soames, Michael Devitt, and Kim Sterelny have presented a number of arguments, all intended to show that the Chomskian subfield hypothesis is incorrect—there is a significant distinction between the disciplines of linguistics and psychology.
Noam Chomsky has made many contributions to linguistics and computer science. Among these contributions the first was his introduction of Syntactic Structures (syntactic structures) is a result of his Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory (1955, 75) (Logical structure of linguistic theory) in which he introduced the generative grammar. The theory considers that the terms (sequences of words) have a syntax that can be characterized (roughly) by a formal grammar, in particular, a grammar out of context extended by rules of transformation. Children are supposed to have an innate knowledge of grammar common to all human languages (ie which assumes that all existing language is a kind of restriction). This innate knowledge is often called universal grammar.
While it would be difficult to clearly explain Chomsky’s contributions to linguistics without going into a complex background of linguistic science and theories, suffice it to say that his ideas and other contributions have had a profound effect on the field and have strongly shaped several other disciplines as well. Mr. Chomsky has received numerous awards as well as honorary degrees for his work in linguistics – far too many to list here.
Professor Chomsky is without a doubt one of the most distinguished intellectuals in the world. His work spans the fields of philosophy, linguistics, psychology, biology, and other areas of the natural sciences, with the various strands held together by a focus on understanding the human mind in all its complexity.
Noam Chomsky is an Institute Professor and a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked for more than 50 years. Chomsky, who according to The New York Times is “arguably the most important intellectual alive,” is credited with revolutionizing the field of linguistics by introducing generative grammar and the concept of a universal grammar, which underlies all human language and is based in the innate structure of language. Beyond linguistics, his work has influenced fields such as cognitive science, philosophy, computer science, mathematics, and psychology.
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