Chomsky at 88

Few probably anticipated that the boy who was born on this day in 1928 would become one of the founding fathers of modern linguistics and one of the world’s foremost intellectuals. Noam Avram
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Few probably anticipated that the boy who was born on 7 December, 1928, would become one of the founding fathers of modern linguistics and one of the world’s foremost intellectuals. Noam Avram Chomsky’s foundational work has influenced, inspired, and divided scholars working on language for more than sixty years. A biological capacity for language Perhaps Chomsky’s most seminal contribution is the idea that there is a biological blueprint for language. This blueprint, shared by all humans, leaves room for individual variation within limits. But given ordinary exposure to speech, it is impossible for an ordinary child to not acquire at least one language. Similarly, a dry sponge spontaneously soaks up water. However, unlike a sponge, humans also come with restrictions on what a possible human language can be. Words are not just beads on a string, rather, they are hierarchically ordered. Hierarchy explains why standard English has The story about elephants is funny and not The story. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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