Noam Chomsky Biography
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. He was born on December 7, 1928 in Philadelphia to middle-class Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants, William Chomsky and Elsie Simonofsky.
Noam Chomsky Education
Noam entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1945. There he came in contact with Zelig Harris, a prominent linguist and the founder of the first linguistics department in the United States (at the University of Pennsylvania). In 1947 Chomsky decided to major in linguistics, and in 1949 he began his graduate studies in that field. His BA honor’s thesis Morphophonemics of Modern Hebrew (1949, revised as an MA thesis in 1951) contains several ideas that foreshadow Chomsky’s later work in generative grammar. During the years 1951 to 1955 Chomsky was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows, where he completed his PhD dissertation entitled Transformational Analysis (1955; published as part of The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory in 1975).
In 1955, he was appointed to the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he has served as professor of foreign languages and linguistics. He has also taught courses and lectured at many universities throughout the world, including Oxford University. Besides his work in the field of psycholinguistics, Chomsky is also well-known as a leftist activist and social critic. He was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War and has remained critical of media coverage of politics. Although Chomsky’s work is primarily of interest to linguistics scholars, several of his theories have had popular applications in psychology.
Chomsky introduced the Chomsky hierarchy, generative grammar and the concept of a universal grammar, which underlies all human speech and is based in the innate structure of the mind/brain. Chomsky has not only transformed the field of linguistics, his work has influenced fields such as cognitive science, philosophy, psychology, computer science, mathematics, childhood education, and anthropology.
Chomsky’s work has been highly controversial, rekindling the age-old debate over whether language exists in the mind before experience. His theories also distinguish between language competence (knowledge of rules and structure) and performance (how an individual uses language in practice).
Chomsky was a pioneer in the field of psycholinguistics, which, beginning in the 1950s, helped establish a new relationship between linguistics and psychology. While Chomsky argued that linguistics should be understood as a part of cognitive psychology, in his first book, Syntactic Structures (1957), he opposed the traditional learning theory basis of language acquisition. In doing so, his expressed a view that differed from the behaviorist view of the mind as a tabula rasa; his theories were also diametrically opposed to the verbal learning theory of B. F. Skinner, the foremost proponent of behaviorism. In Chomsky’s view, certain aspects of linguistic knowledge and ability are the product of a universal innate ability, or “language acquisition device” (LAD), that enables each normal child to construct a systematic grammar and generate phrases. This theory claims to account for the fact that children acquire language skills more rapidly than other abilities, usually mastering most of the basic rules by the age of four. As evidence that an inherent ability exists to recognize underlying syntactical relationships within a sentence, Chomsky cites the fact that children readily understand transformations of a given sentence into different forms-such as declarative and interrogative-and can easily transform sentences of their own. Applying this principle to adult mastery of language, Chomsky has devised the now-famous nonsense sentence, “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.” Although the sentence has no coherent meaning, English speakers regard it as still more nonsensical if the syntax, as well as the meaning, is deprived of underlying logic, as in “Ideas furiously green colorless sleep.” (The same idea underlies Lewis Carroll’s well-known poem “Jabberwocky” from his Alice in Wonderland.) Chomsky’s approach is also referred to as “generative” because of the idea that rules generate the seemingly infinite variety of orders and sentences existing in all languages. Chomsky argues that the underlying logic, or deep structure , of all languages is the same and that human mastery of it is genetically determined, not learned. Those aspects of language that humans have to study are termed surface structures.
He has received numerous awards, including the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences, the Helmholtz Medal and the Ben Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science.
Chomsky joined the University of Arizona (UA) in fall 2017, coming from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked since 1955 as professor of linguistics, then professor of linguistics, emeritus.
Noam Chomsky Age
He was born on December 7, 1928.
Noam Chomsky Wife
In 1949 he married the linguist Carol Schatz.
Noam Chomsky PhotosNoam ChomskyAA
Noam Chomsky Net Worth
Noam Chomsky has an estimated net worth of $5 million.
Noam Chomsky Books
He is the author of over 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism. Chomsky’s books include Current Issues in Linguistics Theory (1964), Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965), Topics in the Theory of Generative Grammar (1966), Cartesian Linguistics (1966), Language and Mind (1968), Reflections on Language (1975), Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory (1975), and Knowledge of Language (1986).
Noam Chomsky Movies
- Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? An Animated Conversation With Noam Chomsky (2013)
- The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011)
- Programming The Nation? (2011)
- The U.s. Vs. John Lennon (2006)
- Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train (2004)
- Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & The Selling Of American Empire (2004)
- Peace, Propaganda & The Promised Land: U.S. Media & The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2004)
- Noam Chomsky: Rebel Without A Pause (2004)
- The Party’s Over (2003)
- The Corporation (2003)
- Power And Terror: Noam Chomsky In Our Times (2002)
- Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky And The Media (1993)