Avram Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is a renowned American theoretical linguist, cognitive scientist and philosopher. The dimensions of linguistics were unquestionably changed based on his assumption that language is a uniquely human, biologically based cognitive capacity. His theories suggested that language and grammar are created by the innate traits in the human brain. As the most prominent figure in “cognitive revolution” and “analytic philosophy”, Chomsky’s influence has also extended to computer science and mathematics.
Early Life and Education:
Avram Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 7 in 1928. Both his parents were distinguished Hebrew scholars. He entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1945, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in linguistics in 1949, a master’s degree in 1951, and later gained his doctorate in 1955.
Contributions and Achievements:
Noam Chomsky as a member of the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, performed his services at MIT as a visiting professor. In 1957, Chomsky published his famous work, “Syntactic Structures”, which was greatly influenced by the ideas of his mentor Zellig Harris. During that era, behaviorist ideas, for instance those of renowned psychologist B. F. Skinner, inspired concepts regarding the origin of language. Skinner advocated that newborn babies had a blank mind (tabula rasa) and that children acquired language by means of learning and mimicry.
Chomsky refused to accept that belief and argued that human beings were in fact born with the innate ability to realize the generative grammars that every human language is composed of. Children make use of this inborn ability to learn the languages that they are exposed to.
Chomsky established his linguistic theory in 1965 with “Aspects of the Theory of Syntax”, and in 1975, with “The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory”. Later works in cognitive science supported his claims. Chomsky’s influence on linguistics is comparable to that of Charles Darwin on evolution and biology. His ideas have significant logical implications for various subjects of psychology, and also extend to cognitive science, anthropology, sociology and neurology.
Noam Chomsky won an honorary fellowship at the Literary and Historical Society in 2005. Two years later, he received The Uppsala University Honorary Doctor’s degree in 2007, named after Carolus Linnaeus. He was honored with the President’s Medal from the Literary and Debating Society of the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2008. Chomsky has been serving as an honorary member of The International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI) since 2009.