NOAM CHOMSKY Biography - Writers


Biography » writers » noam chomsky


Linguist, and social and political theorist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,   
USA. The son of a distinguished Hebrew scholar, he studied at the University of   
Pennsylvania, where he was especially influenced by Zellig Harris. After taking   
his MA there (1951), he spent four years as a junior fellow at Harvard (1951?5),   
then was awarded a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania (1955). That year he   
began a long teaching career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He     
became known as one of the principal founders of transformational-generative       
grammar, a system of linguistic analysis that challenges much traditional         
linguistics and has much to do with philosophy, logic, and psycholinguistics.     
His book Syntactic Structures (1957) was credited with revolutionizing the         
discipline of linguistics. His theory also argued that the means for acquiring a   
language is innate in all humans and is triggered as soon as an infant begins to   
learn the basics of a language. Later works include Aspects of the Theory of       
Syntax (1965), Language and Mind (1968), Knowledge of Language (1986), and On     
Nature and Language (2002). Early on he began to promote his radical critique of   
American political, social, and economic policies, particularly of American       
foreign policy as effected by the Establishment and presented by the media. He     
was outspoken in his opposition to the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War, and   
later to the Iraq War. His writings on these include American Power and the New   
Mandarins (1969), Human Rights and American Foreign Policy (1978), and Imperial   
Ambitions (2005).