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Noam Chomsky’s Contribution to Linguistics

Student ‘s name Instructor ‘s name Class 16 December 2007 Noam Chomsky ‘s Contribution to Linguistics Introduction of Noam Chomsky Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia in 1928 . Noam Chomsky would have to be seen as one of the most significant and influential linguists of the twentieth century . Chomsky received his linguistic training under Leonard Bloomfield , whose behaviorist empiricism dominated American linguistics during the 1930s and 1940s , and from Zellig Harris , whose political stances during the 1950s pleased Chomsky more than his version of linguistic structuralism . In contrast to Saussure and Firth , many linguists writing in the later part of the twentieth century have been avowedly ‘mentalist ‘ or ‘cognitivist . The most famous of these is Noam Chomsky .As with Saussure and Firth , it will be impossible to do full justice to an influential and widely discussed scholar (A brief but useful evaluation of the earlier years of Chomsky ‘s contribution to linguistics , psychology and philosophy can be found in Lyons 1970 and Chomsky ‘s more recent views can be found in Chomsky 2000 .Even at the early stage , Chomsky was producing highly original work ,which diverged fundamentally Harris ‘s . In his B .A . thesis he was doing things that were , in his own words ” radically at odds with everything in structural linguistics . which is why [it and Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory] were published only 30 years later ” The thesis was “as different from structural linguistics as anything could be ” which was why “Harris never looked at it and no one in the field reacted to it ” In fact , Morphophonemics of Modern Hebrew remains “the only text in existence , that seeks to apply and evaluation measure in anything remotely like the detail .Noam Chomsky ‘s contribution to Linguistics The programme of cognitive linguistics initiated by Chomsky and his colleagues in the 1950s and 1960s proposed a distinction between ‘deep ‘and ‘surface ‘ structure in language . At least in the early stages of this programme , deep structure was assumed to have a mental reality closely related to meaning ‘ It is the deep structure underlying the actual utterance , a structure that is purely mental , that conveys the semantic content of the sentence . It was also suggested that this deep structure might be universal ‘The deep structure that expresses the meaning is common to all languages , so it is claimed , being a simple reflection of the forms of thought (Chomsky 1966 , p .35 . Those who followed Descartes ‘ characteristically assumed that mental processes are common to all normal humans and that languages may therefore differ in the manner of expression but not in the thoughts expressed (Chomsky 1966 , p .6 . This universalism is itself tied to mentalism ‘The discovery of universal principles would provide a partial explanation for the facts of particular languages , in so far as these could be shown to be simply specific instances of the general features of language structure . Beyond this , the universal features themselves might be explained on the basis of general assumptions about human mental processes or the contingencies…

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