View Full Version : Noam Chomsky

05-03-05, 02:37
Years ago I remember having a lecture at universty about Chomsky's linguistic ideas, but for the life of me I can't remember what was said. In light of contemporary and current ideas, where does Chomsky stand and how important are his ideas?

05-03-05, 16:18
I don't know how far syntax studies have gone, or what their concerns are these days. As far as I've heard, there was a time when it was fashionable to employ Chomsky's transformation-generative model in a thesis or talk, but that was some time in the 1970's-80's ?

To me Chomsky's importance lies in his idea of deep structure that is underlying the surface structure. While the idea of double articulation of sounds in General Linguistics was a good starting point to study the surface structure of morphemes, words, syllables, and phonemes, the properties of the sentence itself remained cryptic in its impenetrable terseness.

By hypothesizing a number of simple sentences for all naturally observed sentences and phrases, and a transformational rule such as deleting redundant parts, all grammatical and ungrammatical speech could be rationally explained.

Slips of tongue occurring at this deep level is sure proof that grammatical entities such as parts of speech, phrase structure rules, and transformational rules exist. This is equally the case for speech errors supporting the existence of phonemes, morphemes, morphophonemic rules, and phonological rules.

In short, our grammatical understanding and our ability to analyze complex, cryptic, and even erroneous sentences has been greatly deepened thanks to Chomsky. By understanding I mean "metalinguistic ability" to understand the structural properties of each sentence produced in a natural language; but it can also help in an L2 setting where a 2nd/foreign language is learned after the critical years.

More on Chomsky, see p. 6 in Linguistics: The Scientific Study of Human Language, Victoria A. Fromkin, Introduction (http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/content/BPL_Images/Content_store/Sample_chapter/0631197117%5CFromkin.pdf)

More on speech error, see Fromkin, , 1973
(Sorry, can't find text either on-line or for sale...will supply asap.)

Victoria Fromkin's studies in speech errors and linguistics general [url=http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/fromkin/Obituaries.htm]Obituary (]Slips of the Tongue[/url)

05-03-05, 21:33
You can check this (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2971&highlight=Chomsky%27s+linguistics) thread too.

05-03-05, 23:17
I can remember the name Chomsky when I did psychology. About the only thing I can remember is a 'talking' chimp was called Chimpsky after his studies on languages. Must read up on him, see what else I can remember.

08-03-05, 02:19
Thanks lexico for that detailed explanation.

08-03-05, 20:00
chomsky is the greatest intellectual of our time. my hero.