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Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at MIT and the author of many influential books on linguistics.

Titles by This Author

Noam Chomsky’s Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, published in 1965, was a landmark work in generative grammar that introduced certain technical innovations still drawn upon in contemporary work. The fiftieth anniversary edition of this influential book includes a new preface by the author that identifies proposals that seem to be of lasting significance, reviews changes and improvements in the formulation and implementation of basic ideas, and addresses some of the controversies that arose over the general framework.

In his foundational book, The Minimalist Program, published in 1995, Noam Chomsky offered a significant contribution to the generative tradition in linguistics. This twentieth-anniversary edition reissues this classic work with a new preface by the author.

The Minimalist Program consists of four recent essays that attempt to situate linguistic theory in the broader cognitive sciences. In these essays the minimalist approach to linguistic theory is formulated and progressively developed. Building on the theory of principles and parameters and, in particular, on principles of economy of derivation and representation, the minimalist framework takes Universal Grammar as providing a unique computational system, with derivations driven by morphological properties, to which the syntactic variation of languages is also restricted.

Since this classic work in phonology was published in 1968, there has been no other book that gives as broad a view of the subject, combining generally applicable theoretical contributions with analysis of the details of a single language. The theoretical issues raised in The Sound Pattern of English continue to be critical to current phonology, and in many instances the solutions proposed by Chomsky and Halle have yet to be improved upon.

The Managua Lectures

Language and Problems of Knowledge is Noam Chomsky's most accessible statement on the nature, origins, and current concerns of the field of linguistics. He frames the lectures with four fundamental questions: What do we know when we are able to speak and understand a language? How is this knowledge acquired? How do we use this knowledge? What are the physical mechanisms involved in the representation, acquisition, and use of this knowledge?

This monograph explores several complex questions concerning the theories of government and bounding, including, in particular, the possibility of a unified approach to these topics. Starting with the intuitive idea that certain categories in certain configurations are barriers to government and movement, it considers whether the same categories are barriers in the two instances or whether one barrier suffices to block government (a stricter and "more local" relation) while more than one barrier inhibits movement, perhaps in a graded manner.

Noam Chomsky, more than any other researcher, has radically restructured the study of human language over the past several decades. While the study of government and binding is an outgrowth of Chomsky's earlier work in transformational grammar, it represents a significant shift in focus and a new direction of investigation into the fundamentals of linguistic theory.

Beginning in the mid-fifties and emanating largely form MIT, an approach was developed to linguistic theory and to the study of the structure of particular languages that diverges in many respects from modern linguistics.