The language is a discipline whose main objective is the scientific study of natural languages and all aspects that are linked to them as the lexicon , languages, ways of speaking and pronunciation among other basics. One of the main exhibitors and researchers in linguistics was Noam Chomsky , the most recognized theoretical linguist in the United States who managed to revolutionize this field in a significant way.
- When was he born: 12/07/1928
- Where he was born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Who is Noam Chomsky?
Noam Chomsky is an American linguist and philosopher who contributed important ideas to the concept of transformational grammar in which sentences were analyzed taking into account the deep and superficial structure of each sentence.
- Biography of Noam Chomsky
- Theories of Noam Chomsky
- Manipulation strategies
- Works by Noam Chomsky
Biography of Noam Chomsky
Noam Abraham Chomsky was born in the city of Philadelphia , United States , in 1928 , on December 7 . His father, William Chomsky and his mother Elsie Simonofsky who dedicated their lives to the study of the Hebrew language and who were originally from Eastern Europe . Together with his brother, he received an education based on the Hebrew roots of his family and was in contact with Zionist thoughts since he was very young.
He attended an experimental elementary school where he developed his own interests and talents through self-directed learning . When he was 10 years old, Noam Chomsky wrote an editorial for his school newspaper lamenting the fall of Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War and the rise of fascism in Europe. He entered to study at the University of Pennsylvania and in 1951 he managed to finish his doctorate . He later managed to enter the University of Harvard and in 1955 returned to Pennsylvania and then went on to teach at the Institute of Technology of Massachusetts.
He married Carol Schatz Doris in 1949 , and remained with her until 2008, when his wife passed away. From this marital relationship their three children were born: Aviva , Diane , and Harry . Later, in 2014, he remarried Valeria Wasserman .
The main thought of Noam Chomsky was based on the language was a mint system l specific and not just a group of cognitive ability general but also of being composed of a lot of linguistic rules , had the ability to generate different rules they made it possible to explain why speakers of a given language could understand and produce thousands of original grammatical sentences .
For him, the mental grammar that was in the subconscious was developed within the brain as a true computational system which resulted in the exposure of data using language. Also it imposed the idea of the existence of a component type gene , to which he appointed as Grammar Universal , because for him, this was the only possible way to explain the ability of a child who is not mature consciously to build capacity to understand linguistic stimuli.
He believed that it was unlikely that there was a complete science of linguistic behavior and for this reason, for him, the use of language was due to a ” creative principle ” and not a causal one.
Theories of Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky’s main theory is known as the Theory of Language Acquisition or Development . In it, he affirms that the human being is born an innate capacity to be able to speak and that the acquisitive process of language focuses only on being able to learn all the structures that are part of language and grammar . His theory is also known by the name of biolinguistics and furthermore, it is based on the fact that the mind is where language is produced and the human capacity to understand a message in any type of language.
In his theory, he affirms that there is an important element known as a Language Acquisition Device or LAD and that this makes it possible for the individual to have the knowledge of all the basic structures of language that his mother has . Hence, it is easier for children to learn the native language in infancy. It ensured that the children did not obtain learning through exposure or imitation , but rather, it was an innate knowledge about the syntactic structures of language in the native language.
His second theory is known as the Theory of Universal Grammar , where the existence of a limited group of rules and characteristics regarding the construction of the individual’s innate language is established . It establishes that there is a mental structure which is based on norms and principles related to mental representations. It defines that the basic rules of language are given unconsciously since it is the initial state in which a child is in his psychological process to learn.
Once the child has managed to receive information through the words of his mother , he manages to build a specific lexicon to which he applies characteristics of Universal Grammar, then, this enables the child to unconsciously know words from birth such as verbs , nouns and others , which can be ordered to form a correct sentence.
The main contributions of Noam Chomsky have been the following:
- He made an important contribution to modern linguistics and to the theoretical formulation and development of concepts related to transformational and generative grammar .
- He argued the existence of a universal type grammar which was made up of the genetic heritage of individuals since they, from their birth, have a pattern to which all languages can adapt.
- He created the theory of transformational and generative grammar where he states that structural analysis goes beyond a sentence.
- He made contributions to automata theories and studies related to formal languages .
- The hierarchy of Noam Chomsky in which establishes the idea of formal languages levels is an important part of the core concepts of computer science .
- He was also a great political activist .
According to Noam Chomsky there are several strategies that are used to establish the manipulation of the population through the different media. It is known that these media have a high efficiency to be able to shape the opinion that the population has on an issue and through media propaganda they even manage to create or destroy social movements, justify wars, hide the financial crises of the countries and encourage the currents ideological. For Noam Chomsky, these strategies are as follows:
- Distraction in order to divert the public’s attention from the real problems and changes of the economic and political elites.
- Creating problems and then creating solutions, a method known as “problem-reaction-solution.”
- Gradual strategy with the objective that individuals manage to accept a measure that is considered unacceptable.
- A deferral strategy which is a way to get a decision considered as unpopular to be presented as a necessary and at the same time painful measure to achieve public acceptance.
- Addressing the audience as if they were young creatures through speeches, arguments and childish characters, which causes a deception in the viewer.
- Keeping the public mired in ignorance and mediocrity so that they do not get a good understanding of the different technologies and the methods used to control them and keep them as slaves.
- Encourage the audience to be complacent with mediocrity.
- Reinforce feelings of self-blame by making the individual believe that he alone is to blame for all his misfortunes and this causes revelations against economic systems to be avoided.
- Knowing individuals better than they know themselves because the system has managed to find a way to know human beings by exercising greater control and power over them.
Apart from the ideology related to the learning of languages established in his theories , Noam Chomsky also had an ideology based on the anarchist tradition and is part of the American revolutionary union known by its acronym IWW. He is not against electoral politics but for him, all citizens should vote to remove Republicans from power.
He also supports the classical liberal variant in philosophical terms and has declared himself a fervent Zionist . With the passage of time and his ideas, he even managed to position himself as one of the most important figures in radical politics in the United States. For him, one of the most important aspects that exist is freedom of expression .
The main importance of Noam Chomsky lies in his theory about the language of the human being where he explains the innate mental structure of the individual that gives him the possibility of being able to understand and produce any type of sentence in the natural language. His ideas have had an important effect on the processes related to learning and language .
Works by Noam Chomsky
Among his main works are the following:
- Syntactic structures
- Cartesian linguistics
- Language and Mind
- Studies in Semantics in Generative Grammar
- Reflections on the language
- Rules and representations
- Modular accesses to the study of the mind
- Government in the Future
- The Fifth Freedom
- The Fear of Democracy
- The New World Order
- About Anarchism
- Failed states. The abuse of power and the attack on democracy
Some of the phrases mentioned by Noam Chomsky that have left a deep mark have been:
- The people honored in the Bible were false prophets.
- People pay for their own subordination.
- When you see your file at the FBI you realize that the intelligence agencies are extremely incompetent.
- Freedom without opportunities is a devilish gift and refusing to give opportunities is totally criminal.
- You should not look for heroes, you should look for good ideas.
- Propaganda is a democracy what coercion is to the totalitarian state.
- Rights must not be conceived, they must be conquered.
Noam Chomsky was arrested on several occasions because he was related to the movement known as ” New Left” or ” New Left “. Together with Edward Herman he was in charge of promoting a propaganda movement against the foreign policy of the United States . He retired in his 90th year of a teaching career after working for many years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Several books he wrote on the capitalist model were used by Hugo Chávez and Osama Bin Laden as a reference to explain how they viewed the government.