Noam Chomsky is an eminent American theoretical linguist, cognitive scientist and philosopher, who radically changed the arena of linguistics by assuming language as a uniquely human, biologically based cognitive capacity. He suggested that innate traits in the human brain give birth to both language and grammar. The most important figure in “cognitive revolution” and “analytic philosophy”, Chomsky’s wide-ranging influence also extends to computer science and mathematics.
Noam Chomsky became a member of the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and perfomed his services at MIT as a visiting professor. Influenced by the ideas of his mentor, Zellig Harris, Chomsky published his famous work, “Syntactic Structures”, in 1957. During that era, concepts regarding the origin of language were inspired by behaviorist ideas, for instance those of renowned Swedish psychologist B. F. Skinner, who advocated that newborn babies had a blank mind (tabula rasa) and that children acquired language by means of learning and mimickry.
Chomsky rejected that belief and argued that human beings were in fact born with the innate ability to realize the generative grammars that constitute every human language. Children make use of this innate ability to learn the languages that they are exposed to.
Chomsky established his linguistic theory in 1965 with “Aspects of the Theory of Syntax”, and in 1975, with “The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory”. Later works in cognitive science supported his claims. The influence of Chomsky on linguistics is similar to that of Charles Darwin on evolution and biology. His ideas have significant logical implications for various subjects of psychology, and also extends to cognitive science, anthropology, sociology and neurology.