Contributions of Avram Noam Chomsky to Linguistics, Contributions to LinguisticsJune 26, 2021
Noam Chomsky categorized natural languages according to their meanings.
He made the act of categorizing by naming special language expressions with the help of metalanguage. Grammar classes that develop from metalanguage can be subdivided in a hierarchy; this is now called the Chomsky Hierarchy. These studies of Chomsky constitute the basic building blocks of linguistics. Official languages and the Chomsky Hierarchy played an important role in the informatics phase, especially in the formation of hash theory and compiler structures. Modern researchers such as Steven Pinker have conducted their own studies of Chomsky’s methods.
With the work of Alan Turing, a structural field and formatting method in which natural languages can be reached from a mathematical point of view has been created, while machine translation has essentially been made possible.
The process of formulating natural languages mathematically, Chomsky, which led to the emergence of a new research field under the name of Computer Linguistics, was criticized and cognitively adopted by linguists after the theories in which natural languages are defined by mathematical means and Turing’s generative transformative grammar theory were proven to be complete. Chomsky, who was subjected to criticism, limited his grammatical features with so-called barriers. This and subsequent grammatical theories such as Goverment, Binding, and Minimalist Programming, though not perfectly formulated, still play a secondary role for Computer Linguistics alongside the associative LFG (Lexical Functional Grammar) and HPSG (Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar) theories.
Noam Chomsky is one of the left-leaning opponents who have been heavily criticizing America’s foreign policy since 1965. The recordings of his speeches on America’s foreign policy have been reproduced as both books and CDs. One of them is ‘Label Alternative Tentacles von Jello Biafra’.
Chomsky, together with Edward S. Herman, worked on the propaganda model that played a role in shaping the capitalist environment with news through the mass media, and that the administration and the upper class cared about them.
Contributions to linguistics
Chomsky’s first book, Syntactic Structures, is an abridged, restated summary of his doctoral work, the Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory. In this book, Chomsky introduced the theory of transformational grammar to his reader. In this theory, he used semantic expressions (words, sentence groups and sentences) and stated that the connection of these expressions in superficial texts creates an abstract depth of meaning in the texts. (The obvious distinction between superficial and semantic depth structures is no longer used in current similar theories today). When structuring rules, the formation and interpretation of expressions influence the formation of expression structures. Therefore, an unlimited number of unspoken phrases can be formed with grammatical rules and words with a definite ending. The ability to form sentences in this way is an innate ability of human beings and is a certain part of human genetic makeup. This is what Chomsky called the ‘Universal Grammar’. This is a biological and cognitive feature of us and we are not fully aware of this feature and very few of us know about it.
Chomsky’s theories have been used extensively in different fields. Some publications:
1981 Government & Bindung (GB)
1992 Minimalistisches Program (MP)
1994 Bare Phrase Structure (BPS)
2001 Derivation By Phase (DBP)
The most used and demanded theory among the current theories made by Chomsky since the early 1990s is Universal Grammar. Grammatical principles are determined in languages and categorized in the brain through parameters with an innate ability. Depending on these parameters, languages display their grammatical qualities, which are no longer additionally learned.
Chomsky also has research on children’s language learning. A child who begins to learn a language first acquires the lexical structures and morphemes of the language.
Chomsky’s approaches are fueled by multiple observations. What amazes him is the speed with which children learn languages. He later noticed that children all over the world learn languages in a similar way. Accordingly, it has been determined that children all over the world make similar mistakes while learning languages.
Chomsky’s ideas have had a profound impact on areas of research on children’s languages. It has also influenced the scientists doing research in this field, although sometimes there are contradictory opinions.
Chomsky’s theory of syntax, often referred to as generative grammar, has been discussed by scholars, especially outside the United States. Chomsky’s syntactic analyzes are highly abstract statements. These analyzes carefully explore the boundaries of grammatical and non-grammatical models in concrete languages.