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Richard Kayne

Published onApr 19, 2019
Richard Kayne

As I recall, having studied no linguistics at Columbia College, I approached, at the beginning of my senior year, a former, inspiring teacher of French of mine, Arnold Miller. I asked him if he knew anything about linguistics, which I had somehow come to see as appealingly falling between the mathematics that I was still majoring in and the French that I had come to love. He said no, he didn’t. But he did remember a classmate from graduate school who was married to a linguist, who I could write to. The classmate was Carol Chomsky. The letter I wrote to Noam was answered in two single-spaced pages, for which I will forever be grateful. I was to apply to the PhD programs at Texas (but I didn’t bother), at Penn (but they didn’t reply), at Harvard, and at MIT. I chose MIT, as I recall.

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