Tribute to Noam Chomsky on the Occasion of His 90th Birthday
There is no doubt that the work of Noam Chomsky has transformed the field of language acquisition, arguably the most fundamental field of inquiry in both Linguistics and Cognitive Science; one whose main focus is the central question of how the human species came to be, with natural language as its hallmark. This work has advanced the depth and scientific foundations of the field of language acquisition by articulation of strong theory and formulation of fundamental issues, allowing tests of sharpened and significant hypotheses regarding the place of language in the structure of the mind. These hypotheses have acted as a lightning rod for research throughout the years, continuing to this day. Because of this continual research, in conjunction with continual theoretical advancements in the representation of linguistic knowledge, there is no sign of this work abating. To the contrary, the field is newly empowered to advance, as it does now, toward a more comprehensive theory of language acquisition, and a deep integration of the field of Linguistics in the broader field of Cognitive Science.
I am indebted to the inspiration of Noam Chomsky for providing theoretical precision, scientific foundations and a passion for inquiry, thus providing an enduring sense of purpose, not only to me and to my students, but to our field at large.