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Pilar Pereira Barbosa

Published onApr 19, 2019
Pilar Pereira Barbosa

I still find it hard to believe that I had the privilege of working with Noam Chomsky. When I was an undergraduate student in Portugal, shortly after the revolution, I got acquainted with Syntactic Structures and I immediately felt its appeal, but I was far from envisaging that I would be so fortunate as to study with Noam. Beyond everything I learned from him, I recollect the respect with which he treated his students. Noam listened to what I had to say, and took it seriously. For someone raised in Portugal, where the force of authority pervaded every aspect of life including academia, this was extremely liberating. Then I realized that Noam had this attitude with everyone. He would often ask me to translate the letters he received from people in Latin America, and all of them expressed gratitude and amazement at the attention this influential professor was paying to their situation. Every single letter that was addressed to him got a reply. As much as his groundbreaking contributions to the field have shaped my own work, this attitude had a profound impression on me and has influenced me to this day.

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