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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Noam Chomsky is widely regarded as a towering, if controversial, intellectual figure. Although much of that wider recognition is connected with his social and political views and analyses, his greatest impact may lie in the lesser-known field of linguistics and associated fields of psycholinguistics, including the study of language acquisition. Beginning with his work's early impact in the 1950s, which continues to this day, Chomsky may fairly be said to have revolutionized the field of linguistics and related fields, an effect that even those who stridently oppose him would have to admit.
Although Chomsky himself did not conduct empirical research in the study of language acquisition, his work has had an indelible effect on the field as he linked his general ...