There are a number of famous linguists who have helped advance the study of language. These include Noam Chomsky who is known for his generative grammar theory and the idea that some aspects of language are innate.
Roman Jakobson is also a well-known linguist that changed the way we look at phonology and morphology. He is also known for his work on structuralist linguistics.
Chomsky is one of the most famous living linguists and is well known for his political activism. He has written many books and articles on politics and linguistics, and he is often a controversial speaker. He holds three university degrees, including a BA, MA, and PhD in linguistics. He began his academic career by teaching Hebrew at the University of Pennsylvania, but later he moved to Harvard to pursue a doctorate in theoretical linguistics. There he studied under the famous linguist Zeilig Harris and learned more about formal systems theory.
He developed the transformational grammar theory, which revolutionized the field of linguistics. It was based on the idea that language is a cognitive capacity. Chomsky also criticized the notion that humans are born as blank slates when it comes to language, and instead he believed that the human brain contains the necessary range of rules for creating grammar.
Donna Jo Napoli
Donna Jo Napoli has authored over 50 books for young readers. Her work for younger audiences can be broadly divided into two types: contemporary realistic novels and fairy-tale retellings. In her book Alligator Bayou, set in the Louisiana swamps of the 1860s, Napoli draws on historical facts to construct a powerful story with compelling characters and a believable plot.
Her research originally focused on theoretical syntax, specifically Italian and other Romance languages. But after motherhood and a visit to a school for the deaf, her interests turned to literacy and sign language studies.
Napoli has collaborated with others to produce bimodal bilingual e-books for hearing parents to read to their deaf children. This involves reading a book that is simultaneously conveyed in oral language and sign language on a video. She has also contributed to linguistic analysis of sign languages around the world.
One of the most famous linguists ever was Aristotle, who wrote about philosophy, ethics and politics. He also made many advances in linguistics, including the theory that language shapes thought and culture.
He was born in Stagira, Macedonia and moved to Athens to study at Plato’s Academy. There he wrote many philosophical works, which often crossed the boundaries between different disciplines.
He also wrote about physics, biology and metaphysics. His work in the natural sciences was particularly influential. Aristotle argued that human knowledge is not simply based on observation, but is also based on reasoning. He was the founder of the Lyceum, a group of students who met to discuss various issues. His theories were influential in the development of logical thinking and philosophy.
Ferdinand de Saussure
De Saussure is credited with establishing modern linguistics. His book Cours de linguistique générale, published posthumously in 1916, became the foundation for structuralism. He argued that language is a system of signs with conventional relationships between the signified and the significant. He also introduced the distinction between langue and parole, which was used by Claude Levi-Strauss in his analysis of myths.
While studying Indo-European philology, de Saussure developed his theory of Proto-Indo-European vowels. This led him to describe the unusual forms of word roots as a result of lost phonemes. Later, scholars like Jerzy Kurylowicz discovered Hittite texts that confirmed this theory, now known as the laryngeal theory. De Saussure’s work inspired a number of linguists, including Roman Jakobson. Structuralism has since spread into other disciplines, such as semiotics and literary criticism.
A key figure in twentieth-century philosophy, Grice’s work touched on a wide variety of topics including the metaphysics of personal identity, logical paradoxes, philosophical psychology, and ethics. However, his most influential writings were on the philosophy of language and conversation.
He developed a sophisticated theory of how nonliteral aspects of meaning are generated and recovered through the exploitation of general principles of rational cooperation as adapted to conversational contexts. This theory became the basis of Gricean pragmatics, a branch of linguistics.
Grice also argued against Quine’s characterization of the analytic/synthetic distinction in his classic paper “In Defense of a Dogma”. A number of philosophers have been influenced by his ideas, such as Bach 2011, Horn 2006, and LePore and Stone 2015.