Penn State

J. Marc Authier - Professor of French and Linguistics, Penn State University Park

Book Title: The Minimalist Program

Author: Noam Chomsky

Book Description:

Current understanding of the nature of language owes much to Noam Chomsky. His view that the language faculty is innate stems from the fact that from limited exposure to a finite set of well-formed sentences, we are able to process and produce a potentially infinite number of unfamiliar sentences. The goal is then to discover (i.e., bring to a conscious level) the mechanisms that make this possible. Chomsky's The Minimalist Program represents a major step forward in getting us closer to being able to map and model the set of principles that underlie this linguistic 'hardwiring' of the mind. As such, it has guided much of my thinking about language as a genetic endowment and has inspired me in contributing to the formulation and justification of a theory of linguistic knowledge that substantiates the idea, expressed by Beattie in 1788, that "the principles of grammar form an important, and very curious, part of the philosophy of the human mind."

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