Chomsky's contribution to the study of language has, over the last four decades, been enormous, and has exerted a powerful influence throughout the other cognitive sciences. Language is, arguably, an even more distinctively human characteristic than intelligence, and the thousands of different human languages are, according to Chomsy, cut to the same general pattern. This pattern is determined, he claims, by innate structuring principles which only human beings possess. Chomsky's search for the universal in language has revitalized the question of the relationship between language and mind, and has provided a powerful new tool, generative grammar, for students of language.
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