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Noam Chomsky

1928–, educator and linguist, b. Philadelphia. Chomsky, who has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1955, developed a theory of transformational (sometimes called generative or transformational-generative) grammar that revolutionized the scientific study of language. He first set out his abstract analysis of language in his doctoral dissertation (1955) and Syntactic Structures (1957). Instead of starting with minimal sounds, as the structural linguists had done, Chomsky began with the rudimentary or primitive sentence; from this base he developed his argument that innumerable syntactic combinations can be generated by means of a complex series of rules.

According to transformational grammar, every intelligible sentence conforms not only to grammatical rules peculiar to its particular language, but also to “deep structures,” a universal grammar underlying all languages and corresponding to an innate capacity of the human brain. Chomsky and other linguists who built on his work formulated transformational rules, which transform a sentence with a given grammatical structure (e.g., “John saw Mary”) into a sentence with a different grammatical structure but the same essential meaning (“Mary was seen by John”). Transformational linguistics has been influential in psycholinguistics, particularly in the study of language acquisition by children. In the 1990s Chomsky formulated a “Minimalist Program” in an attempt to simplify the symbolic representations of the language facility.

Chomsky is a prolific author whose principal linguistic works after Syntactic Structures include Current Issues in Linguistic Theory (1964), The Sound Pattern of English (with Morris Halle, 1968), Language and Mind (1972), Studies on Semantics in Generative Grammar (1972), and Knowledge of Language (1986). In addition, he has wide-ranging political interests. He was an early and outspoken critic of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and has written extensively on many political issues from a generally left-wing point of view. Among his political writings are American Power and the New Mandarins (1969), Peace in the Middle East? (1974), Some Concepts and Consequences of the Theory of Government and Binding (1982) [this is actually a book on linguistics, not politics --www.chomsky.info], Manufacturing Consent (with E. S. Herman, 1988), Profit over People (1998), and Rogue States (2000). Chomsky’s controversial bestseller 9-11 (2002) is an analysis of the World Trade Center attack that, while denouncing the atrocity of the event, traces its origins to the actions and power of the United States, which he calls “a leading terrorist state.”

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American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein

$21.95 | 88 minutes

(2009) - Star(s)

Jewish-American Professor Norman Finkelstein vocalizes his criticism of Israeli policy and his views about what he refers to as the "Holocaust industry" in this documentary from filmmakers Nicolas Rossier and David Ridgen. The son of a&hellip…

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Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in Our Times

$17.95 | 72 minutes

(2002) - Subject

This documentary, focusing on intellectual Noam Chomsky and his post 9-11 political views, presents a personal interview along with snippets from lectures he delivered around the country in 2001 and 2002. Known more for his stance as a&hellip…

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The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

$11.95 | 88 minutes

(2011) - Host

Director Morgan Spurlock (SUPER SIZE ME, 30 DAYS) examines the increased proliferation of branding in every aspect of our lives while attempting to persuade big-name brands to sponsor his irreverent expos. Companies love to push their products&hellip…

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Encirclement

$24.95 | 160 minutes

(2008)
Starring as himself

A portrait of neo-liberal ideology and the various mechanisms used to impose its dictates throughout the world&hellip…

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Encirclement - SCREENING KIT

$350.00 | 160 minutes

(2008)

A portrait of neo-liberal ideology and the various mechanisms used to impose its dictates throughout the world&hellip…

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Encirclement - DOWNLOAD

$11.99 | 160 minutes

(2008)

A portrait of neo-liberal ideology and the various mechanisms used to impose its dictates throughout the world&hellip…

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Encirclement - ON DEMAND

$7.99 | 160 minutes

(2008)

A portrait of neo-liberal ideology and the various mechanisms used to impose its dictates throughout the world&hellip…

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