Sunday, December 21, 2008

Carol Chomsky

This morning's NY Times is reporting the sad news that Carol Chomsky, retired from the faculty of Harvard's Graduate School of Education and a pioneer in the field of child language acquisition, passed away last Friday at the age of 78. Chomsky's 1969 monograph, The Acquisition of Syntax in Children from 5 to 10, remains an important psycholinguistic work today. For generations now, the focus in much research on child language development has been on the earliest (pre-school) years. Chomsky's groundbreaking research, which she began during her time as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Linguistics at Harvard, demonstrates how important the later years leading up to puberty (5+) are in syntactic development. The Times obituary article also does a nice job of sketching Chomsky's later research aimed at improving children's ability to read, an impressive example of applied linguistics in the literal sense. Image above is from here. (See also the Boston Globe obituary article referred to in the News column at right.)

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