Language and Problems of Knowledge: The Managua Lectures

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Language and Problems of Knowledge is Noam Chomsky's most accessible statement on thenature, origins, and current concerns of the field of linguistics. He frames the lectures with fourfundamental questions: What do we know when we are able to speak and understand a language? How isthis knowledge acquired? How do we use this knowledge? What are the physical mechanisms involved inthe representation, acquisition, and use of this knowledge?Starting from basic concepts, Chomskysketches the present state of our answers to these questions and offers prospects for futureresearch. Much of the discussion revolves around our understanding of basic human nature (that weare unique in being able to produce a rich, highly articulated, and complex language on the basis ofquite rudimentary data), and it is here that Chomsky's ideas on language relate to his ideas onpolitics.The initial versions of these lectures were given at the Universidad Centroamericana inManagua, Nicaragua, in March 1986. A parallel set of lectures on contemporary political issues givenat the same time has been published by South End Press under the title On Power and Ideology: TheManagua Lectures.Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. Languageand Problems of Knowledge is sixteenth in the series Current Studies in Linguistics, edited by JayKeyser.


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The Research Program of Modern Linguistics
Principles of Language Structure I
Principles of Language Structure II
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About the author (1988)

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at MIT and the author of many influential books on linguistics, including Aspects of the Theory of Syntax and The Minimalist Program, both published by the MIT Press.