Carol Chomsky – USA (1930 – 2008)

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 … (full text, Dec. 21, 2008).

Carol Chomsky (July 1, 1930 – December 19, 2008) was an American linguist and education specialist who studied language acquisition in children. Chomsky was born in Philadelphia as Carol Doris Schatz on July 1, 1930. She married Noam Chomsky in 1949, the two having known each other since she was five years old. Her mother had been a teacher at a Hebrew school where his father was the principal.[2] She was awarded a bachelor’s degree in French from the University of Pennsylvania in 1951. The couple spent some time living on a kibbutz … (full text wikipedia).

Brilliant and accomplished, Carol Chomsky taught for many years at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and wrote oft-cited articles about how young children learn to read. And yet, she possessed talents that didn’t easily fit on a curriculum vitae … (full text).

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Carol Chomsky – USA (1930 – 2008)

“She was a pretty remarkable person,” said Judith Chomsky of Philadelphia, who is married to the younger brother of Dr. Chomsky’s husband, Noam. “She was very athletic, and, until she was ill, she was fishing and water skiing and doing things people wouldn’t normally associate with her. She played the accordion. She could fix a car. She was mechanical. I mean, she was the one who fixed everything at the house” … (full text).

… According to a New Yorker profile of Chomsky, they first met when she was three and he was five; they had been married for 59 years.

… I must pay respect to the unknown (and known outside of me) contributions that her very existence has given to the common good and our (now) higher knowledge. The Chomsky family has given the world of the upper-classes a window into how to live a life of grace, solidarity and to attempt a sincere commitment to justice. And as a gift to us in the working classes, we’ve been given (for almost nothing) a frame of reference, history and a language to help guide our liberation. Mrs. and Mr. Chomsky could have (with their intellects and positions) chosen very different lives for themselves. They stayed (and stood) with us. This is inspiringly unusual … (full text).

Please keep all her family, from the littlest up to Poppa Bear Chonky himself, in your thoughts.

WHEN Carol Chomsky arrived at a kibbutz in Israel with her husband, Noam, she wanted to drive a tractor or work as a mechanic. “The kibbutz wasn’t quite ready for that,” she once said. “It was way before there were even words for women’s rights”. Carol, who went on to become a prominent linguist and educator, didn’t mind getting her hands dirty. “She could fix a car,” said a sister-in-law, Judith Chomsky. “She was mechanical. I mean, she was the one who fixed everything at the house … (full text).

… My friend Manuel put it best: May the company of all who love you surround and support you in gratitude for all you have given us. To Carol and Noam.

… in Israel. Despite her interest in becoming a mechanic or driving a tractor, at the time of the Chomsky’s stay in 1953 “the kibbutz wasn’t quite ready for that. It was way before there were even words about women’s rights” according to Judith Chomsky, who is married to the younger brother of Dr. Chomsky’s husband Noam. She earned a doctoral degree in linguistics from Harvard University in 1968, having attended the school in order to ensure that she would be able to make a living in the event that her husband would be sent to jail for his active opposition to the Vietnam War … (full text).

Read: Carol Chomsky: Creativity and Innovation in Child Language (April 1975, 18 pdf pages).

… A nationally recognized authority on the acquisition of spoken and written language, Professor Chomsky was on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education from 1972 until her retirement in 1997. In retirement, she was a frequent traveling companion of her husband, the linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky, as he delivered his public lectures. Carol Chomsky was perhaps best known for her book, “The Acquisition of Syntax in Children From 5 to 10” (M.I.T. Press), which was considered a landmark study in the field when it appeared in 1969. In it, she investigated children’s tacit, developing awareness of the grammatical structure of their native language, and their ability to use that awareness to extract meaning from increasingly complex sentences over time … (full text).

The Way They Were (and Are): Carol and Noam Chomsky, July 2001.

Find her and her publications (mixed up more or less with Noam’s search-results) on inauthor Google-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

… Carol Chomsky was perhaps best known for her book, “The Acquisition of Syntax in Children From 5 to 10” (M.I.T. Press), which was considered a landmark study in the field when it appeared in 1969. In it, she investigated children’s tacit, developing awareness of the grammatical structure of their native language, and their ability to use that awareness to extract meaning from increasingly complex sentences over time. Young children, Professor Chomsky found, could distinguish no difference in meaning between superficially similar sentences like “John promised Bill to shovel the driveway” and “John told Bill to shovel the driveway” — they could not discern who did the shoveling in each case. Older children, she found, could do so automatically, without having been formally taught … (full text).

… Professor Chomsky was more of a pragmatist than her highly theoretical husband. She did pioneering research on how children develop a tacit understanding of the meaning in complex sentences, and their ability to extract that meaning from increasingly complicated syntaxes as they grow older. The theory is similar to her husband’s theory of deep structure – the notion that all language contains a basic, “deep” structure that allows a child to discern the same essential message in sentences that say the same thing, but are constructed differently. Carol Chomsky further posited that children continue to develop their relationship with language far beyond the age of five, the age that previous linguists said a child’s syntactical understanding is complete … (full text).

links – some results with linguistic . education:

The Google download book:

Google download book-results for Linguistic and Education:

UNESCO-Education: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Education;

Noam’s website;

Education, Linguistics and Human Languages in the YAHOO directory; /

Common tongue leads to linguistic laziness, Britain’s poor record is made worse by lack of lessons in primary schools and willingness of others to speak English, 11 February 2002;

Transforming the Face of Health Professions Through Cultural & Linguistic Competence Education: The Role of the HRSA Centers of Excellence, 10/2006;

Deep structure on wikipedia;

… Browsing subject area: Linguistic minorities – Education – United States;

Wikipedia categories: American educationists; American linguists.

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