UpFront special: Noam Chomsky on the new Trump era

Al Jazeera

In a special UpFront interview, renowned US academic and public intellectual Noam Chomsky sits down with Mehdi Hasan to discuss the implications of a Donald Trump presidency, on both domestic and global issues. "He certainly is off the spectrum. There's never been anything like him," says Chomsky, an award-winning author, who is witnessing the 16th president over the course of his lifetime. "He has no background at all in any political activities. Never held office, been interested in office.


Black Lives Matter gets the global recognition it deserves

Mashable

It's a modern-day civil rights movement that has firm roots in the African-American community, but Black Lives Matter has deservedly received international recognition. Namely in Australia, where the Black Lives Matter Global Network has been awarded this year's Sydney Peace Prize, which recognises "leading global voices that promote peace, justice and nonviolence." According to the award's citation, the movement inspired people to "stand up locally, nationally and internationally" to demand respect for "human rights and equality," and remind us "of the power of authentic democracy to achieve transformative change and justice." It's the first time the prize has been awarded to a movement, not a person. "It is a tremendous honor to receive this recognition," according to organiser Patrisse Cullors in a statement.


What's universal grammar? Evidence rebuts Chomsky's theory of language learning

#artificialintelligence

This article was originally published by Scientific American. The idea that we have brains hardwired with a mental template for learning grammar -- famously espoused by Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- has dominated linguistics for almost half a century. Recently, though, cognitive scientists and linguists have abandoned Chomsky's "universal grammar" theory in droves because of new research examining many different languages -- and the way young children learn to understand and speak the tongues of their communities. That work fails to support Chomsky's assertions. The research suggests a radically different view, in which learning of a child's first language does not rely on an innate grammar module. Instead the new research shows that young children use various types of thinking that may not be specific to language at all -- such as the ability to classify the world into categories (people or objects, for instance) and to understand the relations among things. These capabilities, coupled with a unique hu man ability to grasp what others intend to communicate, allow language to happen.


Nuclear War: Donald Trump Is A Threat To The World, Noam Chomsky Says

International Business Times

Prominent scientist and philosopher Noam Chomsky said Tuesday the world faces great difficulties and possible threats from both nuclear war and climate change under President-elect Donald Trump. Chomsky, 87, stressed young people could reignite the middle class and labor movement while praising former Democratic presidential nominee Bernie Sanders. "The threats and dangers are very real. There are plenty of opportunities. And as we face them, again, particularly the younger people among you, we should never overlook the fact that the threats that we now face are the most severe that have ever arisen in human history," Chomsky told a crowd at Riverside Church in New York City.


Evidence Rebuts Chomsky's Theory of Language Learning

#artificialintelligence

The idea that we have brains hardwired with a mental template for learning grammar--famously espoused by Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology--has dominated linguistics for almost half a century. Recently, though, cognitive scientists and linguists have abandoned Chomsky's "universal grammar" theory in droves because of new research examining many different languages--and the way young children learn to understand and speak the tongues of their communities. That work fails to support Chomsky's assertions. The research suggests a radically different view, in which learning of a child's first language does not rely on an innate grammar module. Instead the new research shows that young children use various types of thinking that may not be specific to language at all--such as the ability to classify the world into categories (people or objects, for instance) and to understand the relations among things. These capabilities, coupled with a unique hu man ability to grasp what others intend to communicate, allow language to happen. The new findings indicate that if researchers truly want to understand how children, and others, learn languages, they need to look outside of Chomsky's theory for guidance.