Harris, Zellig

(1909 – 1992) An American linguist who is best known for his work in structural linguistics and discourse analysis, and, especially, for the invention of the concept of linguistic transformationals.

In 1946-1947 he founded the first modern linguistics department in the United States at the University of Pennsylvania. Noam Chomsky was one of his students there and, according to Randy Harris in The Linguistic Wars, Harris's transformation concept was "the spark that set Chomsky alight."

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