Liberal hero Noam Chomsky joins University of Arizona staff

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The University of Arizona has hired noted academic and social critic hero to the political left Noam Chomsky as a new faculty member in its linguistics department.

Chomsky is joining the faculty this month and will start teaching part time in 2018. The 88-year-old, who has written over 100 books and is known worldwide for his social commentary, has been a regular guest speaker and taught courses at the school in the past.

He will be a laureate professor in the Department of Linguistics and will chair an environmental and social justice program.

Chomsky is considered a pioneer of modern linguistics and a hero to many liberals who admire his political writings. He is the subject of seven biographies and has appeared in more than 20 movies and documentaries.

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His legacy took on even more prominence in the acclaimed 2016 movie “Captain Fantastic” starring Viggo Mortensen, in which a family living off the grid in the Pacific Northwest celebrates “Noam Chomsky Day” instead of Christmas.

“Chomsky established modern linguistics. He’s an awe-inspiring thinker,” Natasha Warner, head of the Department of Linguistics, said in a news release. “The opportunity for UA linguistics students to learn from him on a regular basis is simply astounding.”

Chomsky revolutionized the linguistics field by developing the “Chomsky hierarchy,” a grammar concept. He found that all human speech is based on the natural structure of the brain.

Chomsky told the university that he fell in love with Tucson’s mountains and desert and that it has “an atmosphere that is peaceful and manageable.”