Noam Chomsky
Linguist Noam Chomsky was born on this day in 1928. We can thank him for parts of the grammar theory that is used, for example, when parsing computer languages or for natural language queries. He concentrated on human languages and on discovering a universal grammar that all of us understand innately. He's well known, too, for the Chomsky Hierarchy which describes the various types of grammars (recursive, context free, etc).
Oddly, his leftist politics have made him more famous than his contributions to linguistics and programming. And interestingly, he is one of the most cited authors in scholarly journals. So, in that spirit, I will cite Dr. Chomsky here:
"One basic element in what is loosely called "knowledge of a language", then, is knowledge of grammar, now analyzed in terms of certain structure of rules, principles and representations in the mind." -- Rules and Representations, p.91
(c) 2006, Jorge Monasterio