American linguist and scholar, Noam Chomsky, is also known as the Father of Modern Linguistics. Chomsky developed the theory of Universal Grammar, which argued that children don’t merely learn languages by mimicking the adults around them. It put forth the idea that they are genetically endowed with the knowledge of linguistics features that compose language.
Chomsky essentially gave rise to the scientific study of language. He decried the prevailing behaviorist understanding of language learning for a nativist approach, which he believed explained the speed with which humans acquired linguistic ability.
Before Chomsky, scholars like B.F.Skinner largely propounded the view that humans are born with a blank mind and acquire an understanding of language with their interactions with the environment.
When Noam Chomsky came out with scathing criticism of this espoused belief, the world awoke to a new way of looking at language. What Chomsky did differently was, he looked at language and arrived at his conclusions by examining the syntax.
He stressed the importance of assessing the underlying structure of language. Once this is done, it gets much easier to understand the human capability for language production and comprehension. Chomsky said, that although there might be a variety of languages in the world, there’s only one inventory of language features that govern all of these languages.