Activist Noam Chomsky hospitalized at his native Brazilian wife after stroke

TUCSON, Ariz. — Linguist, activist and social critic Noam Chomsky is hospitalized in his wife’s native Brazil, recovering from a serious stroke he had a year ago, she confirmed Tuesday.

Valeria Chomsky said by email that her 95-year-old husband is in a hospital in Sao Paulo, where she took him on an ambulance plane with two nurses once he could more easily travel from the United States after his stroke in June 2023. The couple has resided there since 2015.

She confirmed details of a report in Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo on Monday that said her husband had difficulty speaking and the right side of his body was affected. He receives daily visits from a neurologist, a speech therapist and a pulmonologist.

Valeria Chomsky told the newspaper that her husband follows the news and when he sees images of the war in Gaza, he raises his left arm in a gesture of lament and anger.

Noam Chomsky, seen by many around the world as a symbol of protest and independence, is an influential activist and critic who has frequently challenged U.S. policies on everything from the Middle East to Central America, as well as this which he considers to be complacent media. His books and essays are read and discussed by millions of people.

Chomsky was a longtime faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2017, he joined the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he is currently the Agnese Helms Haury Professor Laureate of Linguistics.

He transformed the study of linguistics with his landmark 1957 book, “Syntactic Structures,” in which he wrote that humans do not simply learn a language, but are born with an innate ability that explains how they can formulate and understand phrases never seen or heard before.

Valeria Chomsky also told Folha de S.Paulo that she was considering moving to an apartment near the beach in Rio de Janeiro after reading that living in a sunny location could help stroke patients.

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