...six of these 101 Key Ideas in Linguistics aren't ideas at all, but people. Men, in fact. None dead a hundred years now. So this part of the book is really a list of Six Key Men of Twentieth-Century Linguistics.
Now, take out a slip of paper and write down your six nominees for the Key Men of Twentieth-Century Linguistics. No cheating: no checking Horsey's book or peeking ahead in this posting. If anyone, absolutely anyone, playing fair, gets the same list as Horsey, I'll be astonished. In fact, if you manage this feat, e-mail me and I'll take you out to dinner at the next conference we're both at.
Ok, here's Horsey's list, in alphabetical order: Leonard Bloomfield, Noam Chomsky, Gottlob Frege, H. Paul Grice, Roman Jakobson, and Ferdinand de Saussure. "Sapir-Whorf hypothesis" gets an entry, but Horsey gives no biographical data on either man, nor any discussion of their intellectual contributions beyond the SWH, so they don't count.
Frege and Grice are the surprises, of course. Getting the other four is no great feat, but if you got both of these names, then you definitely have a Horsey take on things, and you get a dinner.
I got Grice, of course, just after Chomsky - it was the rest of the list I had trouble with. Frege and de Saussure seem to me more 19th than 20th century, since their major work was mostly done by 1900, I think. And what did Bloomfield and Jakobson do again?
I guess that Richard's 'take on things' is a relevance theory perspective, with Jakobson, Bloomfield and de Saussure thrown in to keep the publisher happy.
My list would keep Chomsky and Grice and add Richard Montague. I'm not sure who to add after that: Austin, perhaps, or Bertrand Russell. Or some current practitioners other than Chomsky (who has been canonized in his lifetime) - but then it's very hard to choose just a few.
Disclaimer - I wouldn't want anyone to take these comments too seriously; I'm hardly in a position to judge the importance of linguists outside pragmatics and semantics. In fact as as a pragmatist, I wouldn't claim to be a linguist at all, but that's a debate for another time. And anyway, assembling best of... lists is hardly a serious pursuit.