Famous British Linguists

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 1 
Katharine Gun
(Linguist)
Katharine Gun
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Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: Taiwan, Taiwan
 2 
Mary Somerville
(Mathematician, Linguist, Translator, Astronomer, Scientist)
Mary Somerville
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Birthdate: December 26, 1780
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Jedburgh
Died: November 28, 1872

One of the two pioneering female honorary members of the Royal Astronomical Society, Mary Somerville was a 19th-century polymath and science writer. Though she specialized in math and astronomy, she was also well-versed in botany and geology. The Connection of the Physical Sciences remains her most notable work.

 3 
J. L. Austin
(Philosopher of Language Best Known for Developing the 'Theory of Speech Acts')
J. L. Austin
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Birthdate: March 26, 1911
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lancaster, England
Died: February 8, 1960

Philosopher J. L. Austin is remembered for his study on ordinary-language philosophy and is also considered a pioneer of the theory of speech acts. His lectures at Harvard were later collected in How to Do Things with Words. He died of cancer while developing a theory on sound symbolism.

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 4 
Michael Halliday
(Linguist who developed the internationally influential systemic functional linguistics (SFL) model of language)
Michael Halliday
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Birthdate: April 13, 1925
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Leeds, England
Died: April 15, 2018

British linguist Michael Halliday is best remembered for his neo-Firthian theory of language. Born to a dialectologist father and an English teacher mother, Halliday naturally developed a love for languages. An expert in Chinese language, he has conducted research on child language development and the theory of grammar.

Enoch Powell
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Birthdate: June 16, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Birmingham
Died: February 8, 1998

Enoch Powell was a British politician, linguist, classical scholar, philologist, and poet. Also a soldier, Powell served in World War II, reaching the rank of brigadier. His political career is remembered for his iconic and infamous Rivers of Blood speech, which was interpreted as a demonstration of racism. The speech became the subject of a play titled What Shadows.

 6 
William Jones
(Philologist)
William Jones
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Birthdate: September 28, 1746
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 27, 1794
 7 
Paul Grice
(Philosopher)
Paul Grice
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Birthdate: March 13, 1913
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
Died: August 28, 1988
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 8 
John Florio
(Linguist)
John Florio
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Birthdate: 1553 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 1625 AD
 9 
Henry Sweet
(Linguist, University teacher)
Henry Sweet
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Birthdate: September 15, 1845
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: April 30, 1912
 10 
John Rupert Firth
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Birthdate: June 17, 1890
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Keighley, England
Died: December 14, 1960
 11 
Arthur Waley
(Translator)
Arthur Waley
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Birthdate: August 19, 1889
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Died: June 27, 1966
Guillermo Cabrera Infante
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Birthdate: April 22, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gibara, Cuba
Died: February 21, 2005

Guillermo Cabrera Infante was a Cuban novelist, essayist, translator, and screenwriter. He initially planned to become a doctor but ditched his plans to become a writer instead. He had a successful career and eventually became the editor of the magazine Carteles and director of the Instituto del Cine. He received the Premio Cervantes in 1997. 

 13 
Joseph Wright
(Philologist, Linguist)
Joseph Wright
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Birthdate: October 31, 1855
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom
Died: February 27, 1930
 14 
Charles Kay Ogden
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Birthdate: June 1, 1889
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fleetwood, England
Died: March 20, 1957
 15 
Elizabeth Carter
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Birthdate: December 16, 1717
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Deal, England
Died: February 19, 1806
 16 
Peter Ladefoged
(Linguist)
Peter Ladefoged
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Birthdate: September 17, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sutton, England
Died: January 24, 2006
 17 
Harry Johnston
(Botanist)
Harry Johnston
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Birthdate: June 12, 1858
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kennington Park, London,England
Died: July 31, 1927

British botanist Harry Johnston is remembered for his extensive exploratory voyages to Africa. His explorations gave way to the 19th-century Scramble for Africa by colonial powers. He had also been a painter and a freelance journalist in his initial days in Africa. He also penned countless books on Africa.

Sir George Abraham Grierson
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Birthdate: January 7, 1851
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glenageary, Ireland
Died: March 9, 1941
 19 
John Chadwick
(Linguist)
John Chadwick
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Birthdate: May 21, 1920
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Thames, England
Died: November 24, 1998
 20 
Reynold A. Nicholson
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Birthdate: August 18, 1868
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Keighley, England
Died: August 27, 1945
 21 
Stephen Levinson
(Linguist, Social scientist)
Stephen Levinson
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Birthdate: December 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
 22 
Alan Gardiner
(Linguist)
Alan Gardiner
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Birthdate: March 29, 1879
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Eltham, London, England
Died: December 19, 1963
 23 
Fleeming Jenkin
(Engineer)
Fleeming Jenkin
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Birthdate: March 25, 1833
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dungeness, England
Died: June 12, 1885

After a 10-year stint as an engineer working to construct and install submarine telegraph cables, Fleeming Jenkin published reports establishing the ohm as the unit of electrical resistance. He is also remembered as the inventor of the cable car and taught at institutes such as the University of Edinburgh.

 24 
Randolph Quirk
(Member of the House of Lords Lord Temporal)
Randolph Quirk
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Birthdate: July 12, 1920
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Isle of Man
Died: December 20, 2017
 25 
Alexander John Ellis
(Mathematician)
Alexander John Ellis
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Birthdate: June 14, 1814
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hoxton, Middlesex, England
Died: October 28, 1890
 26 
Archibald Sayce
(Assyriologist)
Archibald Sayce
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Birthdate: September 25, 1846
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shirehampton, Bristol, England
Died: February 4, 1933
 27 
Peter Hebblethwaite
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Birthdate: September 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ashton-under-Lyne, England
Died: December 18, 1994
 28 
David Samuel Margoliouth
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Birthdate: October 17, 1858
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 22, 1940
David Samuel Margoliouth, an English orientalist, was briefly active as a priest in the Church of England. He was Laudian Professor of Arabic at University of Oxford from 1889 to 1937. Noted for his pioneering efforts in Islamic studies, Margoliouth wrote works on the history of Islam; these include  Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, which became standard treatises in English.
 29 
Sir Edward Howard Marsh
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Birthdate: November 18, 1872
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 13, 1953
 30 
Angus McIntosh
(Linguist)
Angus McIntosh
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Birthdate: January 10, 1914
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sunderland, England
Died: October 25, 2005
 31 
Bernard Comrie
(Linguist)
Bernard Comrie
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Birthdate: May 23, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sunderland, England
 32 
Nathan Bailey
(Lexicographer)
Nathan Bailey
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Birthplace: England
Died: June 27, 1742
 33 
Ernest Weekley
(Philologist)
Ernest Weekley
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Birthdate: April 27, 1865
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 7, 1954
 34 
Robert M. W. Dixon
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Birthdate: January 25, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gloucester, England
 35 
Thomas Hoby
(Diplomat)
Thomas Hoby
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Birthdate: 1530 AD
Birthplace: England
Died: July 13, 1566
 36 
Eve Clark
(Linguist, Professor)
Eve Clark
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Birthdate: July 26, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Camberley, United Kingdom
 37 
John of Garland
(Philologist)
John of Garland
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Birthdate: 1190 AD
Birthplace: England
Died: 1270 AD
Find out more about the greatest British Linguists, including Percy Bysshe Shelley, Susie Dent, Enoch Powell, Max Müller and Harriet Martineau.