Linguists

Linguists study, describe and explain the human faculty of language. Modern linguistics as a field began to develop in the 18th century. Swiss linguist and semiotician Ferdinand Mongin de Saussure who laid a foundation for many significant developments both in linguistics and semiology in the 20th century is considered one of the founders of 20th-century linguistics. Czech literary, linguistic, and aesthetic theorist Jan Mukařovský and Russian–American linguist and literary theorist Roman Osipovich Jakobson are both considered pioneers of the structural analysis of language. The discipline of linguistics was further enriched in the late 20th century by the emergence of the likes of Noam Chomsky, William Labov, and Michael Halliday. While Chomsky made pivotal contributions to generative grammar, Halliday worked on systemic functional linguistics and also modern psycholinguistics. Among the prominent ladies in the field, Alexandra Yurievna Aikhenvald is one who stands out owing to her specialization in Linguistic typology and the Arawak language family. Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig is another woman linguist who had conducted extensive research on second-language temporality and tense-mood-aspect systems and interlanguage pragmatics. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous linguists.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Ferdinand de Saussure

Ferdinand de Saussure
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: November 26, 1857
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Swiss
Died: February 22, 1913

Known as the father of linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure laid down the concept of semiotics. He distinguished between parole and langue, leading later thinkers to explore structuralism. His only book was his dissertation on vowels in Indo-European languages, with the rest being collections of his lectures.

 2 Girish Karnad

Girish Karnad
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Famous As: Linguist, Author, Film director, Actor, Translator, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 19, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Indian
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 3 Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker
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Famous As: Psychologist, Linguists
Birthdate: September 18, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Canadian, American

Steven Pinker is a Canadian-American linguist, cognitive psychologist, and popular science author. He is also a supporter of the computational theory of mind and evolutionary psychology. His works have earned him awards from organizations like the National Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the American Humanist Association. In 2013, he was named in Prospect magazine's World Thinkers list.

 4 Katharine Gun

Katharine Gun
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Nationality: British
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 5 Roland Barthes

Roland Barthes
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Famous As: French Literary Theorist & Philosopher
Birthdate: November 12, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: French
Died: March 25, 1980
Born to middle-class parents in France, literary theorist and critic Roland Barthes explored Ferdinand de Saussure’s semiology and influenced fields such as structuralism. His iconic works, such as Mythologies and The Death of the Author, influenced later thinkers. He died of injuries sustained in a road accident at 64.

 6 Julius Nyerere

Julius Nyerere
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Famous As: Linguist, Politician, Translator
Birthdate: April 13, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Tanzanian
Died: October 14, 1999
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 7 Zhou Youguang

Zhou Youguang
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Famous As: Chinese economist and linguist
Birthdate: January 13, 1906
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Chinese
Died: January 14, 2017
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 8 John McWhorter

John McWhorter
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: October 6, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
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 9 Peter Abelard

Peter Abelard
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1079 AD
Nationality: French
Died: April 21, 1142

 10 Noah Webster

Noah Webster
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Famous As: Lexicographer
Birthdate: October 16, 1758
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: May 28, 1843
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 11 Jon Elia

Jon Elia
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Famous As: Linguist, Philosopher, Poet, Literary critic
Birthdate: December 14, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Pakistani
Died: November 8, 2002

 12 Leon Battista Alberti

Leon Battista Alberti
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Famous As: Architect, Linguist
Birthdate: February 18, 1404
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Italian
Died: April 20, 1472
Born into an affluent banker family of Florence, Leon Battista Alberti was rumored to be an illegitimate son of his father and a Bolognese widow. The ideal Renaissance man, he later applied mathematical precision to his paintings and architectural work. His written work on art remains invaluable.

 13 Mary Somerville

Mary Somerville
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Famous As: Mathematician, Linguist, Translator, Astronomer, Scientist
Birthdate: December 26, 1780
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British, Scottish
Died: November 28, 1872

 14 Amos Oz

Amos Oz
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Famous As: Writer, Linguist, Journalist, Novelist, Translator, Essayist, Educationist, University teacher, Children's writer
Birthdate: May 4, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Israeli
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 15 Shah Waliullah Dehlawi

Shah Waliullah Dehlawi
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Famous As: Muslim Scholar
Birthdate: February 21, 1703
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Indian
Died: August 20, 1762

 16 Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri

Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri
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Famous As: Linguist, Politician, Translator, Writer
Birthdate: February 19, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Pakistani
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 17 Jean-François Lyotard

Jean-François Lyotard
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Famous As: Philosopher, Philologist, Writer, Linguist, Epistemologist, Sociologist, Literary theorist, University teacher, Literary critic
Birthdate: August 10, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
Died: April 21, 1998

 18 J. L. Austin

J. L. Austin
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: March 26, 1911
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
Died: February 8, 1960

 19 John Amos Comenius

John Amos Comenius
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Famous As: Writer, Linguist, Presbyter, Theologian, Educationist, Philosopher, Scientist
Birthdate: March 28, 1592
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Czech
Died: November 15, 1670

 20 Harriet Martineau

Harriet Martineau
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Famous As: Linguist, Journalist, Economist, Historian, Translator, Writer, Sociologist, Essayist, Feminist
Birthdate: June 12, 1802
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: June 27, 1876

 21 Michael Halliday

Michael Halliday
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: April 13, 1925
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Australian, British
Died: April 15, 2018

 22 Wilhelm von Humboldt

Wilhelm von Humboldt
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 22, 1767
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: German
Died: April 8, 1835

 23 Roman Jakobson

Roman Jakobson
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: October 11, 1896
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Russian
Died: July 18, 1982

 24 L. L. Zamenhof

L. L. Zamenhof
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Famous As: Linguist, Ophthalmologist, Inventor, Poet, Translator, Esperantist, Physician, Writer, Bible translator
Birthdate: December 15, 1859
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Polish
Died: April 14, 1917

 25 Luce Irigaray

Luce Irigaray
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Famous As: Philosopher, Linguist, University teacher, Psychologist, Feminist
Birthdate: May 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Belgian, French

 26 Maithili Sharan Gupt

Maithili Sharan Gupt
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Famous As: Linguist, Poet, Politician, Translator
Birthdate: August 3, 1886
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Indian
Died: December 12, 1964

 27 Jean Hersholt

Jean Hersholt
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Famous As: Film actor, Actor, Linguist, Writer, Translator
Birthdate: July 12, 1886
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Danish, American
Died: June 2, 1956

 28 Anne Carson

Anne Carson
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Famous As: Linguist, Poet, Translator, Writer, University teacher, Literary critic
Birthdate: June 21, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Canadian

 29 Edward Sapir

Edward Sapir
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Famous As: Anthropologist, Linguist, Sociolinguist, University teacher, Ethnologist
Birthdate: January 26, 1884
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Polish, American
Died: February 4, 1939

 30 Samuel Ajayi Crowther

Samuel Ajayi Crowther
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: 1809 AD
Nationality: Nigerian
Died: December 31, 1891

 31 Robert Bly

Robert Bly
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Famous As: Linguist, Poet, Translator, Writer
Birthdate: December 23, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

 32 William Labov

William Labov
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: December 4, 1927
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

 33 Wilhelm Grimm

Wilhelm Grimm
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Famous As: Lexicographer, Anthropologist, Librarian, Writer, Law librarian, Children's writer, Educationist, Linguist, Specialist in literature, Germanist, Jurist, University teacher, Poet lawyer, Mythographer
Birthdate: February 24, 1786
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: German
Died: December 16, 1859

 34 Rahul Sankrityayan

Rahul Sankrityayan
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Famous As: Linguist, Author, Autobiographer, Biographer
Birthdate: April 9, 1893
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Indian
Died: April 14, 1963

 35 Charles-Valentin Alkan

Charles-Valentin Alkan
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist, Linguist, Translator, Music educator, Bible translator, Musician
Birthdate: November 30, 1813
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: French
Died: March 29, 1888

 36 S.I. Hayakawa

S.I. Hayakawa
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 18, 1906
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Canadian, American
Died: February 27, 1992

 37 Victor Klemperer

Victor Klemperer
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Famous As: Linguist, Politician, Writer, Autobiographer, Diarist, University teacher, Journalist
Birthdate: October 9, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: German
Died: February 11, 1960

 38 Benjamin Lee Whorf

Benjamin Lee Whorf
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Famous As: Anthropologist, Linguist
Birthdate: April 24, 1897
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: July 26, 1941

 39 Yasmina Reza

Yasmina Reza
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Famous As: Actor, Linguist, Translator, Playwright, Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 1, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: French

 40 Mesrop Mashtots

Mesrop Mashtots
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: 0362 AD
Nationality: Armenian
Died: February 17, 0440

 41 Leonard Bloomfield

Leonard Bloomfield
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Famous As: linguist
Birthdate: April 1, 1887
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: April 18, 1949

 42 Michel Thomas

Michel Thomas
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: February 3, 1914
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Polish
Died: January 8, 2005

 43 Dell Hymes

Dell Hymes
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Famous As: Anthropologist, Linguist, University teacher, Sociologist
Birthdate: June 7, 1927
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: November 13, 2009

 44 Max Brod

Max Brod
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Famous As: Linguist, Composer, Pianist, Novelist, Translator, Journalist, Writer, Poet lawyer
Birthdate: May 27, 1884
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Czech, Israeli
Died: December 20, 1968

 45 Valentin Inzko

Valentin Inzko
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Famous As: Linguist, Diplomat
Birthdate: May 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Austrian

 46 Vuk Stefanović Karadžić

Vuk Stefanović Karadžić
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: November 6, 1787
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Serbian
Died: February 7, 1864

 47 Saadia Gaon

Saadia Gaon
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Famous As: Rabbi
Birthdate: June 30, 0882
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Iraqi
Died: May 21, 0942

 48 Isabelo de los Reyes

Isabelo de los Reyes
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Famous As: Linguist, Journalist, Trade unionist
Birthdate: July 7, 1864
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Filipino
Died: October 10, 1938

 49 Sol Plaatje

Sol Plaatje
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: October 9, 1876
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Died: June 19, 1932

 50 Niki Karimi

Niki Karimi
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Famous As: Actor, Linguist, Film director, Translator, Screenwriter
Birthdate: November 10, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
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