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List of Famous Linguists

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List of famous linguists, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top linguists in the world? This includes the most prominent linguists, living and dead, both in America and abroad. You might also enjoy the world's strangest languages and 30 Eastern language words English doesn't have. This list of notable linguists is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic linguists were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned linguists.

This list of great people of linguistics include Noam Chomsky, Larry Wall, J. R. R. Tolkien, and more. 

From reputable, prominent, and well known linguists to the lesser known linguists of today, these are some of the best professionals in the linguist field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous linguists ever?" and "What are the names of famous linguists?" then you're in the right place. 

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  • John Pell (1 March 1611 – 12 December 1685) was an English mathematician and political agent abroad....  more
  • Benjamin Zimmer (born 1971) is an American linguist, lexicographer, and language commentator. He is a language columnist for The Wall Street Journal and contributing editor for The Atlantic. He was...  more
  • Dr Donald Laycock (1936–1988) was an Australian linguist and anthropologist. He is best remembered for his work on the languages of Papua New Guinea....  more
  • Thomas Givon (also known as Talmy Givón) (born June 22, 1936) is a linguist and writer. He is one of the founders of "West Coast Functionalism", today classified as a usage-based model of language,...  more
  • Mark L. Johnson (born 24 May 1949 in Kansas City, Missouri) is Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon. He is known for...  more
  • Yuliya Aleksandrovna Levina (Russian: Юлия Александровна Левина, (born 2 January 1973 in Saratov) is a Russian rower who competed for Russia in four Summer Olympics. In 2000, she was a crew member...  more
  • Fredrik Lindström Fredrik Lindström (writer) (born 1963), Swedish linguist, historian, historian-linguist (in writing and in TV-documentaries of theses subjects), film director and presenter Fredrik...  more
  • Hirsi Magan Isse (Somali: Xirsi Magan Ciise, Arabic: هيرسي ماجان عيسى‎; 1935 — 2008), commonly known as Hirsi Magan, was a scholar and a leading figure of the Somali revolution. Part of Somalia's...  more
  • Marcelo Dascal (1940 in São Paulo – April 15, 2019 in Kyriat-Ono, Israel) was a Brazilian-born Israeli philosopher and linguist, who was a professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University since 1967....  more
  • Lyle Campbell

    Lyle Richard Campbell (born October 22, 1942) is an American scholar and linguist known for his studies of indigenous American languages, especially those of Central America, and on historical...  more
  • Michael Alexander Kirkwood Halliday (often M.A.K. Halliday; 13 April 1925 – 15 April 2018) was an English-born linguist who developed the internationally influential systemic functional linguistics...  more
  • William Bright (August 13, 1928 Oxnard, California – October 15, 2006 Louisville, Colorado) was an American linguist who specialized in Native American and South Asian languages and descriptive...  more
  • Nicholas Evans (born 1956 in Los Angeles, USA) is an Australian linguist and a leading expert on endangered languages.Holding a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Australian National University (ANU), he...  more
  • K. David Harrison (born 1966, Ponoka, Alberta, Canada), is a linguist, anthropologist, author and activist for the documentation and preservation of endangered languages. He is a Professor of...  more
  • David Stuart

    David S. Stuart (born 1965) is an archaeologist and epigrapher specializing in the study of ancient Mesoamerica, the area now called Mexico and Central America. His work has studied all aspects of...  more
  • Manuel Antonio Mesones Muro (16 June 1862 - 28 October 1930) was born in Ferreñafe in the Lambayeque Region of Peru. He was one of the pioneers of the exploration of north-eastern Peru and a...  more
  • Stephen Matthews (馬詩帆) is a linguist specializing in language typology, syntax and semantics. His current interests include the word order typology of Chinese; the grammar of Chinese languages,...  more
  • Daniel Leonard Everett (born 1951) is an American linguist and author best known for his study of the Amazon Basin's Pirahã people and their language. Everett is currently Trustee Professor of...  more
  • David Michael Pesetsky (born 1957) is an American linguist. He is the Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics and Head of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the...  more
  • Charles Pickering Bowditch

    Charles Pickering Bowditch was an American financier, archaeologist, cryptographer and linguistics scholar who specialized in Mayan epigraphy. Bowditch was born in Boston into the Massachusetts...  more
  • Ofelia Zepeda (born in Stanfield, Arizona, 1952) is a Tohono O'odham poet and intellectual. She is Regents' Professor of Tohono O'odham language and linguistics and Head of American Indian Studies at...  more
  • Michael Silverstein (born 1945) is the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of anthropology, linguistics, and psychology at the University of Chicago. He is a theoretician of semiotics and...  more
  • Karl V. Teeter

    Karl van Duyn Teeter (March 2, 1929 – April 20, 2007) was an American linguist known especially for his work on the Algic languages....  more
  • Dr. Hermann Moisl is a retired Senior Lecturer and Visiting Fellow in Linguistics at Newcastle University. He was educated at various institutes, including Trinity College Dublin and the University...  more