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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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  • Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes called "the father of modern...  more

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  • Pier Paolo Pasolini (Italian: [ˌpjɛr ˈpaːolo pazoˈliːni]; 5 March 1922 – 2 November 1975) was an Italian film director, poet, writer, and intellectual, who also distinguished himself as an actor,...  more

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  • John Anthony Burgess Wilson, (; 25 February 1917 – 22 November 1993), who published under the name Anthony Burgess, was an English writer and composer. Although Burgess was predominantly a comic...  more

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  • Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Al-Bīrūnī (Persian: ابوریحان محمد بن احمد البیرونی‎ Abū Rayḥān Bērōnī; New Persian: Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī) (973–after 1050), known as Biruni (Persian: بیرونی‎) or Al-Biruni...  more
  • Larry Wall (born September 27, 1954) is an American computer programmer and author. He created the Perl programming language. ...  more
  • Desiderius Erasmus

    Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; 28 October 1466 – 12 July 1536), known as Erasmus or Erasmus of Rotterdam, was a Dutch philosopher and Christian humanist who is widely considered to have been the...  more

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  • Leon Battista Alberti was an Italian humanist author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher and cryptographer; he epitomised the Renaissance Man. Although he is often characterized...  more
  • Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popular science author. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at...  more
  • John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (; 3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic, who is best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit,...  more

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  • Edward Sapir (; January 26, 1884 – February 4, 1939) was an American anthropologist-linguist, who is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in the early development of the...  more
  • Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin (; Russian: Михаи́л Миха́йлович Бахти́н, pronounced [mʲɪxɐˈil mʲɪˈxajləvʲɪtɕ bɐxˈtʲin]; 16 November [O.S. 4 November] 1895 – 7 March 1975) was a Russian philosopher,...  more
  • Antonio Francesco Gramsci (UK: , US: , Italian: [anˈtɔːnjo franˈtʃesko ˈɡramʃi] (listen); 22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian Marxist philosopher and communist politician. He wrote on...  more
  • James Owen Dorsey was an American ethnologist, linguist, and Episcopalian missionary in the Dakota Territory, who contributed to the description of the Ponca, Omaha, and other southern Siouan...  more
  • Pāṇini

    Pāṇini (पाणिनि) (pronounced [paːɳɪnɪ], fl. 4th century BCE; older research mentions "6th to 5th century BCE") was an ancient Sanskrit philologist, grammarian, and a revered scholar in ancient India....  more
  • Not to be confused with the English naturalist Leonard Blomefield (1800–1893)Leonard Bloomfield (April 1, 1887 – April 18, 1949) was an American linguist who led the development of structural...  more
  • Sibawayh

    Abū Bishr ʿAmr ibn ʿUthmān ibn Qanbar Al-Baṣrī (c. 760–796, Arabic: أبو بشر عمرو بن عثمان بن قنبر البصري‎), known as Sībawayh or Sībawayhi (سيبويه, pronounced Sibuyah in Persian, and Sībawayh in the...  more
  • Alexander Graham Bell ('Graham' pronounced ) (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was a Scottish-born American inventor, scientist, and engineer who is credited with inventing and patenting the first...  more

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  • Bernard Comrie

    Bernard S. Comrie, (; born 23 May 1947) is a British-born linguist. Comrie is a specialist in linguistic typology and linguistic universals, and on Caucasian languages....  more
  • Carol Chomsky is a professor....  more
  • John Hamilton McWhorter V (; born October 6, 1965) is an American academic and linguist who is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he teaches...  more
  • Karl Brugmann

    Karl Brugmann (16 March 1849 – 29 June 1919) was a German linguist. He is noted for his work in Indo-European linguistics....  more
  • William Stanley Merwin (September 30, 1927 – March 15, 2019) was an American poet who wrote over fifty books of poetry and prose, and produced many works in translation. During the 1960s anti-war...  more
  • Peter Nielsen Ladefoged was a British linguist and phonetician who travelled the world to document the distinct sounds of endangered languages and pioneered ways to collect and study data. He was...  more
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt (, also US: , UK: , German: [ˈvɪlhɛlm fɔn ˈhʊmbɔlt]; 22 June 1767 – 8 April 1835) was a Prussian philosopher, linguist, government functionary,...  more
  • Jens Otto Harry Jespersen (Danish: [ɒtˢo ˈjɛspɐsn̩]; 16 July 1860 – 30 April 1943) was a Danish linguist who specialized in the grammar of the English language....  more