A linguist is someone who studies language. Linguists study every aspect of language, including vocabulary, grammar, the sound of language, and how words evolve over time.

The study of language is called linguistics, and people who study linguistics are linguists. Being a linguist isn't easy; you usually have to go to graduate school and conduct research about a specific aspect of language. There are computational linguists, forensic linguists, comparative linguists, and many other specialties. If you love language, you'd probably enjoy a career as a linguist.

Definitions of linguist

n a specialist in linguistics

linguistic scientist
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Leonard Bloomfield
United States linguist who adopted a behavioristic approach to linguistics (1887-1949)
A. Noam Chomsky
United States linguist whose theory of generative grammar redefined the field of linguistics (born 1928)
Ferdinand de Saussure
Swiss linguist and expert in historical linguistics whose lectures laid the foundations for synchronic linguistics (1857-1913)
John Rupert Firth
English linguist who contributed to linguistic semantics and to prosodic phonology and who was noted for his insistence on studying both sound and meaning in context (1890-1960)
Jakob Ludwig Karl Grimm
the older of the two Grimm brothers remembered best for their fairy stories; also author of Grimm's law describing consonant changes in Germanic languages (1785-1863)
Roman Osipovich Jakobson
United States linguist (born in Russia) noted for his description of the universals of phonology (1896-1982)
Jens Otto Harry Jespersen
Danish linguist (1860-1943)
Edward Sapir
anthropologist and linguist; studied languages of North American Indians (1884-1939)
an ancient Greek grammarian remembered for his commentary on the Iliad and Odyssey (circa 217-145 BC)
Nathaniel Bailey
English lexicographer who was the first to treat etymology consistently; his work was used as a reference by Samuel Johnson (died in 1742)
Alexander Melville Bell
a phonetician and father of Alexander Graham Bell (1819-1905)
Sir William Alexander Craigie
English lexicographer who was a joint editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (1872-1966)
Aelius Donatus
Roman grammarian whose textbook on Latin grammar was used throughout the Middle Ages (fourth century)
John Florio
English lexicographer remembered for his Italian and English dictionary (1553-1625)
Henry Watson Fowler
English lexicographer who wrote a well-known book on English usage (1858-1933)
Samuel Johnson
English writer and lexicographer (1709-1784)
Daniel Jones
English phonetician (1881-1967)
Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski
United States semanticist (born in Poland) (1879-1950)
Pierre Athanase Larousse
French lexicographer (1817-1875)
Maximilien Paul Emile Littre
French lexicographer (1801-1881)
Sir James Augustus Henry Murray
Scottish philologist and the lexicographer who shaped the Oxford English Dictionary (1837-1915)
Charles Kay Ogden
English psychologist who collaborated with I. A. Richards in designing Basic English (1889-1957)
Indian grammarian whose grammatical rules for Sanskrit are the first known example of descriptive linguistics (circa 400 BC)
Ivor Armstrong Richards
English literary critic who collaborated with C. K. Ogden and contributed to the development of Basic English (1893-1979)
Henry Sweet
English phonetician; one of the founders of modern phonetics (1845-1912)
Noah Webster
United States lexicographer (1758-1843)
Joseph Emerson Worcester
United States lexicographer who was accused of plagiarism by Noah Webster (1784-1865)
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computational linguist
someone trained in computer science and linguistics who uses computers for natural language processing
grammarian, syntactician
a linguist who specializes in the study of grammar and syntax
linguist specializing in the Hebrew language
lexicographer, lexicologist
a compiler or writer of a dictionary; a student of the lexical component of language
someone trained in neuroscience and linguistics who studies brain processes during language production and reception
a specialist in phonetics
a specialist in phonology
a person (usually a psychologist but sometimes a linguist) who studies the psychological basis of human language
semanticist, semiotician
a specialist in the study of meaning
a linguist who studies the social and cultural factors that influence linguistic communication
a lexicographer who specializes in etymology
a lexicographer of new words and expressions
a practitioner of orthoepy (especially one of the 17th or 18th century scholars who proposed to reform English spelling so it would reflect pronunciation more closely)
a student of synonyms
someone who represents the sounds of speech in phonetic notation
Type of:
a person with advanced knowledge of one or more sciences

n a person who speaks more than one language

Joseph Greenberg
United States linguist who studied the historical relations among 5,000 languages (1916-2001)
Zellig Sabbatai Harris
United States linguist (born in Ukraine) who developed mathematical linguistics and interpreted speech and writing in a social context (1909-1992)
bilingual, bilingualist
a person who speaks two languages fluently
transcriber, translator
a person who translates written messages from one language to another
Type of:
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
a human being

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