The Most Famous Linguist: Ranking the Leading Figures in the Field

Choose the linguist you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 28, 2024 07:10
Welcome to StrawPoll, where curiosity meets consensus! As lovers of language and champions of communication, we invite you to dive into the fascinating world of linguistics and join us in ranking the most famous linguists of all time! From the trailblazing theories of Noam Chomsky to the cultural insights of Edward Sapir, these brilliant minds have shaped our understanding of the human language in remarkable ways. So, fellow logophiles, it's time to have your say - vote for your favorite linguistic luminary or suggest a deserving addition to our list. Unravel the intricacies of language, explore the power of words, and make your voice heard in our captivating poll, "Who is the most famous linguist?" Let the linguistic games begin!

Who Is the Most Famous Linguist?

  1. 1
    Noam Chomsky - one of the most influential linguists of the 20th century, known for his theories on language acquisition and universal grammar.
    Noam Chomsky in other rankings
  2. 2
    Ferdinand de Saussure
    "F. Jullien Genève", maybe Frank-Henri Jullien (1882–1938) · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Ferdinand de Saussure is a Swiss linguist who is considered the father of modern linguistics, known for his work on semiotics and structuralism.
  3. 3
    Edward Sapir
    unnkown · Public domain
    Edward Sapir - an American linguist known for his work on language and culture, and for his contribution to the development of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
  4. 4
    Benjamin Lee Whorf - an American linguist who developed the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which suggests that language shapes thought and perception.
  5. 5
    Roman Jakobson is a Russian-American linguist known for his work on phonology, morphology, and syntax, as well as his contribution to the development of structural linguistics.
  6. 6
    William Labov - an American linguist known for his work on sociolinguistics, particularly for his research on African American English and the study of language change.
  7. 7
    Steven Pinker
    Steven Pinker · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Steven Pinker is a Canadian-American cognitive scientist and linguist known for his work on language acquisition, the evolution of language, and the relationship between language and thought.
    Steven Pinker in other rankings
  8. 8
    George Lakoff - an American linguist known for his work on cognitive linguistics, particularly for his research on metaphor and its role in shaping thought and language.
  9. 9
    Michael Halliday
    Tony1 · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Michael Halliday is a British linguist known for his work on systemic functional linguistics, which emphasizes the relationship between language and social context.
  10. 10
    John McWhorter
    Jasy jatere · Public domain
    John McWhorter is an American linguist known for his work on language change, pidgins and creoles, and the relationship between language and race. He is also a popular author and commentator on language and culture.

Missing your favorite linguist?


Ranking factors for famous linguist

  1. Impact on Linguistics
    The impact or contribution made by the linguist to the field of linguistics, such as developing theories or models, introducing new methodologies, etc.
  2. Publications
    The number, quality, and influence of the publications by the linguist, such as books, papers, articles, and other works.
  3. Awards and Honors
    Recognition received by the linguist from academia, such as prestigious awards, fellowships, grants, honorary degrees, etc.
  4. Teaching and Mentorship
    The quality and impact of the linguist’s teaching and mentoring, such as educating a generation of linguists and shaping the field as a whole.
  5. Public Visibility and Outreach
    The extent to which the linguist has made an impact on the general public, such as through media appearances, public lectures, or other outreach activities.
  6. Interdisciplinarity
    The degree to which the linguist has contributed to other fields of study, such as psychology, anthropology, computer science, or philosophy.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous linguist. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or linguist is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 188 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each linguist once every 24 hours. The rank of each linguist is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous linguist

Linguistics is a fascinating field that studies the structure, nature, and use of language. Throughout history, there have been many influential linguists who have made significant contributions to the field. From the father of modern linguistics, Noam Chomsky, to the founder of structural linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure, linguists have played a crucial role in shaping our understanding of language and communication. But who is the most famous linguist of all time? This is a question that has sparked debate among language enthusiasts and scholars alike. In this article, we will explore some of the most prominent candidates for the title of the most famous linguist and examine their contributions to the field.

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