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A specialist in linguistics (the study of language).

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From the Latin, "language"


  • "Some believe that a linguist is a person who speaks several languages fluently. Others believe that linguists are language experts who can help you decide whether it is better to say 'It is I' or 'It is me.' Yet it is quite possible to be a professional linguist (and an excellent one at that) without having taught a single language class, without having interpreted at the UN, and without speaking any more than one language.

    "What is linguistics, then? Fundamentally, the field is concerned with the nature of language and (linguistic) communication."
    (Adrian Akmajian, Richard Demerts, Ann Farmer, and Robert Harnish, Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication. MIT Press, 2001)

  • "The role of the linguist today goes beyond the academic description of language for its own sake, to be discussed with other academics at conferences. For one thing, sociolinguists are called upon as experts by governments in planning for education and governmental administration. In these matters, they are forced to make choices about the suitability of certain varieties of language and certain words and expressions within those varieties."
    (Rajend Mesthrie, Joan Swann, Anna Deumert, and William Leap, Introducing Sociolinguistics. Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2000)

  • "The pioneer linguist Ferdinand de Saussure criticized scholars who studied the history of a part of a language, dissociated from the whole to which it belongs. He insisted that linguists should study the complete system of a language at some point in time, and then examine how the entire system changes over time. Saussure's pupil Antoine Meillet (1926: 16) is responsible for the aphorism: 'une langue constitue un système complexe de moyens d'expression, système où tout se tient' ('a language makes up a complex system of means of expression, a system in which everything holds together'). Scientific linguistics who produce comprehensive grammars of languages naturally follow this tenet. (Proponents of formal theories, who look at isolated bits of language for some particular issue, naturally contravene this fundamental principle.)"
    (R. M. W. Dixon, Basic Linguistic Theory Volume 1: Methodology. Oxford University Press, 2009)
Pronunciation: LING-gwist
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