The Most Famous

LINGUISTS from Germany

Icon of occuation in country

This page contains a list of the greatest German Linguists. The pantheon dataset contains 214 Linguists, 28 of which were born in Germany. This makes Germany the birth place of the most number of Linguists.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary German Linguists of all time. This list of famous German Linguists is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of German Linguists.

Photo of Max Müller

1. Max Müller (1823 - 1900)

With an HPI of 73.34, Max Müller is the most famous German Linguist.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages on wikipedia.

Friedrich Max Müller (German: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈmaks ˈmʏlɐ]; 6 December 1823 – 28 October 1900) was a British philologist and Orientalist of German origin. He was one of the founders of the Western academic disciplines of Indian studies and religious studies. Müller wrote both scholarly and popular works on the subject of Indology. The Sacred Books of the East, a 50-volume set of English translations, was prepared under his direction. He also promoted the idea of a Turanian family of languages.

Photo of Franz Bopp

2. Franz Bopp (1791 - 1867)

With an HPI of 67.64, Franz Bopp is the 2nd most famous German Linguist.  His biography has been translated into 51 different languages.

Franz Bopp (German: [ˈfʁants ˈbɔp]; 14 September 1791 – 23 October 1867) was a German linguist known for extensive and pioneering comparative work on Indo-European languages.

Photo of August Schleicher

3. August Schleicher (1821 - 1868)

With an HPI of 65.68, August Schleicher is the 3rd most famous German Linguist.  His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.

August Schleicher (German: [ˈaʊɡʊst ˈʃlaɪçɐ]; 19 February 1821 – 6 December 1868) was a German linguist. Schleicher studied the Proto-Indo-European language and devised theories concerning historical linguistics. His great work was A Compendium of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-European Languages in which he attempted to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European language. To show how Indo-European might have looked, he created a short tale, Schleicher's fable, to exemplify the reconstructed vocabulary and aspects of Indo-European society inferred from it.

Photo of Jost Gippert

4. Jost Gippert (b. 1956)

With an HPI of 63.91, Jost Gippert is the 4th most famous German Linguist.  His biography has been translated into 67 different languages.

Jost Gippert (German pronunciation: [ˈjoːst ˈgɪpʰɐt]; born 12 March 1956 in Winz-Niederwenigern, later merged to Hattingen) is a German linguist, Caucasiologist, author, and the professor for Comparative Linguistics at the Institute of Empirical Linguistics at the Goethe University of Frankfurt.

Photo of Johann Martin Schleyer

5. Johann Martin Schleyer (1831 - 1912)

With an HPI of 63.48, Johann Martin Schleyer is the 5th most famous German Linguist.  His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.

Johann Martin Schleyer (German pronunciation: [ˈjoːhan ˈmaʁtiːn ˈʃlaɪɐ]; 18 July 1831 – 16 August 1912) was a German Catholic priest who invented the constructed language Volapük. His official name was "Martin Schleyer"; he added the name "Johann" (in honor of his godfather) unofficially.

Photo of Johann Christoph Adelung

6. Johann Christoph Adelung (1732 - 1806)

With an HPI of 63.12, Johann Christoph Adelung is the 6th most famous German Linguist.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Johann Christoph Adelung (8 August 1732 – 10 September 1806) was a German grammarian and philologist.

Photo of Michel Bréal

7. Michel Bréal (1832 - 1915)

With an HPI of 61.23, Michel Bréal is the 7th most famous German Linguist.  His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.

Michel Jules Alfred Bréal (French: [miʃɛl bʁeal]; 26 March 1832 – 25 November 1915), French philologist, was born at Landau in Rhenish Palatinate. He is often identified as a founder of modern semantics.

Photo of Georg Friedrich Grotefend

8. Georg Friedrich Grotefend (1775 - 1853)

With an HPI of 61.19, Georg Friedrich Grotefend is the 8th most famous German Linguist.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Georg Friedrich Grotefend (9 June 1775 – 15 December 1853) was a German epigraphist and philologist. He is known mostly for his contributions toward the decipherment of cuneiform. Georg Friedrich Grotefend had a son, named Carl Ludwig Grotefend, who played a key role in the decipherment of the Indian Kharoshthi script on the coinage of the Indo-Greek kings, around the same time as James Prinsep, publishing Die unbekannte Schrift der Baktrischen Münzen ("The unknown script of the Bactrian coins") in 1836.

Photo of Vasily Radlov

9. Vasily Radlov (1837 - 1918)

With an HPI of 60.53, Vasily Radlov is the 9th most famous German Linguist.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Vasily Vasilievich Radlov or Friedrich Wilhelm Radloff (Russian: Васи́лий Васи́льевич Ра́длов; 17 January [O.S. 5 January] 1837 in Berlin – 12 May 1918 in Petrograd) was a German-Russian linguist, ethnographer, and archaeologist, often considered to be the founder of Turkology, the scientific study of Turkic peoples. According to Turkologist Johan Vandewalle, Radlov knew all of the Turkic languages and dialects as well as German, French, Russian, Greek, Latin, Manchu, Mongolian, Chinese, Arabic, Persian, and Hebrew.

Photo of Friedrich August Wolf

10. Friedrich August Wolf (1759 - 1824)

With an HPI of 58.81, Friedrich August Wolf is the 10th most famous German Linguist.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Friedrich August Wolf (German: [vɔlf]; 15 February 1759 – 8 August 1824) was a German classicist who is considered the founder of modern philology.


Pantheon has 33 people classified as German linguists born between 1732 and 1956. Of these 33, 2 (6.06%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living German linguists include Jost Gippert, and Christiane Nord. The most famous deceased German linguists include Max Müller, Franz Bopp, and August Schleicher. As of April 2024, 5 new German linguists have been added to Pantheon including Georg Curtius, Hermann Osthoff, and Eduard Sievers.

Living German Linguists

Go to all Rankings

Deceased German Linguists

Go to all Rankings

Newly Added German Linguists (2024)

Go to all Rankings

Overlapping Lives

Which Linguists were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Linguists since 1700.