The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Linguists of all time. This list of famous 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 Linguists.
With an HPI of 72.38, Max Müller is the most famous 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 German-born philologist and Orientalist, who lived and studied in Britain for most of his life. He was one of the founders of the western academic disciplines of Indian studies and religious studies ('science of religion', German: Religionswissenschaft). 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.
With an HPI of 65.76, Franz Bopp is the 2nd most famous Linguist. His biography has been translated into 50 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.
With an HPI of 64.47, August Schleicher is the 3rd most famous Linguist. His biography has been translated into 40 different languages.
August Schleicher (German: [ˈaʊɡʊst ˈʃlaɪçɐ]; 19 February 1821 – 6 December 1868) was a German linguist. 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.
With an HPI of 62.26, Johann Martin Schleyer is the 4th most famous Linguist. His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.
Martin Schleyer (German: [joˈhan ˈmartiːn ˈʃlaɪ̯ər]; 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.
With an HPI of 60.29, Georg Friedrich Grotefend is the 5th most famous Linguist. His biography has been translated into 29 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.
With an HPI of 59.83, Johann Christoph Adelung is the 6th most famous Linguist. His biography has been translated into 36 different languages.
Johann Christoph Adelung (8 August 1732 – 10 September 1806) was a German grammarian and philologist.
With an HPI of 59.64, Michel Bréal is the 7th most famous Linguist. His biography has been translated into 31 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.
With an HPI of 59.34, Jost Gippert is the 8th most famous 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 professor for Comparative Linguistics at the Institute of Empirical Linguistics at the Goethe University of Frankfurt.
With an HPI of 59.01, Friedrich August Wolf is the 9th most famous 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 and is considered the founder of modern philology.
With an HPI of 58.42, Vasily Radlov is the 10th most famous Linguist. His biography has been translated into 29 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-born Russian founder of Turkology, a scientific study of Turkic peoples. According to Turkologist Johan Vandewalle; he knew all the Turkic languages and dialects as well as German, French, Russian, Greek, Latin, Manchu, Mongolian, Chinese, Arabic, Persian and Hebrew.
Pantheon has 28 people classified as linguists born between 1732 and 1956. Of these 28, 1 (3.57%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living linguists include Jost Gippert. The most famous deceased linguists include Max Müller, Franz Bopp, and August Schleicher.
1823 - 1900
1791 - 1867
1821 - 1868
1831 - 1912
1775 - 1853
1732 - 1806
1832 - 1915
1759 - 1824
1837 - 1918
1846 - 1921
1793 - 1851
1840 - 1916
Which Linguists were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Linguists since 1700.