Essays Linguistics

25 Great Articles and Essays about Language and Linguistics

The best articles about language and linguistics


The Language of the Future by Henry Hitchings

A fascinating look at how English is mutating as it becomes the world's lingua franca.

The Interpreter by John Colapinto

Has a remote Amazonian tribe upended our understanding of language?

English is Not Normal by John McWhorter

No, English isn't uniquely vibrant or mighty or adaptable. But it really is weirder than pretty much every other language

Vowel Movement by Rob Mifsud

How Americans near the Great Lakes are radically changing the sound of English.

Writing Right by Jared Diamond

"Some written languages are a precise reflection of a people's speech, while others, like english, are a complete mess. Is this alphabetical evolution? Or the unequal application of logic to literacy?"

The Crayola-fication of the World by Aatish Bhatia

How naming things can change the way we perceive them.

Say No More by Jack Hitt

"Linguists now estimate that half of the more than 6,000 languages currently spoken in the world will become extinct by the end of this century."

Linguists are like, 'Get used to it!' by Britt Peterson*

Why a new way to quote has taken English by storm

English, Loanword Champion of the World!
by Britt Peterson

It's the number-one lender of words to other languages--but not everyone wants to borrow them

Utopian for Beginners by Joshua Foer

An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented.

Internet Linguistics

A Defense of Internet Linguistics by Tia Baheri

Once I noticed the effects of the Internet on language use around me once, I noticed it all the time...

The Grammar of Doge. Wow. by Gretchen McCulloch

Such analyse. Many grammar. Amaze.

Summoning Benedict Cumberbatch by Gretchen McCulloch

Maybe coming up with examples off the top of my head based on my intuitions as Someone Who's Watched Sherlock And Has Tumblr isn't the best way to do science.

English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet by Megan Garber

Linguists are recognizing the delightful evolution of the word "because"

That Way We're All Writing Now by Clive Thompson*

One joy of our age is watching wordplay evolve at the pace of E.coli

See also...

30 Great Essays about Words and Writing

A great articles and essays about words and writing


Tense Present by David Foster Wallace

In one of his finest essays, DFW reviews a dictionary of English usage, tackling everything from democracy and free will to racism in academia along the way.

False Fronts in the Language Wars by Steven Pinker

On bogus linguistic controversies.

Cyber-Neologoliferation by James Gleick

A guided tour through the strange world of the lexicographer.

Deaf Language

A Linguistic Big Bang by Lawrence Osborne

"For the first time in history, scholars are witnessing the birth of a language, a complex sign system being created by deaf children in Nicaragua."

Seeing at the Speed of Sound by Rachel Kolb

Surrounded by hearing people all the time, my only option has been to adapt, and lipreading is the skill that I have practiced most.

Deafness as culture by Edward Dolnick

Why some deaf activists resist being integrated into the hearing world, preferring to use sign language


What the F***?

Why we curse

A Linguist Explains the Syntax of "Fuck" by Gretchen McCulloch*

Linguistically, swear words are fucking fascinating

In Which We Get to the Bottom of Some Crazy-Ass Language by Chi Luu

Let’s face it, there is no depth to which linguists will not sink in their hunt for the oddities of language...


The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker

A lucid primer on the fascinating science of linguistics which accessibly explains the complex origins and psychology of language

The Story Of English by Robert McCrum

A comprehensive history of the world's lingua franca, in all its forms.

Content of this article

  1. Structure
  2. Outline sample
  3. How to start a linguistics essay
  4. How to write body paragraphs for a linguistics essay
  5. How to conclude a linguistics essay
  6. How to format a linguistics essay

How To Write A Linguistics Essay

Language is important and impacts as well as interacts with the world on a daily basis. Different sections and issues of language make for interesting essay topics, for example, how language forms, the meaning of language, and language content. While these examples might seem straightforward and fairly easy when read, developing a linguistic essay from them can be a challenge. Contrary to what many students might think, linguistic essays have largely taken after scientific articles and not literary theory essays. When writing linguistic papers, it is hence important to be direct, simple, clear, and concise. Students must also avoid overstatements, unnecessary qualifiers, digressions, and verbiage in their essay. Objectivity should be maintained throughout the essay, and personal opinions or experiences must be left out unless otherwise stated in the instructions. A complete linguistic essay must demonstrate or show a capacity for methodical, and clear thinking.

Linguistic essays are written for different purposes, but the main reason is to determine whether students are conversant with the basic concepts, debates, and research interests within the larger subject of linguistics. Teachers often seek to know their student`s capacity to deliver when given different scenarios and questions within linguistics. These help to determine the effectiveness of the teacher’s delivery methods as well as the students’ interest in a particular subject. An instructor can also be interested in determining how best students can incorporate or adhere to the writing standards needed in linguistic papers. As stated earlier, linguistic papers are taken after scientific papers and are hence expected to follow certain formats and include some sections that are often left out in other essays.

Lingustics Essay Structure

As with any scientific paper, three sections are included in a paper, and they include:

  • the introduction,
  • main body,
  • and the conclusion.

While the term main body is often included in structures, it should not appear as a title in an essay. However, students should only include sections or points that are in line with their main argument, point or perspective. A linguistics essay structure is hence essay, but needs to be strictly adhered to.

When called upon to write an essay, it is always advisable to begin with a draft before developing the final copy for submission or presentation. A linguistic essay draft provides one with the opportunity to consider many angles and perspectives and also gifts writers with the space of making some mistakes and correcting them as well. It will indeed take more time to prepare a draft and then prepare the final copy, but it saves students from getting lower grades as well as doing revisions and corrections later once the instructor detects some obvious mistakes.

An outline also comes in handy and in many occasions guides and helps students to be consistent with their argumentation. As already stated, an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion make up the structure of a linguistic essay, but when developing a linguistic essay outline, the main body section is often replaced by the points or supporting arguments.

Below is an example of an outline for a linguistic essay given that the essay topic is:

Developmental Language Disorders



Connection between language and reading disabilities:

  • Correlation between language and reading;
  • Language, reading and poor reading comprehension;
  • Common literacy outcomes for people with language impairments – focus is on children;
  • Speech perception in children.

Conclusion and Recommendations

How to write introduction for a linguistic essay

An introduction serves the purpose of revealing the topic or subject that the student has been asked to write about. A linguistic essay introduction is supposed to explain the main topic or subject and clearly specify the writer’s goal. Before starting the essay, it is important first to narrow down the scope and approach it from an angle that is specific. Readers need to be taken through the topic, the structure of the essay as well as the steps that need to be taken to reach the essay’s ultimate goal.

How to write body paragraphs for a linguistic essay

As already stated, the main body mainly has the supporting arguments and points which help to explain the writer’s perspective. In this section, thorough research comes in handy. Linguistics essays rely heavily on research, and it is advisable to make use of genuine sources to enhance the essay’s credibility. The points or arguments need to stand out and support the author’s main argument exhaustively.

How to write conclusion for a linguistic essay

A linguistics essay conclusion is not challenging and mainly references the introduction. The writer’s main goal must be restated. A summary of the main points or the findings of research must also be provided. The writer can also include a section specifying some of the things that can be done to improve research on the topic in the future.

How to format a linguistic essay

Use of examples is indeed essential when trying to make a point or when giving real situations which directly relate to the topic under review. Examples help to make something easier to understand and provides realistic instances of what the writer is handling. It is hence vital to use them because they also help to make the explanations easier and thus aid the readers to understand the writer’s point of view.

Research is vital to being a good linguistics essay writer. It is important to find other sources that will help one develop their main point and reference or cite them accordingly. Being scientific simply means writers need to follow APA or MLA standards or any other standards as specified by the instructor. In-text citations must be included, especially when the point included is not original or is borrowed from another article. Below are two examples to help differentiate between APA and MLA in-text citations:


According to Kiragu (2016), language can be defined as “a system that involves words as well as the symbols used by people and other animals to communicate.”

As depicted in the above example, while putting in-text citations using the APA format students are expected to use the author’ surname and year only.


According to Kiragu (16), language can be defined as “a system that involves words as well as the symbols used by people and other animals to communicate.”

Unlike the APA format where writers are asked to include the year, in MLA students are expected to include the page number from whence they got the definition or any other information.

Once all the sources have been accurately cited, it is important to include them in a bibliography at the end of the essay. Each formatting standard has its rules and writers need to familiarize themselves with each of them to avoid the possibility of using two in one document.

Finalizing Essay

Revising an essay is also vital to ensuring that an essay adheres to the formatting rules of the referencing style that the writer chose. It also gifts students with the opportunity of correcting some errors such as grammatical, punctuation, and vocabulary errors. In some instances, writers drift from their main argument, and it is only through revising an essay that such mistakes can be detected and avoided. Clarity and objectivity are indeed important to developing an essay which is specific and narrow in scope. The above can only be enhanced when revising an essay.

Plagiarism is often discouraged by instructors, but only a few students can adhere to this rule. Citations must be included, especially when a writer used other people’s work to develop their own. The style used to include citations is dependent on the instructions given, but the common ones include APA and MLA.

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