Movies That Mention Linguistics

Miss Congeniality (2000) “The letter didn’t follow the normal pattern. The linguistics scheme is totally uncharacteristic.”

The DaVinci Code (2006) “There’s your problem, mate. It’s your basic linguistic coincidence.”

Star Trek (2009) “Xenolinguistics, you have no idea what that means.”  “The study of alien languages. Morphology, phonology, syntax.”

Thor (2011) “Get somebody from Linguistics down here.”

EDIT: Someone else has made a fairly comprehensive list on SUBZIN that has quotes mentioning linguistics from 177 movies and 164 TV series.

All I can say is that personally, I freaked out when I saw Star Trek and Thor because it’s still such a novelty to hear the word spoken by someone other than myself. According to this Charts site, 6,000 movies are made around the world per year, 500 of them from the US (more from Bollywood and Nollywood). That Subzin list includes 341 titles total in movie/TV history (not including Miss Congeniality or The DaVinci Code), and they mostly mention Linguistics once, in passing, for technical jargon reasons.

The Bechdel Test and the Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color in a Mainstream Movie are far more important indicators of the health of society, but this is my little corner of representation, and it honestly thrills me to be included.

I could sing a similar tune about when I saw Bend it Like Beckham. At the end of the movie, the soccer players mention Santa Clara, my hometown. I was in Virginia at the time, and I screamed in the theater. I felt famous. I felt recognized. I felt important. Representation is important.

Santa Clara Linguists are not an oppressed demographic, just a small and ignored one, but it feels so good to be recognized publicly by the larger culture, even in this small way of having my discipline briefly mentioned in high-grossing movies.

The number is generally going up:


When has your niche demographic been represented?

July 18, 2015

in Comic Books,Movies

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