Tap to Read ➤

An Overview of Linguistic Intelligence

Manali Oak Mar 15, 2020
What is linguistic intelligence? Which skills do the linguistically intelligent people possess? How can one develop language abilities? Read on to find the answers.
Injuries to the brain can cause language disorders like agraphia (inability to write), alexia (inability to read), and aphasia (inability to speak), resulting in lowered linguistic intelligence.
According to American psychologist Howard Gardner, human beings exhibit multiple intelligences. Human intelligence can be classified into seven core forms. Based on the specific abilities that human beings possess, their intelligence can be categorized under one of those types.
The basic types of intelligence include linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.
A person with language skills is said to possess linguistic intelligence. One exhibiting a natural flair for music is musically intelligent while someone with an aptitude for sports and physical activity is said to possess bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
Those with the ability to transform mental images into designs have spatial intelligence, while those with exceptional mathematical skills have logical-mathematical intelligence.
Those with an excellent awareness about their own capacities are said to possess intrapersonal intelligence, while those with social skills and an understanding of others are said to have interpersonal intelligence. Let us learn about linguistic intelligence, its traits, career choices, and activities that help develop this type of intelligence.

About Linguistic Intelligence

After a child is born, his parents and elders in the family, acquaint him with a language, which is usually their mother tongue. During early education, the child learns languages and his linguistic skills develop as he grows.
The child may be taught or choose to learn multiple languages out of need or interest, thus familiarizing himself with speaking and/or writing one or more foreign languages.
Knowing how to speak correctly in a language (which includes knowledge of words, rules of grammar, and sentence construction), and having the knowledge of its alphabet and script to be able to write in that language, together constitute language skills.
When one possesses these skills in one or more languages, he is said to have linguistic intelligence. It includes the ability to use a language correctly and beautifully. The linguistically intelligent people have an inclination towards languages. It makes them learn more than one language, or have the aptitude for acquiring the skills of multiple languages.
Those with linguistic intelligence are mostly found to be good with more than one language, and able to use those languages in writing and speech. Linguistic intelligence involves a creative use of words, a deep understanding of their literal and figurative meaning, sensitivity to using them rightly, and an understanding of the context of their usage.
Linguistic Intelligence involves highly developed written and oral communication skills, proper knowledge of grammar, and a zest to learn different languages.

Traits of the Linguistically Intelligent

Linguistic intelligence manifests itself in the form of linguistic abilities.
Not everyone has linguistic abilities and not many of us have the flair for learning languages. Those who exhibit an unusual ability in languages are said to possess it. They like to read and write. They are good with spelling words and sensitive towards language patterns. They are interested in the varied shades of words and how their meanings change.
The linguistically intelligent can appreciate rhythm and phonetics of words.
They take keen interest in learning the correct pronunciation and in appreciating the melody in the sounds of words. They are often observed to be possessing good memory and they do well in word games.
Those with linguistic intelligence are good orators and public speakers.
They can make effective use of language to persuade people or change their minds. They can entertain people through their speech or writing. They can make good use of humor as well as other elements of language that can entertain the listeners/readers.
The linguistically intelligent can explain things well. They possess good convincing abilities. They know how to soothe or encourage people with words. They are found to be orderly and systematic. They have a strong ability to reason.


Maya Angelou, J.K. Rowling, Winston Churchill, and William Shakespeare are some examples of linguistically intelligent people. Those with linguistic intelligence excel in careers that involve the use of language. These people do well in fields that require one to understand the language and use it to communicate information or for imparting knowledge.
Fields which include writing, speaking, translating or interpreting, teaching, or communication in general require people who possess linguistic intelligence.
Careers for the linguistically intelligent include:
✦ Writers, poets, novelists
✦ Journalists, editors
✦ Scriptwriters, songwriters
✦ Speech writers
✦ Speakers, preachers
✦ Translators, interpreters
✦ Librarians, curators, newscasters
✦ Talk-show hosts, interviewers, jockeys
✦ Lawyers
✦ Politicians
✦ Teachers


Games or activities that involve communication or the use and understanding of language can help enhance your linguistic skills. From learning new words to practicing writing and/or speaking, anything that requires the use of language can help you improve on your language abilities.
Some examples of activities are:

✦ Practice story-telling.
✦ Read the dictionary or browse online to learn new words.
✦ Solve word puzzles and crosswords. Play games that involve spelling words, forming new ones, unscrambling words, and learning new words and their meanings.
✦ Practice letter writing and essay writing. It encourages the expression of thoughts and feelings in the right words.
✦ Cultivate a habit of reading.
✦ Listen to stories or speeches by good narrators and speakers.
✦ Practice describing an object, an image, or an emotion.
✦ Participate in debates and discussions.
✦ Play games like enlisting words starting/ending with a certain letter of the alphabet, or enlisting words of a particular type, or those with similar or opposite meanings, etc. Word games like these help in the building of vocabulary.
✦ Activities like summarizing a speech, narrating a story or incident in your own words, taking notes from lessons, paraphrasing a poem, building a story based on images, describing fictional characters, real people, or yourself, help in the development of language skills, thus helping in the enhancement of linguistic intelligence.
Not all of us can find the right words to express what we intend to. Those with linguistic intelligence are blessed with this ability. Perhaps, they are the ones who know the true power of words and the impact that good communication can have. Are you one of them?