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What do J.K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, and Johnny Cochran all have in common? They all have linguistic intelligence. Learn more about linguistic intelligence from examples and test your knowledge with a quiz.

Introduction to Linguistic Intelligence

Have you ever been told that you have a way with words? Maybe you enjoy writing and giving public speeches. Are you good at persuading people to see your point of view through spoken or written language? If so, you have demonstrated linguistic intelligence.

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Linguistic intelligence is one of eight intelligences that was introduced by Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist, in 1983. Before this point, intelligence had been treated as one single trait.

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Gardner proposed that there are eight different types of intelligences and that each one is independent of the other. The eight intelligences are:

  1. Musical intelligence: includes the ability to distinguish between music and sound patterns, rhythms, etc.
  2. Visual/spatial intelligence: includes the ability to detect different patterns and designs in places and use or manipulate them
  3. Body/kinesthetic intelligence: includes athleticism and the ability to effectively use the human body
  4. Naturalistic intelligence: includes the ability to distinguish between different elements in the environment and knowledge about nature
  5. Interpersonal intelligence: includes the ability to relate to others and understand them
  6. Intrapersonal intelligence: includes a deep understanding of oneself and one’s limitations and goals
  7. Logical/mathematical intelligence: includes deductive reasoning, critical thinking skills, and understanding of complex mathematical equations
  8. Linguistic intelligence: includes the ability to persuade others using words, creative writing skills, and the ability to pick up on other languages easily

It is important to note that just because you have high intelligence on one area, it does not mean that you have high intelligence in another area. Our levels of intelligence on the different types are independent of one another. For example, a choir director may be good at picking up on the different rhythms and sounds in the voices of the choir members (musical intelligence) but may be physically weak and not good at sports (body/kinesthetic intelligence).

What Is Linguistic Intelligence?

Maya Angelou, William Shakespeare, and Oprah Winfrey are famous people who have high linguistic intelligence. In other words, they have a deep understanding and appreciation of the rules and functions of language. People with linguistic intelligence are skilled writers and speakers. They can understand the languages and words of others more easily, and can learn foreign languages much faster than the average person.They are able to use vocabulary to express themselves clearly and precisely. They can convey meaning and emotions in their words. They are good at imagery and inciting emotional reactions in others by using their words.

They are also good at descriptive language and make excellent storytellers.People with linguistic intelligence are known to:

  • Be skilled at oral and written communication
  • Make good spellers, writers, and public speakers
  • Enjoy debating and word games
  • Easily understand jokes, idioms, riddles, and puns
  • Enjoy reading and writing
  • Enjoy and easily learn foreign languages
  • Take in information from lectures and discussions easily
  • Be skilled at using language as a means to an end
  • Be skilled at explaining things to others
  • Be good at remembering quotes and sayings

Examples of Linguistic Intelligence

Children’s author Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) was skilled at word play and using language to teach children about different sounds, animals, colors, etc.

His books are very effective learning tools for children and are read worldwide.Actors, actresses, and playwrights use their words to convey the meaning and emotions of the characters that they portray. Politicians, such as Barack Obama and John McCain, are skilled at the art of debate and often travel the U.S. using their words and public speaking skills to gather support for their causes.

College professors and lecturers rely on their ability to describe concepts in detail and ability to explain things clearly to teach their students new concepts.

Lesson Summary

Introduced by Howard Gardner in his theory of multiple intelligences, the term linguistic intelligence refers to a deep understanding and appreciation of the rules and functions of language. People with linguistic intelligence, such as J.

R. R. Tolkien, are skilled at using language to achieve their goals. They also make good lawyers, storytellers, actors, and professors.

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