There are a whole lot of science-related inaccuracies in fiction, with some fields of knowledge bearing the brunt worse than others. In the case of linguistics, the vast majority of people have no idea it exists, never mind the basics. Obviously, this includes writers. Indeed, the prevalence of this trope (and its relative lack of being noticed) can be attributed to this fact - most people recognize that when dealing with questions of physics, biology, chemistry, etc., they need to ask an expert, whereas with linguistics, many people don't even realize that there are experts to be asked.

Many language/linguistics tropes are attributable to this, and are split up here into errors in academic linguistics, translation errors, and errors in usage.


[[folder: Author's Mistakes (General):]]
[-Basic mistakes in the way languages work, evolve, and differ from each other.-]

* AliensSpeakingEnglish: Ignores the difficulty of near-instantaneous translation between very different languages, to say nothing of [[HumanAliens differing physiology]]. Often [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality acceptable]], since aliens speaking a [[StarfishLanguage completely]] [[IndoEuropeanAlienLanguage different]] language can get very annoying.
* AntiquatedLinguistics: TheThemeParkVersion of Victorian (essentially Present Day) English, spoken by everyone post-Regency up until the end of TheRoaringTwenties. [[note]]This trope is present in most parodies of silent film, but pastiches of the 1930s onward sound much the same as the talkies of the period--normal.[[/note]]
* DidNotDoTheBloodyResearch: mismatches the [[GoshDarnItToHeck strength]] of {{Foreign Cuss Word}}s.
* EternalEnglish: Ignores the process of linguistic change, with people 1,000 years ago or 1,000 years later speaking in the same dialect as the creators.
* FromTheLatinIntroDucere: Just because an alleged etymology seems relevant to your point doesn't necessarily make it the word's true history. Also, just because a word was derived from an older one doesn't necessarily make that part of the word's definition today.
* LanguageEqualsThought: Follows the controversial Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, that language dictates (and limits) the ideas people can have and how they experience the world. Note that this is not necessarily an error, depending on the time and the opinions of the author.
* LanguageOfTruth: If it is impossible to make a false statement in a language, it's impossible to make ''any'' statement in it at all.
* {{Omniglot}}: Languages take time to learn; very few people in RealLife speak more than four or five well. These people speak more, flawlessly.
* OrphanedEtymology: Hold your horses? What's a horse?
* PersonalDictionary: Someone giving their own idiosyncratic definitions to existing words. Communication doesn't work that way.
* TwistingTheWords: Willfully ignoring the context, definitions, or other cues that can affect the meaning of someone's remarks.
* YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe: TheThemeParkVersion of Elizabethan (Early Modern) English, applied to any and all times before the Regency.
* HollywoodApocrypha: TheThemeParkVersion of the Early Modern English used in the King James Bible, applied to all fictional religious texts.


[[folder: Author's Mistakes (Translation tropes):]]
[-Examples of these tropes ignore the differences between languages and assume they all translate perfectly 1:1. And then they get the translation wrong.-]

* AccentRelapse: Characters who've been demonstrated to speak fluent English prefer to speak with a heavy native accent if they no longer have to keep up the pretence.
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: A foreign character speaks foreign-sounding gibberish, which is passed off (to the audience) as another language.
* TheBackwardsR: Instant Russian, just flip the R's! See also ElSpanishO below.
* BiteTheWaxTadpole: Cultural and linguistic pitfalls playing havoc with ad copy in a foreign market.
* BlindIdiotTranslation: What happens when the translator is not fluent in one (or both) of the languages being translated.
* CypherLanguage: When everything in your [[ConLang fictional language]] just so happens to be exactly the same as your real-life language, only with new words or symbols substituted. That's not inventing a ''language''; that's inventing a code.
** {{Fictionary}}: Ditto, with made-up words merely standing in for English ones (as in CallARabbitASmeerp).
** {{Wingdinglish}}: Ditto, with a made-up alphabet merely substituting the English one.
* EitherWorldDominationOrSomethingAboutBananas: An in-universe translation that comes up with two options, one of which is close to the intended meaning and one of which is ridiculously off.
* ElSpanishO: Trying to fake a foreign language by adding the most known traits of that language into one's own.
* TranslationTrainwreck: What happens when a BlindIdiotTranslation is taken to extremes. Like an actual trainwreck, however, it can be [[GoodBadTranslation morbidly fascinating]].
* CanisLatinicus: Latin-sounding gibberish, or Latin words put together nonsensically (or [[AncientGrome mixed with Greek]]), because [[AltumVidetur everything sounds more dignified in Latin]].
* ConvenientlyPreciseTranslation: A perfect 1:1 translation achieved between disparate languages far more often than should be possible. (But see LuckyTranslation for legitimate, real-life examples.)
* GratuitousForeignLanguage: Using a foreign language to add a certain ''je ne sais quoi''... which is not a good idea if you can't actually speak it.
* IndoEuropeanAlienLanguage: When aliens [[AliensSpeakingEnglish don't speak English]], their language still conveniently adheres to the same grammatical conventions as most European languages--unlike many languages found on ''this'' planet.
* LearntEnglishFromWatchingTelevision: While this one is definitely true to an extent as many people will tell you, writers often assume that this applies to ALL languages whether they share inherent similarities (like most latin based languages) or not.
* RecursiveTranslation: A second- or third-hand (or more) translation that loses more and more nuance with each successive step.
* JustAStupidAccent: A foreign character never speaks his own language, but speaks the local language like a native, only with an intractable accent.
* PoirotSpeak: A foreign character will occasionally grasp for the right word, and will revert to his native language when stumped. So far, so good, but the words in question will always be ones the ''audience'' is likely to understand in the other language, rather than the sort of vocabulary a non-native speaker would have difficulty with.


[[folder: Mistakes with Usage:]]
[-Many people assume "linguistics" to be all about correcting spelling, pronunciation and grammar "errors". In fact there is no such thing as objectively correct usage[[note]]True, as far as it goes, but there is a recognized difference between '''descriptive''' and '''prescriptive''' linguistics with widely differing aims. Good rule of thumb is linguistics ''as a science'' is by nature '''descriptive'''.[[/note]], as languages evolve over time - linguists concern themselves with studying actual usage, warts and all, rather than trying to be a GrammarNazi. The following tropes are not strictly linguistics failures, simply poor usage:-]

* TheBigListOfBooboosAndBlunders: Words that get misspelled by being confused with other words, or the writer never having seen them written down before.
* DelusionsOfEloquence: When FeigningIntelligence meets [[SesquipedalianLoquaciousness Sesquicentennial Locomotiveness]], [[HilarityEnsues hilariosity will be in a state of insinuation]].
* FreudianSlip: The belief that a mistake in usage can reveal a little too much about what you really want to sex-- ''say''! I meant ''say''!
* GrammarNazi: Misguidedly treats the rules of proper grammar, spelling, and so on as essential features of the language itself.
* UsefulNotes/HowDoIUsedTense
* TheMalaproper: When someone's word choice ''sounds'' like the right word, but is actually the [[SelfDemonstratingArticle fright ward]].
* NoPunctuationPeriod
* RougeAnglesOfSatin: [[SelfDemonstratingArticle Wan righters how Kant spiel really two heavenly in the spoil cheque fracture off there ward proctologist.]][[note]]When writers who can't spell rely too heavily on the spellcheck feature of their word-processor.[[/note]]
* {{Spoonerism}}: Accidentally wixing up the sirst founds of your mords. Invented by Reverend Spooner, the spoon who invented mannerisms (though, sadly, this is not actually a spoonerism!)
* WantonCrueltyToTheCommonComma: Frustratingly common mistakes of punctuation (most commonly, the use of a comma where a colon or semicolon should go) in both amateur and professional writing.
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: Words have colloquial meanings that are understood based on how speakers of the language use them. Some people think that using words counter to its etymology or dictionary definition are improper and try to correct others.

[[folder: Audience's Misconceptions (Linguistic Dissonance)]]
[-While not made up of mistakes in itself, these tropes can cause difficulty with audiences who are unaware of the difference within languages over time and from place to place:-]

* GetTheeToANunnery: Wordplay and humo(u)r that's lost on modern audiences, who don't get the references.
* HaveAGayOldTime: Unintentional hilarity derived from originally harmless words becoming amusing or taking on [[InnocentInnuendo sexual connotations]] over time.
* PronounTrouble: GenderNeutralWriting can get lost in translation when one language is more strongly gendered than another-- so much for your character's AmbiguousGender.
* SeparatedByACommonLanguage: Misunderstandings and (more) unintentional hilarity encountered across different dialects of the same language.