main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Artistic License Linguistics
aka: You Fail Linguistics Forever
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.

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

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

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 usagenote , as languages evolve over time - linguists concern themselves with studying actual usage, warts and all, rather than trying to be a Grammar Nazi. The following tropes are not strictly linguistics failures, simply poor usage:

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:

Artistic License LawArtistic LicenseArtistic License Martial Arts
Arab Beoble TalkLanguage TropesAsian Speekee Engrish

alternative title(s): Artistic Licence Linguistics; You Fail Linguistics Forever
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy