xenolinguist n.

one who studies alien languages



  • 1955 A. Budrys Strange Room in Fantastic Universe Jan. 70/1 page image Algis Budrys bibliography

    'I can prove it,' the xenolinguist said, still softly.

  • 1986 S. Finch Triad (2012) vi. 56 Sheila Finch bibliography

    As to which category the natives of Ithaca 3-15d belonged, that would depend heavily on the xenolinguist’s assessment of their language.

  • 1988 S. Finch Berlitz in Outer Space in Amazing Stories May 50 page image Sheila Finch bibliography

    Let’s consider the situation that may face the would-be xenolinguist in the twentyfirst century. Xenolinguistics 101 Oral forms of language such as humans use are probably not the only methods of communication to be found around the galaxy.

  • 1989 S. Finch World Waiting in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Aug. 36 Sheila Finch bibliography

    Outside, someone was dragging Oona’s battered duffel bag with its faded Xenolinguists’ Guild insignia across the compound to the guest quarters.

  • 1996 S. Finch Out of Mouths in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Dec. 19 Sheila Finch

    The experiment he’d designed wasn’t a new idea; in fact, early theoretical xenolinguists such as Elgin and Watson had discussed it centuries before. Raise a human child with an alien, and she’ll have the other’s language in her head from birth, as well as her native tongue.

  • 2000 N. Kress Probability Moon 42 Nancy Kress

    The Anaconda, Martian physicists decided, had had a Schwarzschild radius—defined as the radius below which, if you squeezed the mass, it would become a black hole—larger than the tunnel’s capacity to handle. From the disaster, xenolinguists had learned the meaning of the alien marking for ‘disruption’.

  • 2007 R.M. Meluch Wolf Star 254 R. M. Meluch bibliography

    He meant to carry her to sick bay himself, but met Dr. Hamilton on the way—looking frantic but whole, healthy, and unblooded. Xenolinguists were not on board for their fighting skills.

Research requirements

any evidence 1955

Earliest cite

Algis Budrys, in Fantastic Universe

Research History
Irene Grumman submitted a 2002 cite from a reprint of Nancy Kress' 2000 "Probability Moon".
Jeff Lassahn submitted a 1996 cite from Sheila Finch's "Reading the Bones".
Jeff commented that this one of a series about the "Guild of Xenolinguists", and there there was an earlier story by Finch likely to contain a cite for this word.
We then heard from Sheila herself, and she submitted a 1989 cite from her story "A World Waiting": in a later mailing, she submitted her a cite from her 1988 article "Berlitz in Outer Space: How Alien Communication Just Might Work."
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 2007 reprint of R.M. Meluch's 2005 book, "Wolf Star".
Bill Mullins submitted a 1955 cite from Algis Budrys.

We are also interested in further cites of any date from other authors.

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.