langmagazinesYou would think that with the hundreds of thousands of language enthusiasts and linguists around the world, there would be a huge market for language and linguist publications. There are, of course, millions of books on languages and teaching languages, thousands of websites devoted to them, and countless other language and linguistic resources and materials.

There are also probably a few million publications in other languages, with magazines and newspapers in all the major languages of the world. These cover everything from daily news and culture to home decorating and raising children.

By comparison, the field of publications about language and linguistics are practically non-existent. Most publications in these fields are scholarly papers written by academics, not meant for public consumption.

I want to look at five magazines that are meant for the non-academic which are available Some are free and some require a subscription.

1) Language Magazine

The aptly named Language Magazine has been around since 2003, and has a handful of writers and editors. It comes out monthly and is available in print format for an annual subscription cost of around $30 USD. You can also read some of the articles online, although this is not instantly apparat.

To find the online versions, go to the Archives page and select an issue. You will be given an editorial, with the articles listed below it. Click on a title to read the text online. Not all articles are available, however, especially for the older issues.

Language Magazine covers a variety of language topics, including ESL, bilingual education, world languages, and studying abroad. The site also gives links to resources, information on materials, and language happenings in the news.

Indeed, the website is more than just articles on languages. There is a calendar page, listing conferences, seminars, and other language related events and gatherings around the world. There is also a jobs page, where people can post and find jobs in the language field. Since the magazine is based in California, USA, these are listed by state, with a few foreign jobs listed at the bottom.

You can find the magazine on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/LanguageMagazine

2) Babel

Babel arrived on the scene just a few years ago. The production team is based in the UK, and they provide copies of the magazine as a paid subscription for either printed copy or digital copy, the latter of which can be read on a number of devices (not Kindle, however).

A subscription for the printed version of the magazine costs £26.95 for those in the UK, £34.50 for the rest of Europe, and £41.50 for the rest of the world. The issues are around 50 pages each, and there are four a year, coming out in February, May, August, and November.

The magazine, edited by Lesley Jeffries and Dan McIntyre, is aimed at readers with an interest in linguistic and language-related issues. British linguist, academic and author David Crystal is their Linguistic Consultant for the magazine.

This is the magazine that made me want to produce a digital copy of my own as a PDF. You can download a free sample of the first issue to see the quality of the content. Sadly, there is no web version of the magazine or its articles.

You can check Babel out on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Babelzine

3) Schwa Fire

Schwa Fire started in 2014, after running a successful Kickstarter campaign. It uses the Creatavist platform for reading and requires an annual subscription fee of $6.99 for the three issues it produces.

The magazine was started by Michael Erard, who has been writing about language and languages for over a decade for such publications as The New York Times, Wired, and Slate. It is aimed at both the regular population and language lovers and has covered such topics as language sounds, specific endangered languages, and language journalism.

The articles are written in “long form”, meaning they are longer than normal publication lengths. One of the two free articles I could read on it was around 3,000 words, while the average article length for a publication is between 1,500 and 2,000. This means that despite the few issues published in a year, the articles are very in-depth on the topics they cover.

There is a Facebook page with more on it here: https://www.facebook.com/SchwaFire

4) Unravel: The Accessible Linguistics Magazine

While these other publications have been largely professionally made and covering languages, Unravel more specifically deals with linguistics, and is produced four times a year by a team of university students.

Having been started only at the end of last year, it is the youngest of the publications in the list, but that does not mean it is well done.

The magazine is completely free and online, no printed or PDF versions available. The magazines about page probably describes the goals of the magazine’s creators the best:

“We are a linguistics magazine that aims to show people, linguists and non-linguists alike, that language plays an important and world-defining role in everyone’s lives. We hope to allow them to build issues of linguistic significance or relevance into their worldview, and to construct bridges between linguistics and various other disciplines so that today’s interdisciplinary thinker or leader considers issues of language when attempting to come up with creative solutions to the world’s problems.”

The magazine is also unique in the list because while the others are from the US or the UK, Unravel is founded in Singapore. The students produce it around their normal academic lives, which is an amazing feat in itself.

You can find their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/unravellingmag

5) Parrot Time

Lastly, I am listing my own magazine here. Parrot Time is a bi-monthly publication, available in both web and PDF versions, covering languages, linguistics, culture, and the Parleremo community. The web version is great for sharing articles with your fellow language lovers and the PDF version can be read like a magazine online or downloaded.

Parrot Time is completely free, and encourages others to submit articles. It is meant to be a magazine both for and by the language loving community.

It was started in January 2013, and has since produced 14 issues with over 100 articles, covering such topics as endangered languages, learning methods, linguist and author biographies, film and book reviews, and language conflicts.

Another contribution it makes to the community is the advertising of locally created language websites and blogs in the PDF version. This is to promote lesser known writers and projects.

You can find all the PDF versions on the main site, as well as Issuu and Scribd

There is also a Facebook page for it here: https://www.facebook.com/ParrotTime

Finding language and linguistic magazines is not an easy task, which is why some of us have undertaken to produce our own. I would love to hear about others that are out there, even if they are not online or are commercial publications.

Please leave a comment about any that you might have found, or tell me what you think about the ones in the list. Thank you!

  • Raelke Grimmer

    Great article, thank you! I especially love Schwa Fire from the list, but will definitely check the others out- Unravel looks fantastic. If I could also mention my own language and culture magazine, Tongues (www.tongues.com.au), which is an Australian publication- our focus is on linguistic and cultural diversity and we publish articles in all languages. We’ve been an online mag for a year and our first print edition will be launched in June. We’re still young and still growing, and like many of the publications in the list it is a publication fuelled by passion.

    • Erik Zidowecki

      Thanks for your response! I did not know about Tongues. Congratulations! It is definitely a work of passion. I will look more into Tongues. Will the printable version be available online?

  • Wow thank you. To be honest, I didn’t know there were that many magazines on the market. I only know yours 😉

  • Thanks for the article, like Dani I didn’t know there were that many magazines. But it’s a great list and I will definitely check out all the listed magazines.
    @raelkegrimmer:disqus Thanks also for your link – I’ll have a look! The printed version will probably be available only in Australia I suppose?