Which one would be the correct and more common usage? I tried googling for answers but realized that both of them are used. In my opinion, I think that "linguistic experts" is the correct phrase, but I would like to know why.
✔ "I'm studying linguistics."
✘ "I'm studying linguistic."
✔ "Those people are very linguistic."
✘ "Those people are very linguistics."
linguistics noun, plural in form but singular in construction
: the study of human speech including the units, nature, structure, and modification of language
variants: or less commonly linguistical
: of or relating to language or linguistics
- A linguistics expert is an expert in the field of linguistics.
- A linguistic expert is an expert who uses or knows language well.
- (And a linguistic linguistics expert is an expert in the field of linguistics who uses or knows language well.)
Which phrase is correct depends on how you are using it—as a noun or as an adjective.
Confusion is being caused here because linguistics looks like a plural (see Scott's link in comment above).
When a plural noun is qualifying another noun it is necessary to take the -s off. So an expert in cats is a cat expert not a *cats expert. It is made more confusing by the word linguistic existing and making some sense. There would be less confusion with physics as physic is a rare word with an unrelated meaning, or mathematics, as the word *mathematic does not exist and upsets my spellchecker.
Note that I said take the -s off, not make singular as it is optional if the plural does not end in an -s. You can say women soldiers but not *girls soldiers.