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Free Theme: Modern Linguist

Hey! Version 2.5 was released on 9 July 2011. Check out to download it!

Modern Linguist is a WordPress template designed with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) participants in mind.  Based partially on Chris Coyier's beautiful WPTypo theme, Modern Linguist is an all-typographic theme created with easy reading in mind.

The theme has several pretty cool things built in. First off, it's custom options allow integration with the word count API, providing dynamic and automatic word count updates pulled directly from the user's NaNoWriMo profile. The user enters their ID number and that's it, instant word count updates.

The options page also provides space to enter in a story synopsis and the option to display that text on the front page of the WordPress site.

Next up is typography. Modern Linguist comes with 8 standard, Open Source or Creative Commons typeface options--as well as two that are used by permission--giving the author the choice of using a font-face that best suits their novel's mood or tone. The fonts include:

  • Delicious and Fontin Sans, by exljbris Font Foundry
  • The Fell Types (English and Great Primer), digitally reproduced by Igino Marini and included with his gracious permission.
  • Droid serif
  • Lucida
  • Garamond
  • OFL Sorts Mill Goudy, by Barry Schwartz

Many of the included typefaces rely on the @font-face CSS3 rule and thus require a modern browser to display correctly. To help everyone out several standard, "web-safe" fonts are defined too.

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

I am excited to offer this theme licensed under the GPL and completely free. Download it and test it out! Please leave questions or remarks in the comments below.

NEW! This theme has its own site now! Check it out at

Usage Tips

The theme is, by default, setup to help people register to read your novel. I don't want to let just anyone read my story, so I use a WordPress plugin called Member Access to make sure only logged in users can read my posts.

I also set up a static page to be the first thing visitors see.

The navigation uses the default WordPress category structure. If you're using this for NaNoWriMo, then you can just create a category for each year and make your posts in there. I have 2008 (last year's novel), Announcements, and soon will have 2009 started. Categories are the way to go.

If you've got a new WordPress install that you're putting this on, make sure you trim your blogroll. Otherwise the sliding panel will be big!


Oct 30, 2009 - 1.0
Initial Release

Nov 01, 2009 - 1.3

  • Fix to NaNoWriMo API pull to display correctly when no NaNo ID is entered
  • Style fixes to several typefaces including the Fell Types
  • Clarified attribution added to the Fell Types, digitally reproduced by Igino Marini and included with his gracious permission.

Oct 30, 2010 - 2.0

  • Now utilizes Google Fonts API and Directory for better, faster, more universal webfonts
  • Includes more font options.
  • Cleaned up various styles.
  • Revised a few minor styling issues.

Oct 31, 2010 - 2.0.1

  • Neglected a screenshot image. Fixed
  • Suppressed PHP errors/warnings when NaNoWriMo site is down.

July 9, 2011 - 2.5