SIL INTERNATIONAL AND THE DISCIPLINARY CULTURE OF LINGUISTICS Introduction LISE M. DOBRIN University of Virginia Keywords: SIL, missionary linguistics, linguistic fieldwork, history of linguistics, international development, Bible translation, endangered languages This collection of papers is an attempt to begin a new conversation among academic linguists about the scope, institutional underpinnings, and implications for academia of the work being carried out by our missionary counterparts, particularly the Bible translation organization SIL International (SIL). The observation that we take as our starting point is one that some linguists might never have considered, while others take it for granted: that there are systematic dependencies between our discipline on the one hand, and a Christian missionary organization and its products on the other. Because it necessarily raises very personal questions of religion and motivation, this topic is a sensitive one that we know many would rather avoid. But as several of the contributors here try to make clear, the time has come for the community of academic linguists to reconsider its role in sustaining this status quo. My interest in the relationship between academic linguistics and SIL grows out of discussions I have had with Jeff Good over the past several years.
Language – Linguistic Society of America
Published: Oct 17, 2009
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