Linguistics

Linguists provide a foundation for language development work of all kinds by illuminating the patterns and variety in the structure and use of language.

Linguistics Technician

Linguistics Technicians collect, organize, and analyze linguistic data as part of an established team or under the supervision of a more experienced linguist. Typically, linguistics technicians focus on producing a grammatical or phonological sketch, a basic discourse analysis, and/or a text collection.

Linguistics technicians should have at least a BA degree. In addition, Linguistic Technicians should have completed the following SIL courses or their equivalents:

  • Articulatory Phonetics
  • Computer Data Management
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Language and Culture Learning
  • Language and Society
  • Linguistic Field Methods
  • Morphology and Syntax
  • Phonology

Linguistics Technicians should be able to use appropriate language analysis software. No prior field experience is required, but previous cross-cultural experience is helpful. Linguistics Technicians who continue to work with SIL will generally progress to service as Translation Specialists or Field Linguists. 

Field Linguist

Field Linguists plan, organize, and conduct linguistic research, and assist others to do the same.
They do independent linguistic research that supports one or more aspects of language development programs. Typically, this involves such things as phonological, morphological, syntactic and discourse analysis, working with text collections and lexical databases, and aspects of language documentation. They prepare reports of their findings for others, archive their data appropriately, and publish their results in technical journals or other outlets. Field Linguists also train others in linguistic analysis, write-ups, and application.

Field Linguists should have an M.A. in linguistics or equivalent field experience, and should have completed the following SIL standard courses or their equivalents:

  • Articulatory Phonetics
  • Computer Data Management
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Language and Culture Learning
  • Language and Society
  • Linguistic Field Methods
  • Morphology and Syntax
  • Advanced Grammar
  • Phonology
  • Advanced Phonology
  • Semantics and Pragmatics

Field Linguists should be able to use appropriate language analysis software. Prior field experience is not required, but previous cross-cultural experience is helpful.

Linguistics Consultant

Linguistics Consultants in SIL train, mentor, and coach field linguists, language community members, and language development program staff in areas of linguistics that are relevant to language development programs. They also conduct ongoing linguistic research, and assist others to conduct research and publish their results.

Linguistics Consultants should hold at least an MA in Linguistics or a closely related field (Ph.D. preferred). Previous field experience and cross-cultural experience are very helpful.