Kenneth L. Pike (1912-2000)


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Kenneth L. PikeDr. Kenneth Lee Pike was the consummate scholar. His pioneer work in descriptive linguistics clearly identified him as an adventurous and penetrating thinker.

But Pike was more. As president of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (now SIL International) from 1942–1979, his task was to train and equip hundreds of linguistics students to analyze and put into writing any unwritten language in the world. He expanded SIL's work to more than 50 countries and helped to establish SIL's academic integrity. An author of more than 20 books and 200 articles, Pike was an internationally recognized linguistics scholar.

Pike wrote, "As I developed my linguistic principles, I discovered they extended far beyond language and linguistics. They spilled over into areas like anthropology, religion, sociology and philosophy. In fact, they turned out to be general principles about human nature itself."

He received numerous awards and honorary degrees for his achievements, including 16 nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.