As with most organizations, people are SIL’s greatest asset. SIL has thousands of people working in language-related roles, many of whom are what we affectionately call OWLs – Ordinary Working Linguists. These OWLs are responsible for a huge amount of the linguistic research done by SIL.

In addition to OWLs, international, regional and other Linguistics Coordinators serve as point people for linguistic activities throughout the organization.

SIL has linguistics consultants serving in most places we work. These consultants have various specialties, ranging from sub-discipline (e.g. phonology, syntax or discourse) to language family (e.g. Bantu or Austronesian) to product (e.g. lexicography, translation, or orthography development). Generally, consultants have both experience doing linguistic field work and an advanced degree in linguistics or a language-related field. SIL members hold more than 1000 Masters degrees and more than 300 Doctoral degrees in some aspect of linguistics, from universities around the world.

Many SIL staff participate in professional, academic and scholarly linguistics organizations. SIL staff often work with linguists from other agencies and institutions. A number of linguists with other affiliations serve SIL as Advisors.