Pike Center

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Article published about Ken Pike's legacy

An article about the legacy of Kenneth L. Pike was published online earlier today by Christianity Today:  “Kenneth Pike and the Making of Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL International,” by Boone Aldridge (Corporate Historian, SIL International) and Gary Simons (Director, Pike Center). The article begins with the story of SIL’s founder, W. Cameron Townsend, and the birth of his vision for a worldwide Bible translation movement that would be empowered by scientific research. It then tells the story of Pike and how, after developing into a world-class linguist, he played a central role in bringing that vision to reality.

Gary Simons
Preliminary program for symposium on language and identity

Issues of language and identity can make or break any kind of development project. They determine the degree of access to new information and influence a community’s desire to make any kind of change in the first place. Issues like these are to be addressed in the first Pike Center symposium which will be on the theme of Language and Identity in a Multilingual, Migrating World. Organized by Fellows Steve Quakenbush and Gary Simons, the symposium will take place as part of SIL's 7th International Language Assessment Conference to be held 9–16 May 2018 in Penang, Malaysia.  

The response to the Call for Papers was strong with 33 extended abstracts being submitted.  Available funding allows us to pay the expenses for 12 authors to present their work at the symposium. The following are the submissions that were selected by the organizing committee:

  • Bagamba B. Araali, “Language shift and identity crisis among the northern Hema community of the Democratic Republic of Congo”
  • Leoni Bouwer, “Surviving a century of erosive language policies in Madagascar: The importance of ethnolinguistic identity for sustainable intervention and development.”
  • John Clifton, “Multilingualism with multiple identities”
  • Marlute van Dam, “A case study looking at how language choice and language attitudes are instrumental in the identity formation of the Roma in Sadova.”
  • David Eberhard, “Testing the Identity Construction Constraints: Towards an approach for assessing the factors that condition identity choices of minoritized language communities”
  • Jaap Feenstra, “Identity and melting pots: Negotiating identity by resisting or pursuing accommodation”
  • Maik Gibson, “New urban varieties in Africa and the identities that go with them”
  • Sunny Hong, “Hidden language, hidden identity: Identity issues of refugees who are from minority language groups”
  • M. Paul Lewis, “Remembering identity: The role of language”
  • Daniel Paul, “The notion of ‘heart language’ in relation to sustainable identity”
  • Sangsok Son, “Translanguaging as heartfelt linguistic performance in a multilingual world and its implications for education”
  • Stephen Watters, “Linguistic identity and dialect diversity: a conundrum with regard to Magar Kham”
Gary Simons
New book on SIL’s vision for scholarship
 Click cover to go to ebook. 

Click cover to go to ebook. 

Pike Center is pleased to announce the availability of a new ebook that tells the story of scholarship as a key part of SIL’s vision and strategy. When SIL was established in 1934, our founder articulated a threefold purpose which wove together scholarly research, Bible translation, and integral development in service of language communities on the margins of society. In addition to discussing the role of scholarship in that founding purpose, the book relates the history of how Kenneth L. Pike came to be the key player in turning the founder’s vision into a reality. This book, edited by Pike Center director, Gary Simons, has its genesis in the efforts to found Pike Center and helps to explain why we have established it.

We feel very privileged that Mark Noll, one of the leading scholars of our time on the history of Christianity, agreed to write the Foreword for the book. In it he offers the following commendation:

The story of how SIL has sustained a commitment to its three founding goals deserves wide attention because of the encouragement it can provide others who believe that Christian faith requires intellectual and cultural, as well as religious, commitment. It also deserves attention because of contemporary currents in many spheres of life far beyond linguistics that still pose true faith and disciplined intellectual endeavor as incompatible.

Gary Simons
Pike Center symposium on language and identity

Issues of language and identity can make or break any kind of development project—in large part because they determine the degree of access to new information, ideas and behavior, but also because they influence a community’s willingness and desire to make any kind of change in the first place. Failure to take these concepts into account can result in irrelevant projects, unused products, programs without impact, and lost opportunities. But the relationship between language and identity is complex and varied—and even more so in a highly multilingual, massively migrating world.

These are the issues to be addressed in the first Pike Center symposium which will be on the theme of Language and Identity in a Multilingual, Migrating World. Organized by Fellows Steve Quakenbush and Gary Simons, the symposium will take place as part of SIL's 7th International Language Assessment Conference to be held 9–16 May 2018 in Penang, Malaysia.  A Call for Papers has been issued.

Gary Simons