Talk:SIL International

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Introduction POV[edit]

I just made edits in regards to the nature of the organization, as it related to it's position and affilation within the greater religion of Christianity. I made similar, more focused edits, in the article for the sister organization, Wycliffe. See the discussion page for that article, in the introduction section, for detailed reasoning on these changes.

A single sentence was just added to state (neutrally) that translating the Bible into local languages is within their mandate. The allegations and issues surrounding their missionary activity are discussed below on this page, but, I think, the contest of views ended up as a "zero sum game" for the simple reason that some contributors had read the published sources in question, and others haven't. The missionary issue is of great importance, and for those who don't have time to read a book, here is a succinct book-review: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:42, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Belarusian Language[edit]

- Shame on SIL for assigning "RUW" as the code for Belarusian language! -- rydel 17:15, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Belarusian code is now "BEL" in 15th edition of Ethnologue.

SIL POV[edit]

I think the passage I added definetly belongs in the intro. This is a question of SIL going against not just the rest of the linguistic community, but the majority of the speakers as well. The classification of Flemish seems to be an especially bad call, since the Flemish themselves seem not to be comfortable at all with the description of their variant of Dutch as a separate language.

SIL's classification of Scandinavian languages contains even more oddities. Norwegian has been doubly classified due to its two written standards bokmål (much influenced by written Danish) and nynorsk (more true to Norwegian and in particular Western Norwegian dialects) as separate languages, which is a very strange thing to do to a language. The Norwegians don't consider these to be separate languages, and they are not consistently used to write just one type of dialect.

Three dialects of Swedish have been separately classified as languages; Jamska, "Dalecarlian" and Scanian. The two former, and especially älvdalsmål or älvdalska are fairly reasonable, though still have no official recognition, but Scanian is a very strange bird indeed. It's certainly not unintelligible from Standard Swedish. Scanian doesn't differ more from the standard language than Australian English, especially not considering that speaking Standard Swedish with a regional flavor is fully acceptable. The entries also tend to contain factual errors. "Dalecarlian" is an incredibly poor choice for a name, since it seems to include the entire province of Dalarna, where people speak their own dialect of Central Swedish (dalmål) which is not difficult at all to understand, eventhough that "Dalecarlian" is limited to people who live in Älvdalen.

To top it off, SIL has decided that East/West Scandinavian isn't enough, but has also created their own concept of a "Danish-Swedish" sub-branch of East Scandinavian, which is given no explanation and is used by no one but SIL.

To call this POV would be true I guess, except that the POV is SIL's. As far as I can tell, they seem to give in to the fringe ideas among certain regionalist groups when handing out language codes. Eventhough only a small minority of the Scanian regionalists seem to actually be supporting the idea of a Scanian minority language in need of official recognition and protection, SIL seems to have taken these groups seriously and, frankly, taken a political rather than linguistic decision.

For these reasons I'm moving the passage back into the intro.

Peter Isotalo 06:59, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

Another very blatant sample is the classification of Alemannic German: It might be arguable that the whole of Alemannic may be an independent language—though I as a speaker of Alemannic very definitly would not take that POV—, but I see no point in detaching the dialects of the Walser from the rest of Alemannic, especially not while affirming that the Wallis dialects belong together with Alemannic [1]. ― j. 'mach' wust | 10:46, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
First, a disclaimer: I'm a former member of SIL, now working in computational linguistics on the "outside".
OK, now to the point: the issue about whether Flemish etc. are separate languages is based on the definition of "language". To a *linguist*, two language varieties are different languages if and only if they are mutually unintelligible to speakers who have not learned the other language; if they are mutually intelligible, then they are dialects. The problem with this definition, however, is that there is a huge gray area. Mutual intelligibility is a matter of degree; there can be dialect chains, where geographically nearby dialects are mutually intelligible but more distant ones are not; etc. etc. Also, a speaker of a minority variety who has been exposed to a majority variety (e.g. in school) may understand the majority language fine, but the reverse may not be true--in which case the "mutually" is not true, and in any case the understanding is probably due to bilingualism (maybe this is the case with Scanian, I don't know). And so forth.
Importantly, the linguists' definition of language vs. dialect ignores the feelings of native speakers, who for any number of reasons (politics being a notable one) may want to call their languages the same or different.
One case where SIL has been accused of being a splitter (that is, dividing languages unnecessarily) is Mexico. I am told--and of course this can't go into the article, because I can't cite any published research--that linguists who are lumpers wrt the languages of Mexico have (often?) based their assessment on eyeballing word lists and/or by asking speakers whether they think they understand speakers in other villages. A more reliable method (given the linguists' definition of language vs. dialect), and the one used by SIL in Mexico, is to do an actual survey, in which you test native speakers' ability to understand other varieties. Typically this has been done by tape recording stories in one village, along with questions based on the story. The story and the questions are tested on other speakers in that village, to ensure that the story and the questions are understandable. The story is then played in other villages, followed by the questions; if speakers in the other villages can't answer the questions at some level of reliability, then the varieties spoken in the two villages are deemed distinct languages, otherwise not.
The recordings made for these tests in Mexico have been preserved, and I hope that some day the recordings will be digitized and made available. That would make it possible for independent scholars to evaluate the status of language vs. dialect.
Similar "dialect survey" work has been done by SIL linguists (and others) in many other countries, notably (I believe) in Africa. I don't know the status of those recordings.
One important point when testing intelligibility is the topic being discussed: simpler topics, that is topics which are culturally central (farming, say, or common myths and legends) are more easily understood, while topics which are known to fewer members of the community (e.g. shamans' knowledge) or which are culturally peripheral are more difficult to understand when there are differences in the speech. This is probably a reason behind the SIL tendency to be splitters: since SIL is interested in communicating a message which is largely foreign to most minority cultures, that of Christianity, it is important that the message be given in as easily understood a form as possible, and that means making maximal allowance for language differences.
Hence, I don't believe it's correct to say that SIL goes against the community of linguists, as the first commenter (above) wrote. In fact SIL has had considerable influence on linguistics. It is true that many prominent SIL linguists were far from the theoretical "middle" back in the 70s and 80s, when I studied theoretical linguistics (both in SIL, and elsewhere); but my perception is that many (certainly not all) academic linguists and many SIL linguists have moved much closer together in the last couple decades. And in any case, linguists themselves--leaving out SIL linguists--are a notoriously divided group! As to whether SIL goes against the majority of speakers, well, that's true of most linguists! (e.g. the prescriptive vs. descriptive controversy--virtually all linguists will come down on the descriptive side, which ain't the received view of speakers of many languages!) And on the splitting vs. lumping issue, you'll find languages which go both ways; some communities prefer to lump (English--have you ever listened to Nigerian English, say?), while others prefer to split, even beyond what SIL does (Zapotec, of Mexico, may be one example--again, I cannot provide a citation).
In sum, I don't think there's a serious POV issue in this article. The controversies should be discussed, certainly, but if you want to find disagreement among linguists, ask an MIT syntactician what s/he thinks of West Coast syntactic theories; or get a computational linguist who is developing statistical approaches to debate a theoretical linguist! Mcswell (talk) 04:52, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

I think it useful to point out that the paragraphs above, under SIL POV, are referring to the Ethnologue, a book (and website) that tries to list and classify all the world's languages. This is a task on which well-informed linguists never agree. The editors of the Ethnologue welcome input. However, the topic of how the Ethnologue classifies languages does not seem like a key issue in an article about SIL.

Missionary activity[edit]

Any time I feel like Wikipedia is a great example of the result of sharing information to build a great knowledge base, I just need to come to this article and find data that, even though clearly marked a rumor, still remains as part of the main article. If anyone has power to, please transfer that material to the talk page - it definitely does not belong to any encyclopedic article, ever. 01:35, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

It would be helpful if you specified which sections you're talking about. AKRadeckiSpeaketh 15:47, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh, c'mon, Akradecki, the 'I had heard', the 'rumors abounded'. If that's true NPOV valid for Wikipedia, then we're doomed. Just because someone printed such stuff doesn't make it scholarship and valid for quoting in this or any other WP page. 16:35, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
The criticism of SIL's missionary activities has been completely removed or neutered.
really? that stuff is still there. Maybe someone is vandalizing this page by putting it back over and over70.124.61.211 16:35, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

At least one of the responsible "contributors", DanielVonFange, seems to have been a JAARS volunteer for several months in 2003 (see JAARS Prayerline Archives July 22th and Von Fange's blog archives). JAARS provides technical support to SIL and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

These removals of criticism without any discussion and without giving any alternative sources are unacceptable and I'll re-insert those parts.

I also think that the replacement of "evangelical" by "faith-based" is misleading. SIL is not a Jewish, Islamic or Buddhist organisation, but clearly an evangelical Christian one. — Babelfisch 08:11, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I volunteer at JAARS. If I had wanted to do something in secret, I certainly would not have made edits under my real name. ;) I was wrong to make such edits without posting on discussion. Blame it on wikipedia newness. I'm still disagreeing with you, but lets discuss it.
Does something starts with "Rumors abounded...", have a place on a wikipedia article?
"Throughout Huaorani territory, SIL airdropped false-bottomed food baskets containing tiny radio transmitters; receivers at highly sophisticated communications stations, manned by U.S. military personnel at the army base in Shell, tuned into these transmitters. Whenever a member of the tribe was bitten by a poisonous snake or became seriously ill, an SIL representative arrived with antivenom or the proper medicines - often in oil company helicopters."
This doesn't even sound credible.
"[The president of Ecuador, Jaime Roldós,] openly accused the Summer Institute of Linguistics of colluding with the oil companies, and then, in an extremely bold - perhaps reckless - move, he ordered SIL out of the country. [...] He died in a fiery helicopter crash on May 24, 1981. [...] Osvaldo Hurtado took over as Ecuadors president. He reinstated the Summer Institute of Linguistics and their oil company sponsors. (op. cit. p.156f.)"
This strongly implies that SIL killed the president of Ecuador. Did they? Does a slant-wise allegation like this belong on wikipedia?
DanielVonFange 08:11, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
I suggest you read some of the sources given under References in the article. Colby/Dennet and Perkins are very easy to find, apart from the articles on the Internet, of course.
I've added quotation marks to more clearly mark the quotes from Perkins' book. These are very strong allegations indeed, but Perkins is not the only one who makes them, and SIL didn't sue him, either. There are enough sources available (and listed in the article) to make these accusations credible. — Babelfisch 02:20, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Could you remove whatever even Perkins himself indicates are rumors or hearsay? If you have more "solid sources" as you say, couldn't you use them instead? yamaplos 01:42, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
These don't read like reliable sources to me. Failure to sue is meaningless. The engineering on the radios is literally incredible, given the required battery life endurance for transmissions at sufficent power broadcasting constantly, the necessary ruggedness, and the necessary weight. The killing of the Ecuadoran president claims clearly weaken the credibility, given that the crash of a fixed-wing aircraft in bad weather in mountains is not a mysterious helicopter crash. The correct title for this material, if it remains at all, is "Unsupported Conspiracy Theories About SIL". -- (Road Runner HoldCo LLC, Herndon, VA, USA) 13:20, 14 July 2006

I agree that much of the Controversy section should be removed, especially from the Missionary Activities section. It needs to be completely rewritten or removed all together. Just because SIL didn't sue him doesn't mean Perkins should be accepted as credible. Also, there are critics of every organization but this article makes it seem that SIL is engulfed in controversy which it most certainly isn't. SIL is respected world wide for both it's academic and humanitarian work. I'm not saying the article can't be critical of SIL, but the criticism here should be at least some what proportional to that which the organization actually receives. --Thesparrows 06:29, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

As I've said, Perkins is not the only one. Have a look at the other references and the external links. It's good to see that SIL actually reacted to Perkins' allegations (although their statement is a bit bland) - it took them exactly one year, but I find it wonderful that a link to their statement was immediately added to the article.
It would be even better, of course, to find sources independent from SIL that defend the organisation against these accusations.
The criticism of SIL shouldn't be censored. If you think it has undue weight, please help us to expand the other sections in this article. (I couldn't do that without elaborating on the missionary activities of SIL, which their scientific achievements are inextricably linked with.) — Babelfisch 01:10, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

Right. I did have a look at the other references. I'm not too impressed. Seems like a bunch of unfounded rumors. Again, I'm not saying that criticism of SIL should be censored, but it needs to be within reason. So I'm removing a large section of the Perkins' quote as well as the links that are either irrelevent or just a Perkins book review. --Thesparrows 15:34, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

The truncated quote doesn't make sense any more, because all the substance of the criticism was removed - but I guess that was the intention here. I've restored the deleted sections. These are serious and documented allegations. Unless there is a more serious and detailed refutation than "I'm not impressed", they should stay.
About the two links you deleted: Neither On The CIA And Christian Missionaries by Cedric Muhammad nor Evangelicals in Venezuela by Nikolas Kozloff are reviews of Perkins' book! Neither article even mentions Perkins or his book! Where's your point? I've restored both links. —Babelfisch 02:12, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
This is ridiculous. That quote is just too long. And the allegations made by it are completely unfounded! I don't think it should be there at all but I'm certainly not going to let the whole thing stay. I don't know what you personally have against SIL but you can't try and pass that article off as unbiased.
As for the websites, I didn't say they were both reviews of Perkins' book. I said they were reviews of books or irrelevent. And the two articles were definitely one of those two. The article is mostly quotes from Thy Will be Done. The article is about something else and only mentions SIL briefly. I'm removing them both again. And the last part of the quote. Again. The long quote as it is now doesn't makle any sense. If you want to edit it to your liking that's fine. But the whole thing doesn't need to be there.
I'm trying to make this article at least a little fair. There's still enough criticism to make you happy I should think. Thank you for being reasonable. -- 17:51, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Forgot to sign in.--Thesparrows 17:59, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
You said the two external links you wanted to censor were "either irrelevent or just a Perkins book review". Now you say they were "reviews of books or irrelevent" - that's a difference, and it makes me wonder if you read these two articles at all when you deleted them. What would be a "fair" article about SIL? One that doesn't mention their crimes? Once again: These allegations are backed up by a long list of printed articles and books listed as references, but I guess you didn't bother to consult any of those. Your only contribution to Wikipedia so far has been to delete parts of this article. That's not very constructive. What about expanding sections on SIL's history and merits? —Babelfisch 01:46, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
I read all the articles that have links. I've read some of the printed books and articles. I've familiarized myself with most of the others. And for the third time, I'm not saying that there shouldn't be any criticism in this article! I'm saying, that as it is now, the article comes no where close to npov! Thanks for your concern but I haven't made many contributions because I only recently got a user name and began to sign in. Before that I just made minor edits. I still often forget to sign in. I was just trying to make this article a little balanced. I don't know much about editing or adding or anything which is why I first brought my concerns here. There's no need to be so hostile. --Thesparrows 04:12, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

DanielVonFange, please don't delete sections of this discussion page. Your attempt to censor the debate (see history) is not appreciated. —Babelfisch 00:59, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Looking back over the article again today I was struck by the large section on Missionary Activities. If you exclude the links and references at the end, this section is about half of the article! Do the allegations and their denial really deserve such a large part of the article? SIL is a large international organisation with a history of over 50 years working in over 1,000 languages. It seems to me that a handful of sources (whose accuracy has been questioned) have taken over the article which is supposed to be a summary of SIL International. Is there any way we can summarise this section into a short paragraph, possibly linking to another article where these sources can be looked at in more depth? What do other people think? Woodwardmw 16:51, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree: something on this does need to be here, as there is a certain anti-SIL literature out there, but it is way out of balance. --Drmaik 21:59, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
I also agree. The section is poorly written anyways and should be replaced with a succinct summary of SIL's criticisms. 01:51, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
I disagree. SIL is just another face of Wycliffe, they are the linguistic wing of a missionary organisation. Their practical work in linguistics may not always be very obvious in their publications (such as Ethnologue), but if you look at their "linguistic" activities (training courses and school projects) and affiliations (their board of directors and the schools they are hosted at), it's very obvious. The large section about their missionary activities is thus not only justified, but necessary. —Babelfisch 01:01, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree that there is justification for a section on missionary activities. However, as far as I can see the only parts of the current section under the heading "Missionary Activity" that are referring to missionary activities are paragraphs 4 and 8, and indirectly parts of paragraph 9. The section is mostly about accusations (whose accuracy is questionable to say the least) of unethical and criminal activities - moving indigenous populations, being a "tool of imperialism", abuses and slavery, links with the US oil industry, etc. --Woodwardmw 20:08, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

I have worked with SIL as a consultant for about 5 and half years (I have resigned). I was once assigned to a highly suspicious project that claimed to be reaching out to a particularly sensitive community somewhere in Africa. I later learned that the project was being used as a cover by US intelligence agencies-apparently to get information on the activities of a terror group linked to Al-qaida. I learnt this through one of the native speakers of the language we were working on. He informed me that he was constantly put under pressure to give names of some of the war Lords active in that country(apparently so that they can be 'prayed for'). He was however suspicous because his supervisor was asking for the smallest details on the lives of these rebel leaders. I can confirm that there is definitely a link between SIL and CIA/FBI.I have experienced it first hand-and it is my experiences that led me to resign. Our supervisor was an American who was very well known and respected in the local American consulate. FrodoVoyeur (talk) 09:25, 12 February 2010(UTC)

When an editor makes such a bold claim, and uses a nom de plume, doesn't even have any user page data, it makes it hard to take any such claims seriously. This is no diferent than OR. Pete unseth (talk) 20:55, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
That's what they are, that's what they do, apart from translating bibles. —Babelfisch 01:15, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Are you saying that moving indigenous populations, being a tool of imperialism, abusing and enslaving people and colluding with the US oil industry is "what they do, apart from translating bibles"? To quote the SIL website, "SIL’s linguistic investigation exceeds 1,800 languages spoken by over 1.2 billion people in more than 70 countries.[2]" Do you have any evidence to support your statement that "that [the above mentioned activities] is what they do, apart from translating bibles"? --Woodwardmw 20:39, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
You can chose to ignore the evidence, or read some of the books and articles in the reference section. I recommend these three in particular:
* Colby/Dennett (1995), Thy Will Be Done.
* Hvalkof/Aaby (1981), Is God an American?
* Stoll (1983), Fishers of Men or Founders of Empire?
The accusations are well documented.
To balance the whole thing, I'd propose to expand the section on linguistics, because SIL has indeed developed special methods in ethnolinguistics—all taylored to missionary work, of course—, such as tagmemics and bible translation software. There should also be a section on their training programmes. —Babelfisch 02:16, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing out those references. I don't have time to look into them now but I'll believe you that they offer similar allegations. I realise that there is a certain amount of anti-SIL literature, and this should be reflected in the article, I was just concerned that the prominence of the allegations in the article were not giving a balanced view of the organisation as a whole. The fact that these allegations and their denial take up more of the article than discussion of the linguistic work I think is misleading to the reader, given that this is supposed to be an encyclopaedic summary of the organisation.
I think expanding the section on linguistics would be a positive move, as would the rewrite of this section proposed by Drmaik. I'm not sure that I have time for that at the moment either though...! --Woodwardmw 21:19, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

It looks like there's more agreement in favour of a serious rewrite of this section than against. It would be best to bring any major proposed changes here, and we could discuss substance. I'm not sure I want to propose a rewrite myself right now, though! --Drmaik 21:18, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

According to a New York Times article written in 1981 President Jaime Roldos died in a plane crash, not a helicopter crash. I recommend taking this out of the article all together. SIL had nothing to do with the crash and John Perkins gets it wrong in the book (not surprising). --Eston Taylor 9:52, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

I recently edited the article on Roldós, and Ecuadoran media also state that it was a fixed-wing plane. Also, the crash occurred in bad weather over mountainous terrain - hardly mysterious. I agree that as a charge that gets basic facts wrong it has no place in this article. Ergative rlt 20:53, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

As to John Perkin's rumors: (I didn't know that data clearly identified as a rumor had any place in Wikipedia, except, of course, in the article "rumor". let me quote "Rumors abounded... ... donated food heavily laced with laxatives" This is an oooold urban legend, which actually does have a basis of truth, but if Perkins has any hard data, he makes sure he does not indicate it. The origins of the story: when the Alliance for Progress sent food donations to Latin America, a primary product, especially for children who were malnourished was powdered milk. Sounds obvious, does it not? Malnourished kids, give'em milk, so they get a chance to grow strong like we have it here at the old USA. Problem is, Amerindians are highly lactose intolerant, see lactose intolerance. Wikipedia's article on it does not show data for South America, but genetics in the Altiplano is quite close to the US Prairies. All you needed, then, is some well-intentioned, ignorant gringoes to make a tragic mistake. No need for "heavily laced laxatives". lactose intolerance is still poorly understood. Bustos (Rev Ped Chil) might disagree, yet pretty much everybody else I've googled agrees with my own experience, i.e, us with Andean genes better stay away from cow milk if we don't want to, well, you know what and it's not pretty. Taboada, in J Med Genet follows a better methodology than Bustos, anyway, and proves my point, in a more serious journal. (Taboada mentions up to 77% of youth to be lactose intolerant over there). yamaplos 01:42, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

The controversy section is huge and appears disproportionate to the overall scope of the organization. It would appear it needs to be more condensed to retain the main points without listing each complaint received or rumored. 05:50, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

I find that the controversy section has no related reference to any missionary activites, but rather a chunk of text regarding John Perkins. Does the fact that SIL International does missionary work (translating the bible) in itself a controversy? If so then so be it. But all in all this page needs to be re-written. Furthermore, though interesting, I don't think rumored stories have any place in this. Rather than large quotes, I think that a reference and a link would be better suited for the John Perkins story. Mangiraikos 07:08, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

The "Controversy" section in its current (mutilated) state is completely useless. The only criticism of SIL that remains are rather vague allegations of using a scientific name to conceal its religious agenda and capitalist view. (Are they really trying to conceal their religious agenda?) Then it goes on to say that they have been expelled from various countries, but not for what reasons. No mention at all of their alleged collusion with the CIA and fascist regimes. There's a number of sources on that in the literature list, but nothing in the article itself. As I understand Wikipedia, criticism should be included in an article even if there is no proof, if the controversy itself is a notable event. Another controversy that should at least be mentioned is about the role of this religious (thus IMO anti-scientific) organization in the linguistic scientific community[3].-- (talk) 18:27, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Obviously, I don't share your opinion. The section is not mutilated, as compared to its previous state, but rather cleaned up, without all unreferenced claims. The article mentioned SIL's connection to the CIA only in the "Denouncement of Patzcuaro" reference, which appeared to be a non-entity, which is why it was removed. It would be good if you could cite the policy of Wikipedia which gives justification to your understanding that it is right to include unproven criticism. I'm fairly sure there is no such policy, but there certainly is this rule, which should prevent you from doing so. Anyway, I agree that it is noteworthy that SIL was accused of working for the CIA and fascist regimes. A short sentence, stating that fact, with the proper in-line citation of a source that really makes this claim, should take care of this. So far there has been no such statement in this article, as far as I can recall. I certainly have not deleted one. The same is true about the "anti-scientific" nature of SIL. If this claim has been made in the literature, make a statement to that effect, with a proper in-line citation, and all is well. What you should not do, however, is to cite many paragraphs out of these sources and shift the focus of the article entirely back to rumored criticism of SIL. It is perfectly ok in Wikipedia to state that someone or something is controversial, and why. But it will not do to roll out all the controversies in the article, especially when they are not covered by first-rate sources. By the way, the article you linked is very interesting, but I would not use it as a witness to your claim that SIL is "anti-scientific". It rather gives the opposite impression. What makes secular linguists uneasy, according to this article, is the Christian motivation behind the scientific work, and the fact that secular linguists seem to rely on the work of little-loved SIL. Which, as another aside, paints too bleak a picture. I know many secular linguists doing excellent work on indigenous languages, who have no connection to SIL. Landroving Linguist (talk) 22:21, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Five speared[edit]

I've removed the sentence, "As early as 1956, the Huaorani fought back and speared five SIL missionaries.".

The Wikipedia page for Nate_Saint was with Mission_Aviation_Fellowship.

-- DanielVonFange 15:41, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming were with Christian Missions in Many Lands.

Roger Youderian was from Gospel Missionary Union (Now know as Avant). ( : Page 7)

DanielVonFange 16:28, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

There are several sources that say that they were led by SIL - see the references in the article. — Babelfisch 01:40, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, that's a common misperception, one that has been repeated in many anti-SIL works (and which is frankly a give-away that those authors didn't do their homework). DanielVonFange correctly states that none of the five was an SIL missionary, and this is heavily documented in the books that came out in the evangelical press at the time (e.g. Through Gates of Splendor, by Elisabeth Elliot, first published 1956-1957) when there was no reason to hide any SIL involvement. (There was little or no controversy about SIL at that time.) If someone can find issues of Life magazine from that time, the fact that the five men were not SIL members could probably be documented from that source, too. In fact, from what I've heard talking later to some of the SIL missionaries who had been in Ecuador in 1956, SIL actually recommended against these other missions sending the five men in; SIL thought it was premature. (Disclaimer: I'm a former SIL member.)
What is true is that one of the five--Nate Saint--was the brother of Rachel Saint, and Rachel was a member of SIL. Rachel later made safe contact with members of the Waorani tribe, and worked among them for many years as an SIL member. Other SIL members later joined Rachel and lived there, and for many years no one outside of SIL learned the Wao language. (Not true today, of course.) Mcswell (talk) 05:12, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Scholarship integrity[edit]

As a complete novice to the study of languages (original training in medicine) I find myself somewhat disconcerted by the entry in Wikipedia on SIL. I was unaware that such an impressive collation of world languages existed while reading the parent article but upon reading the full entry on SIL, find myself unsure as to whether or not the political activities of the organisation (alleged or otherwise) have had a impact on the scholarship of its work. I request some clarity with regards SIL's scholarship integrity. Thank you. Anjum Madani (Dublin, Ireland) / 12:04, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't see any criticism of SIL's academic work in the article. But the fact that you begin to doubt it amply demonstrates the lack of balance in this article. SIL does good linguitic work: I've not heard that challenged as a general principle. Critics focus on motivation and the manner of some of the interaction with language communities. But the scholarship is fine. There's also more room for SIL's contributions to linguistics in this article.

--Drmaik 09:35, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Aplogies for discussion deletion[edit]

It was not my intention to delete previous discussion, just add a headline over the newest comment. I pressed edit by the lowest headline, added a new headline above the new comment, and saved. I closed the window as soon as it was saved, and did not look. I tried to replicate this behavior on a test page, but have been unable to do so. Sorry! -- DanielVonFange 04:43, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

rewrite of opening section[edit]

I've tried to do a bit of tidy up of the opening section, reducing it to 2 paragraphs. I think the relationship with Wycliffe Bible Translators means the POV claim about SIL being an evangelical missionary organisation can be removed at this point - a relationship is there, we can all agree. And I think any special relationship with New Tribes needs more justification. Overall the article is biased towards an anti-SIL view, which needs some work. Of course the criticisms need to be there, and referenced, but the tone isn't NPOV yet.

--Drmaik 16:58, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

changes of 23 June[edit]

A note on why I reverted many of the recent changes. As above, saying SIL is a missionary organisation is POV, but the relationship with Wycliffe BT is clear and non controversial. Which is why this needs to be before the mention of the Ethnologue, which needs a little explanation. And to call all members scholars would not be accurate. Splitting into 2 paragraphs was a good idea, I think. --Drmaik 05:48, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

proposal to remove controversy linguistics section[edit]

This section concerns the ethnologue rather than SIL as such, and is repeated in that entry. So I propose deleting it while leaving a link to the relevant section in the ethnologue entry. But let's discuss it first.

--Drmaik 17:13, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

The Ethnologue database is a SIL publication and reflects their research. I don't think the separation makes sense. —Babelfisch 01:01, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, may be a very brief summary of the controversy would be better placed in the Ethnologue and SIL code section, which gives a better context for the criticisms, and leads people to a fuller discussion if they are interested. --Drmaik 10:00, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Disappointed about the reinisertion of linguistics contoversy section with no mentio in discussion: there is now mention of this in the section on the Ethnologue, where it bleongs, with a link to the identical passage (which has problems of its own, BTW). If there's no response, I'll delete it later on in the week. It would be good to have other opinions as well. --Drmaik 16:18, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I disagree with the deletion and the question is not settled, so I've re-inserted the paragraph. The discussion is not yet over, is it? It is SIL International that does the research and makes the decisions; Ethnologue is just a publication outlet for that research. —Babelfisch 09:15, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the Ethnologue is an SIL publication. That's why I inserted a short paragraph about what it does with a summary of and link to the criticism in the Ethnologue entry. And that section says 'see ethnologue entry' at the top. My point is that all criticisms must be proportionate: the criticism in the Ethnologue full artcile is within a larger context of the whole entry. However, in this (SIL) article there are only a few other lines on the Ethnologue. In this context (the SIL article) the criticism is disprorportionate. Read the article on NPOV: it's quite evident that the current balance on Ethnologue is not balanced. If you want to edit the additonal part I wrote, fine. But the linguistics controversy section (solely discussing the Ethnologue, not the other linguistic work, which might be more appropriate) needs to go. And yes, let's keep talking. Anyone else here but Bablefisch and myself? --Drmaik 23:03, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Drmaik that the criticism of the Ethnologue is disproportionate. It may have a place on the Ethnologue page, but I don't think it should be classed as linguistic controversy on the SIL page. In my opinion the paragraph "Ethnologue and the SIL Code" gives a balanced summary of the Ethnologue with links to the Ethnologue page for more details and criticism. Any other opinions? Woodwardmw 16:24, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

I've just done a partial reorganisation, including removing the linguistics controversy section, but making the link to that section in the Ethnologue article clearer. It should not be reinstituted without a better rationale or support from others. --Drmaik 23:25, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

I just read this article and would like to make the following recommendations:
1. The majority of "Ethnologue and the SIL code" has little to do with SIL and should be moved or the reader pointed to the Ethnologue article for further reading.
2. The "Controversy" section needs to be summarized. Long quotes with wild claims and the rebuttal need to be replaced with summaries.
Rearden9 15:33, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
I moved some information which was specific to the Ethnologue to the main Ethnologue article. Rearden9 13:58, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Victor Halterman?[edit]

Never heard of him. A web search on the name suspiciously only throws up the same quote in a few anti-missionary websites. Was the quote from Norman Lewis? If so, it should be referenced: what was there, including the comment, was taken directly from another website. --Drmaik 20:38, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Given that we have no sources at all for this guy's existence, let alone his standing to make authoritative statements about SIL, I say we should delete all the text relating to him. I'll do so in a few days unless someone produces some verifiable, reliable sources for that material. Cheers, CWC(talk) 17:18, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Here's the text, which I've now deleted:
Victor Halterman of SIL has explained SIL methods to change traditional patterns of livelihood:
When we learn of the presence of an uncontacted group, we move into the area, build a strong shelter — say of logs — and cut paths radiating from it into the forest. We leave gifts along these paths — knives, axes, mirrors, the kind of things the Indians can't resist — and sometimes they leave gifts in exchange. After a while the relationship develops. Maybe they are mistrustful at first but in the end they stop running when we show, and we get together and make friends.
We have to break their dependency on us next. Naturally they want to go on receiving all these desirable things we've been giving them, and sometimes it comes as a surprise when we explain that from now on if they want to possess them they must work for money. We don't employ them but we usually fix them up with something to do on the local farms. They settle down at it when they realise there's no going back."
Please do not restore this without producing verifiable, reliable sources for the claims that Victor Halterman (1) exists and (2) has worked for SIL and (3) has some standing to speak of SIL's policies towards uncontacted groups and (4) is a reliable source re those policies.

Nobel Peace Prize[edit]

I removed the following line: "Dr. Pike was nominated fifteen consecutive years (1982-1996) for the Nobel Peace Prize." According to the Nobel Peace Prize page, this is not an official distinction - the Nobel people don't release the list of nominees, and nominators are asked not to, as well. Furthermore, dozens of people are nominated by a wide range of nominators; the fifteen consecutive years could have easily been one random professor nominating him each year (and, since nominators aren't supposed to reveal their picks, it's hard to believe that a wide range of people leaked so that 15 solid years were covered). It's a misleading and possibly questionable distinction, but if anyone has any objection to the removal, they're free to put it back in. Bamos 22:46, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

allegations and denials[edit]

I removed this paragraph:

(NOTE: Allegations about SIL in Ecuador arose in the 1970s, after serious exploitation of oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin began in the late 1960s; and SIL's claims that Perkins made "egregious errors in fact and presents false statements about SIL's activities in Ecuador in the 1950-60s" therefore do not apply. Conspicuously, SIL's response on their web site, noted above, does NOT specifically deny the accusations which Perkins reports for the actual time period when they were alleged to have occurred, starting in the 1970s).

The paragraph draws conclusions about the accusations and denials that are less than obvious, at least from reading the excerpts that are quoted in the article. SIL does claim to have had a positive working relationship with the Ecuadorian government and people up through 1992; that looks to me like a denial of egregious wrongdoing for the full time period. Also, the quotes from Perkins seem vague about the years being discussed; perhaps the longer work they were taken from is more specific. Wesley 17:42, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes, that sure looks like Original Research to me, which is not allowed in our articles. Cheers, CWC(talk) 20:00, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

--chronology is important--by Frederik Voute.

I've just read Perkins book, and have read the article and discussion. Also i've done some internet research.

The planecrash occurred after president Roldos of Ecuador had just expelled SIL out of Ecuador. Perkins thinks/concludes in his book that it is the Oil-companies that are the most likely intigators of any murderplot against Roldos. Because SIL was expelled in concert with the presentation of Roldos's new policy which threathened the interests of the big oil companies (in this case mainly Texaco) it is understandable why some of you would think this (SIL having to do anything with the murderplot) is what Perkins claims in his book. Clearly, it is not.

The reason Roldos expelled SIL however is because he had become convinced SIL was in league with the oil-companies. That is documented history. Not soon after Roldos took steps against big oil And SIL, he was killed in a planecrash. As far as the role of SIL goes: when a president of a country makes these allegations, the least that should be mentioned in this article on SIL is that it as an organisation has been implicated in dubious practices.

Let's not be naive about the role of big oil in the world and how US policy supports that role. Several democratically elected leaders in Latin America were killed soon after their nationalistic policies became threats to these US-interests. If you don't believe now that this is how the global empire came about, see the BBC-documentary on the coup versus Hugo Chavez.

Babelfisch, do not let these SIL-guys censor you. Good job. -FV —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 23:59, 3 September 2006 (talkcontribs)

"implicated in dubious practices" is hardly an NPOV rendering. And just because Roldos believed SIL was involved doesn't mean they were. It could neutrally be mentioned that he believed that, but anything that implies that they actually were involved goes beyond the scope of the evidence. - JB


it would be nice to see the citations done properly per WP:CITE. without it it makes the article look sloppy. --Tainter 01:17, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

some clean-up edits[edit]

Over the past few days I have done a few clean-up edits to the article - removing a dead link, removing a double reference, and adding a couple of tags where I think the article is not up to Wikipedia standards. Since I am a member of SIL myself, I cannot claim to have a neutral point of view on this, and I advise you to check carefully whether these edits were justified according to Wikipedia policies or just advancing my own POV. Landroving Linguist (talk) 11:51, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Today I reverted an edit that provided a source intended to support the claim that SIL was involved in the relocation of the Huaorani people, which allegedly resulted in many killings. I checked out the source and found that the website does not make any statements to the above effect. It certainly accuses SIL of subverting the Huaorani culture and serving them bad theology, but there is no claim that SIL was involved in relocating or killing Huaorani people. Frankly, I think the claim in the article is very serious, and completely unsupported. Adding a source that accuses SIL of something, but not of the deeds alleged to in the article, does not justify removing the fact tag. That should explain my revert action. Landroving Linguist (talk) 13:37, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Ok, I made the taggings nearly a year ago, and not much has happened to improve the section missionary activities with respect to providing sources. I really shouldn't be the person to do this, since I am clearly not without POV, but also it seems that nobody else is taking care of this. My point is, of course, that the accusations made here against SIL are pretty serious. "moving indigenous populations from their native land", "which resulted in many deaths" and "reservations controlled by the missionaries" amounts to a charge of genocide, commited by an organization which publicly claims to be of a philanthropic nature. This kind of serious accusation requires, according to the rules of Wikipedia, some exceptionally good sources, but all we read here is that it is "well known". Not enough, by any standards.

Therefore I propose to rewrite the section Missionary activities as follows:

Missionary activities[edit]

At a conference of the Inter-American Indian Institute in Mérida, Yucatán, in November 1980, delegates denounced the Summer Institute of Linguistics for using a scientific name to conceal its religious agenda and capitalist worldview that was alien to indigenous traditions[1].

In 1979, SIL's agreement with the Mexican government was officially terminated, but it continued to be active in that country[2]. The same happened in 1980 in Ecuador[3], although a token presence remained. Remnants of SIL presence were protested in every subsequent Native South American uprising[4]. In the early 1990s, the newly-formed organisation of indigenous people of Ecuador CONAIE once more demanded the expulsion of SIL from the country[5]. By the 1980s, [SIL] was expelled from Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, and Panama, and restricted in Colombia and Peru[6].

Today, according to SIL's annual report, it is funded by donations from individuals, churches, and other organizations, channeled to SIL by the Wycliffe Bible Translators[7]

As you can see, I have removed all claims to genocide, all hearsay reports on oil-and-coffee-company financing, and the unreferenced quote of "The Denouncement of Pátzcuaro" - I googled this and found nothing relevant - I'm sure this document exists, but here it is just a quote without a reference, which does not add anything substantial to the better referenced statement by the Inter-American Indian Institute.

I will wait a few weeks to see if I can get any reaction on this proposal. If nobody provides high-quality sources supporting the claims made in the article, and nobody removes the unreferenced claims, who is less suspicious of POV than I am, then I will proceed with the edit as outlined here.


  1. ^ Bonner 1999, p. 20
  2. ^ Clarke, p. 182
  3. ^ Yashar 2005, p. 118
  4. ^ Cleary/Steigenga 2004, p. 37
  5. ^ Yashar 2005, p. 146
  6. ^ Cleary/Steigenga 2004, p. 36
  7. ^

- Landroving Linguist (talk) 13:25, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

SIL's main purposes do NOT include Bible translation?[edit]

According to the intro of the article, SIL's "main purpose is to study, develop and document lesser-known languages, in order to expand linguistic knowledge, promote literacy and aid minority language development."

I find it rather amazing that Bible translation is not mentioned here, given that this is the very reason for SIL's existence, as well as the ultimate goal of all its linguistic activities. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:53, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

SIL's work includes helping people with the creation of all kinds of books, and this happens to include Bible translations. A friend of mine who works for SIL told me that there are languages whose native speakers don't want to read the Bible, and for these languages, there is no Bible translation project that SIL could support altough SIL uses to work on these languages anyway. I don't see how SIL's main purpose could be considered Bible translation given that SIL works on certain languages without supporting a Bible translation project. -- (talk) 02:08, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
The article certainly needs to explain the relation to Wycliffe Bible Translators and the fact that most SIL linguists do work on Bible translation.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:32, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Keep focused on SIL[edit]

The article is about the organization, SIL International, which undertakes a number of activities in the field of linguistics, which are highly respected universally by professional linguists. Everyone uses their database. In this article we are not and should not be concerned with Christian missionary activities, pros and cons, possible connections of the aforesaid missionaries with military intelligence gathering of the United States or any other nation, any fringe emotional reactions or paranoid accusations and articles concerning any suspected such activities by social activists or enemies of the United States or enemies of Christianity, missionary work or Jesus Christ. I'd like to know just how this organization is supposed to do its work if it cannot go anywhere and collect language data? I'd like to know how we are going to get an acceptable article about this LINGUISTICS organization if all this paranoid emotionalism is allowed to muddy up the waters? In reponse to the tags I will be removing a good many of the extensive biblio items and links that have little or nothing to do with a LINGUISTICS organization and are not used for any references and I appreciate it if you would take your various agonies somewhere more appropriate. Thanks.Dave (talk) 19:25, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

If SIL were only a linguistics organization, your position would be acceptable. Unfortunately for the integrity of indigenous cultures, SIL is not only a linguistics organization. This need not be dwelt upon extensively IMO, but the opening paragraphs that speak of SIL's purpose should definitely include prominent mention of missionary activities. To not include this is dishonest, thus unacceptable.

I looked at this after a long while. The article looks better. I think we are improving. I will be giving it a good check at some point. I don't particularly give a rat's tail whether YOU think MY position is acceptable or not. I will tell you what is dishonest, and also is unacceptable to WP, and that is not to sign your posts with the 4 tilde's as is requested by WP. Do you think you are going snipe at us from the bushes? The critics of SIL have glaring unobjective agendas so don't give us the baloney about honesty and dishonesty. You're the worst offender. SIL appears extensively throughout WP. The language articles depend heavily on it. Whatever missionary work it may undertake cannot be either espoused or denigrated by WP, which demands - demands, I say - a NPOV. To take an organization mainly of linguistic interest to us and turn it into some kind of trumpeting before the walls of Jericho, so to speak, is just what WP does not want. If you have something non-objective to say go say it somewhere else. No one is concealing anything here or trying to conceal anything here. So SIL may have or may have had some other agendas. Those are not of interest. We want their language agenda. Christianity has a place along with all the other creeds and religions, so what? Why don't you be honest about YOUR agenda? I wouldn't expect to see much mention of Christianity in this article either pro or con, so get off it. Don't forget to sign your posts, since you are so passionate for honesty, my passionaria.Dave (talk) 02:48, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately what you say is not only incorrect but also ignores theorganizatoins own statements about itself. SIL was founded specifically as a way for the Wycliffe Bible Translators to get into then anti-religious Mexico. It is still and has always been a project of missionaries - some of whom today are also linguists. The first many decades of SIL's work there were no preofessionbal linguists - still many SIL linguists have little formal training. Secondly the article should reflect the literature not what you find to be of interest. There is a large body of literature criticizing SIL on linguistic, ideological and political grounds. It needs to be represented balancedly in this article - just like the historical and present ties between SIL and missionary activities does. It i correct that SIL materials are often used by linguists - more often that is however not because of its quality but because it is the only stuff available for most languages. If you read linguistic materials you will note that SIL materials will often be noted - but rarely approvingly. Their software for documentation is widely used - but again because it is free and has been developed specifically for a purpose few other organization develops software for. NPOV requires us to describe both the critiques and the supportiive statements balancedly. It doesn't require us to ignore half of SIL's history and half of the literature about it. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:42, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
A point of correction to Maunus: SIL was founded before Wycliffe, not the scenario you described.Pete unseth (talk) 11:37, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Read Todd Hartch's missionaries of the state. It may be the case that SIL was founded first and wycliffe was separated out when they moved into Mexico rather than the other way round - I'd read up on that but the scenario I am describing is basically correct. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 11:59, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
What does this have to do with the "integrity of indigenous cultures"? -- (talk) 12:04, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

I've added just a couple of short things.[edit]

They're not unsourced or unreasonable, they represent the concerns shown in Epps, Patience (2005). Language endangerment in Amazonia: The role of missionaries. Bedrohte Vielfalt: Aspects of Language Death, edited by Jan Wolgemuth and Tyko Dirksmeyer, Berliner Beiträge zur Linguistik, Berlin: Weissensee.

I don't think it's reasonable to not include such criticisms, since they claim, with evidence, that SIL is doing the exact opposite of what it claims. (talk) 00:06, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

I have no problems with your edit, since at least you provide a good published source for your claim, and it is not blown out of proportion with the rest of the article. Obviously, I do not agree with Epps, but to include her here is appropriate, as far as I can see. By the way, there is now also an interesting series of articles discussing the work of SIL in Language, Vol 85, no.3 (2009), pp. 618-658. Particularly these articles (including one co-authored by Epps), edited by Lise Dobrin, discuss the question to which extent SIL is a missionary organization or really does what it claims to do. Landroving Linguist (talk) 08:29, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I have not seen that article, but I'll take a look. It would be an appropriate source of additional information. (talk) 18:05, 7 April 2010 (UTC)


Here are some sources to be used for the article. They all describe SIL as both a missionary and a linguistic organization. Many of them are very critical and some are supporting.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:55, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

  • Barros, María Cândida Drumond Mendes. 2004 O contexto político e intelectual da entrada do "Summer Institute of Linguistics" na America Latina (1930-1960) [The Political and Intellectual Context of the Entrance of the Summer Institute of Linguistics to Latin America (1930-1960)]. Revista Internacional de Linguistica Iberoamericana 4:149-210.
  • Bonfil Batalla, Guillermo, Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, Lourdes Arizpe, and Silvia Gómez Tagle. 1977 La declaración de Barbados II y comentarios. Nueva Antropología 7:109-25.
  • Dobrin, Lise M. 2009. SIL International and the Disciplinary Culture of Linguistics: Introduction. Language 85(3):618-619.
  • Errington, Joseph. 2001. Colonial Linguistics. Annual Review of Anthropology 30:19-39.
  • Errington, Joseph. 2003. Getting Language Rights: The Rhetorics of Language Endangerment and Loss. American Anthropologist 105(4):723-732.
  • Handman, Courtney. 2007. Access to the Soul: Native Language and Authenticity in Papua New Guinea Bible Translation. In Consequences of Contact: Language Ideologies and Sociocultural Transformations in Pacific Societies. M. Makihara and B.B. Schieffelin, eds. Pp. 166-188. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Handman, Courtney. 2009. Language Ideologies, Endangered-Language Linguistics, and Christianization. Language 85(3):635-639.
  • Hartch, Todd. 2006, Missionaries of the State: The Summer Institute of Linguistics, State Formation, and Indigenous Mexico, 1935–1985. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.
  • Headland, Thomas N. 2001. Kenneth Lee Pike (1912-2000). American Anthropologist 103(2):505-509.
  • Hvalkof, Søren, Peter Aaby (eds). 1981Is God an American?: An Anthropological Perspective on the Missionary Work of the Summer Institute of Linguistics. Copenhagen: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA).
  • Kray, Christine. 2004. The Summer Institute of Linguistics and the Politics of Bible Translation in Mexico: Convergence, Appropriation, and Consequence. In Pluralizing Ethnography: Comparison and Representation in Maya Cultures, Histories, and Identities. J.M. Watanabe and E.F. Fischer, eds. Pp. 95-125. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press.
  • Olson, Kenneth S. 2009. SIL International: An Emic View. Language 85(3):646-658.
  • Smith, Richard Chase. 1981. The Summer Institute of Linguistics: Ethnocide Disguised as a Blessing. In Is God an American?: An Anthropological Perspective on the Missionary Work of the Summer Institute of Linguistics. S. Hvalkof, P. Aaby, and Summer Institute of Linguistics., eds. Pp. 121-132. Copenhagen: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA).
  • Stoll, David. 1982. Fishers of Men or Founders of Empire?: The Wycliffe Bible Translators in Latin America. London: Zed Press.
  • Svelmoe, William L. 2009. "We Do Not Want to Masquerade as Linguists"; A Short History of SIL and the Academy. Language 85(3):629-635.
  • Wonderly, William L., and Eugene A. Nida. 1963 Linguistics and Christian Missions. Anthropological Linguistics 5(1):104-144.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:55, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

Recent changes and removal of sourced criticism[edit]

I have rewritten the lead to give a more adequate summary of the article, and I have restructured the body to give more flow. I have also expanded the criticism section by summarizing some of the prominent critical works about the organization and provide some of SIL's own responses to the critiques. Some editors have been removing sourced criticism either without giving reasons or with the reason that a specific source is not providing solid evidence for the critique. That is not a valid grounds for removal - inclusion of viewpoints is determined by the notability of the viewpoint, not whether we agree or disagree with them or whether we consider them to be well supported. In the case of "Thy Will be Done" there are works and reviews discussing the book critically and their conclusions can be included to balance the arguments of the book, but the book is clearly a notable work about SIL and hence should be mentioned. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:33, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

See also[edit]

Maunus would you please explain why you removed Christina Krüsi as a see also? Thanks.Jytdog (talk) 01:43, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Because she is not meaningfully related to this organization. Her experiences are related to individuals, not to the organization. There are many other people who have written criticism of SIL who are equally notable. If we were to add critics as "see also" items, which is itself not obviously a good idea, critics whose "beef" is with the organization would be a better choice than her. We also don't add "Ted Nugent" as a see also at "Republican Party", or "Monica Lewinsky" as a see also to the democratic party. It looks like coatracking. If you insist on including her, you should file an RfC. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 01:56, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Hi thanks for replying. WP:COATRACK would be if I added a big bunch of content to this article about SIL abusing people. I do see what you mean about the existence of the link being critical. In my view there is a distinction between this link and the examples you give, which would indeed be POINTY. I see that. But the abuse that Krüsi suffered occurred at a facility in Bolivia run and established by SIL, and if you look at this statement by Wycliffe Switzerland, it says: "Unsere Partnerorganisation SIL, unter deren Verantwortung die Schule in Tumi Chucua geführt wurde und die auch die Aufarbeitung der Übergriffe leitet, hat sich bei allen Opfern persönlich entschuldigt." My translation: Our partner organization SIL, under whose responsibility the school in Tumi Chucua was administered, and which also directed the investigation of the assaults, has personally apologized to all victims." (Google translate version). Further, that investigation took place in the mid-2000s. In 2006 SIL, together with New Tribes Mission, formed the Child Protection and Safety Network to ensure children in missions are protected ( see about page) I don't know if you knew that. Now that you do, do you change your stance on the see also link? I won't jump to an RfC until we talk more and others can weigh in; doing it now is premature. Jytdog (talk) 17:32, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I had read the article on Krüsi before removing the link. If there is sufficient coverage the apology can be included in the text - I think a sentence with a link to Krüsi might be justified - certainly it is better than simply a see also link with no context. I think Daniel Everett would be a better see also link - his break with and critique of SIL I think is both more relevant and more notable than Krüsi's book - especially because he actually critiques the organization and its work, not crimes committed by some of its members.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 22:28, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
The facility in Bolivia was under the control of SIL. "some of its members" misses the boat. I don't agree but I am dropping this as my argument is as tenuous as yours and disagreements like this are not resolveable rationally and just become stupid.. Jytdog (talk) 22:34, 26 January 2016 (UTC)