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Missionary Linguistics

The missionary linguistics courses provide complete, well-rounded preparation for language training, taught by faculty with experience in linguistics, Bible and missions work.



The course offerings are flexible to meet your needs. You can take 1, 2 or 3 sessions. In each session, chapel is daily 9:40–10:10 a.m.

First session — 2 weeks, late May

In the first session you will learn practical ways of going about the learning of languages—skills and techniques that will help you make the most of language school or learn without language school if you need to. Because different people learn somewhat differently, you will explore a number of approaches that successful language learners have used.

Li 510 Language Learning

(2 credits)
8–9:30 a.m. & 10:20 a.m.–12:05 p.m.

Second session — 4 weeks, June

The second session includes the information about languages that will give you a firm foundation for language learning. As you learn to discriminate and pronounce the kinds of sounds used in languages around the world (including tones), your aptitude for hearing and mastering sound distinctions will increase.

Similarly, as you learn about various grammatical systems, you will develop greater aptitude in the area of grammar and semantics.

Li 512 Morphology & Syntax

(2 credits)
8–9:30 a.m.

Li 511 Phonetics & Phonology

(3 credits)
10:20 a.m.–12:20 p.m.
1:15–2 p.m. (lab)

Third session — 2 weeks, early July

The third session Field Methods course is the capstone, giving you an opportunity to put into use what you learned in the first 2 sessions. Under the guidance of the instructor, you and your classmates will work with a native-speaker language helper to begin to learn a new language. You will also apply your analytical skills to figure out most of the sound system and at least the basics of the grammatical system of the language—all in just 2 weeks.

Li 513 Field Methods & Literacy

(2 credits)
8–9:30 a.m. & 10:20 a.m.–12:05 p.m.

Why take BJU’s missionary linguistics courses?

Your need to communicate well

An opportunity to improve your aptitude for learning languages

Balanced, complete course offerings

Shorter options for certain students

A thoroughly Christian approach

Teachers with a heart for missions

Teachers who are well-qualified

Personal attention

An open door

Graduate Degree Electives in Bible Translation

Most prospective missionaries take the missionary linguistics courses on the undergraduate level, but qualified college graduates can arrange to take them for graduate credit and apply them toward the Master of Arts degree in theological studies. The undergraduate and graduate classes meet together but have different requirements.

Two courses in Bible translation build on the missionary linguistics course offerings. Li 520 Bible Translation (3 credits) is a two-week course in late July, and the one-week course Li 521 Translation Technology (1 credit) follows it. These courses can be taken for graduate credit and serve as electives for the MA in theological studies.

The combination of studies in Greek and Hebrew exegesis, theology, OT and NT introduction, cultural anthropology, linguistics, and Bible translation provides ideal preparation for a ministry specializing in Bible translation.