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Grace Hargis

Grace Hargis

Division of English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Science



  • PhD, Descriptive Linguistics, Indiana University - Bloomington
  • MA, English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • BA, Bible, Bob Jones University



Two recurring themes in Grace Hargis’s life are languages and missions. Though she didn’t encounter the field of linguistics until she was working on her master’s degree in English, she has always enjoyed figuring out how things work. A specialist in the history and structure of the English language, she has also had opportunity to find structure in the sounds and grammar of many languages from around the world. She especially enjoys helping students learn to think like linguists—expecting regularity in languages and knowing how to find it. She points out that language, God’s gift to us, reflects God’s nature in allowing the user to be highly creative within a framework of orderliness.    

Dr. Hargis enjoys helping students grow in their likeness to Christ and develop mastery—mastery of English as a second language, or of linguistic analysis and language learning, or of teaching English as a second language.

In addition, ever since high school Dr. Hargis has had world missions close to her heart. When she was ready to work on her doctoral dissertation in linguistics, she chose a fieldwork project in the Philippines, where she analyzed the Kalagan language. She has taught English and linguistics at Bob Jones University for 54 years, including coordinating and teaching the summer Missionary Linguistics courses since 1974. In the summers she has also looked for opportunities to contribute directly to missions. She has done fieldwork, helped missionaries with language, or taught nationals in Africa (Liberia, Togo, Niger); Asia (China, India); Oceania (the Philippines, Papua New Guinea); and Central America (Mexico). She and her husband Jim, a retired textbook illustrator at BJU Press, are active members at Faith Baptist Church in Taylors, where she sings in the choir and teaches a women’s Sunday school class.