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The Ken Pike Endowment Fund

Kenneth Lee PikeDr. Kenneth Pike, a linguist with the Summer Institute of Linguistics, is recognized world-wide for his academic achievements especially in the area of linguistics and indigenous language development. In 1996 Dr. Pike was nominated for the 15th consecutive year for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. Pike authorized a fund in his name which will provide funding for scholarships, training, travel to professional conferences, technical and academic publications, research on minority languages, and other activities designed to benefit language communities speaking endangered languages.

Context and rationale

There are currently an estimated 6,909 languages in the world. SIL International has carried out linguistic research in 2,761 languages. At present SIL is actively working in 1,504 languages, carrying out work in linguistic, literacy, community development, anthropology, and other areas.

SIL has completed linguistic and literacy work in over 400 languages. The SIL Bibliography lists 2,271 technical monographs, 339 doctoral dissertations, 433 master's theses and nearly 12,000 article-length publications. Over 13,000 local language books and booklets have been completed.

In 1935 William Cameron Townsend (the founder of SIL) led a small group of young people into Mexico to begin studying its many Amerindian languages. Among them was Kenneth L. Pike who began work that year on the Mixteco language in a remote village in the state of Oaxaca. This work launched Pike into the study of tonal systems and phonology and eventually led to his work on language and society. Kenneth Pike served as President of the Summer Institute of Linguistics until 1978. He is internationally known not only for his personal work on dozens of lesser known languages but also for stimulating thousands of other researchers to do likewise. This fund is being set up to provide a lasting tribute to Dr. Pike's enduring and pioneering leadership.

Where will the funds go?

These funds will be used to strengthen the academic work of SIL. This will include resources for scholarships, training, travel to professional conferences, technical and academic publications, research on minority languages, and other activities designed to benefit language communities speaking endangered languages. The fund will not be used to support routine administrative budgets or activities.

The fund will be an endowment, that is the capital of the fund will be invested and then the interest will be used to support funded activities, thus ensuring a continuous supply into the future.

How can I donate to this fund?