ELL: New SIL Alias

Bill Poser Bill_Poser at bc.sympatico.ca
Tue Sep 21 17:07:21 UTC 1999

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Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 10:07:21 -0700
From: Bill Poser <Bill_Poser at bc.sympatico.ca>
To: endangered-languages-l at carmen.murdoch.edu.au
Subject: Re: ELL: New SIL Alias
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This thread about a new SIL alias is based on the premise that the New
Tribes Mission is the same organization as the SIL. Does anyhow have any
evidence that this is in fact the case? My understanding is that they
are distinct. As we all know, the SIL is primarily interested in
translating the New Testament and only engages to a limited extent in
traditional evangelization. The New Tribes Mission, on the other hand,
is said to be a traditional evangelical organization. Although their
people try to learn local languages to the extent necessary to
communicate, they do not make a particular point of linguistic research
or of translating the New Testament. SIL people and NTM people do indeed
come from the same sort of evangelical background, but they seem to be
different organizations with different purposes. This is my
understanding based on a book I read some years ago called, I believe,
_The Missionaries_, which was severely critical of the NTM (virtually
accusing them of genocide). Also, I know an SIL couple here in British
Columbia whose son is with NTM in South America. From my conversations
with them, it sounds like a different outfit. The son was not involved
in translation work and did not know much about linguistics.

So, as far as I know, NTM and SIL are both part of the spectrum of
evangelical organizations, but are not the same organization. If that is
true, then whatever the virtue of these organizations (and I am neither
a Christian nor a fan of missionary activity in general), it isn't
really fair to accuse the SIL of using an "alias". What evidence is
there regarding the relationship between NTM and SIL?

Bill Poser
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