Applied Linguistics Department (AL)

The Applied Linguistics Department offers introductory and advanced courses in linguistics, biblical languages, and translation.  Our alumni often serve internationally as specialists and consultants in their field. Many work among minority language communities with the specialized training that they receive.

What is Applied Linguistics? Linguistics is the scientific study of language and it can be quite different from basic language learning.  A linguist looks at the structure of a language (word order, affixes, etc.), the sound systems (phonetics, phonology), as well as the meaning of words, phrases, and longer texts (semantics, discourse).  Our course and program offerings are “applied” as they prepare students for hands-on research and fieldwork in any language worldwide.

Programs   |   Courses   |   Faculty 

Degrees & Programs

Certificate in Applied Linguistics

The Certificate in Applied Linguistics gives students a strong foundation in language learning and linguistic analysis.  Many graduate students begin their studies at GIAL with the certificate program before starting the MA degree.

MA with Major in Applied Linguistics

The MA with a major in Applied Linguistics is one of the leading programs for minority language Bible translation. Our graduates are prepared to tackle many of the linguistic challenges that face translators and language workers around the world. Concentrations: Bible TranslationCross-Cultural ServiceDescriptive Linguistics


The Applied Linguistics Department offers a variety of courses for degree requirements and electives.  Some of our more popular courses include:

AL4302 Principles of Articulatory and Acoustic Phonetics

Using an augmented subset of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), students will be able to identify, mimic, and transcribe sounds and prosodies in normal human speech and to describe the mechanisms by which a speaker produces these sounds.  Students will also be introduced to basic techniques of acoustic analysis.

AL5312 Discourse Analysis

After completing this course, students will be able to analyze the discourse structure of a text, using a specific approach to text analysis. They will be able to describe typical features of different types of prominence and cohesion and coherence. They will be able to chart sample texts from different languages and analyze how a discourse may be segmented into hierarchical units. They will be able to indicate evidence for foregrounding and backgrounding (or mainline and supportive information) including differences in verb forms; to describe topic or participant reference; and to investigate constituent order variation.  They will focus on the interface between syntactic forms and their functions in discourse as they investigate grammatical structures of discourse, paragraph, sentence, and clause.

AL5315 Semantics and Pragmatics (On-campus/Synchronous)

After completing this course, students will be able to explain and discuss relationships between form and meaning at various levels of language. They will be able to explain the difference between meaning and reference; describe and identify homonymy, polysemy, and ambiguity; analyze and describe word meanings, sentence meanings, utterance meanings and speech act functions; identify and describe presuppositions, entailments, implicature and ellipsis; identify components of meaning and write clear definitions based on componential analysis.

AL5316 Theory and Practice of Translation (On-campus/Synchronous)

Upon completing this course, students will explain and practice the principles of transferring meaning across languages and cultures. They will be conversant with different translation theories and approaches. They will critically analyze the meaning of a text from another language, translate that text, and evaluate the result for accuracy, communicative effectiveness, and naturalness. They will be conversant with methods for training and facilitating national colleagues in the translation process. They will recognize common translation problems and apply standard methods for solving them. They will access current literature on translation theory and practice and the tools most commonly used by professional Bible translators.

AL5324 Principles of New Testament Exegesis

After completing this course, students will be able to describe the principles of sound exegesis, and will have applied these principles to the study of selected texts from at least three different New Testament genres. They will be able to describe the basic issues in New Testament textual criticism and will have had experience in recognizing, describing, and choosing between alternative exegetical interpretations. They will have exegeted a short New Testament book, or, in the case of longer books, a discourse unit comprising several chapters of a book.

AL5406 Field Methods and Linguistic Analysis

By the end of Field Methods and Linguistic Analysis, students will be able to elicit, record, and transcribe linguistic data by working with a speaker of a non-western language; use external sources plus the elicited data to formulate explanatory hypotheses; test those hypotheses against available data and refine them.

AL Department Faculty


Michael E. Boutin, Associate Professor

Applied Linguistics, Department Head
PhD, University of Florida, 1994; MA, University of Texas at Arlington, 1980; BA, University of New Mexico, 1979.
Field work: Malaysia
Languages spoken: Malay, Bonggi


Paul R. Kroeger, Professor

Applied Linguistics
PhD, Stanford University, 1991; MA, University of Texas at Arlington, 1981; BS, Yale University, 1975.
Field work: Malaysia, Singapore
Languages spoken: Malay, Kimaragang


Steve Parker, Associate Professor

Applied Linguistics
PhD, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2002; MA, University of Texas at Arlington, 1988; BA, Indiana University, 1980.
Field work: Peru, Papua New Guinea
Languages spoken: Spanish, Tok Pisin


Arden G. Sanders, Assistant Professor

Applied Linguistics
PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1988; MA, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1983; MA, University of Texas at Arlington, 1976; BA, Friends University, 1974.
Field work: Papua New Guinea
Languages spoken: Kamasau, Tok Pisin


Ervin Starwalt, Assistant Professor

Applied Linguistics
PhD, University of Texas at Arlington, 2005; STM, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1986; MDiv, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1975; BS, University of Arkansas, 1971.
Field work: Nigeria