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From the CanIL Blog

Read below for recent articles of linguistic tidbits and news from CanIL.


Danny Foster Commissioned as President of the Canada Institute of Linguistics

Dr. Mike Walrod passes the baton to the incoming president

Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL) commissioned Danny Foster as incoming president at the CanIL Presidential Transition and Commissioning held on March 29th at Trinity Western University (TWU). CanIL is a training partner of Wycliffe Bible Translators, preparing students for roles in language survey, language development, Bible translation, Scripture engagement, mother-tongue literacy and linguistic analysis. CanIL provides linguistics training for undergraduate and graduate degrees offered at Trinity Western University and ACTS Seminaries.

Dr. Michael Walrod, the President of CanIL, ceremonially handed Danny Foster the baton. The baton, carved out of wood from bookshelves that were housed at the first Canadian SIL school, held at Briercrest College in 1944, was engraved with 2 Timothy 3:15 (NIV): “You have been taught the holy scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.” Over two hundred people gathered to honour Dr. Walrod and welcome Danny, including special guests from Wycliffe Canada, SIL International, Trinity Western University and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC). The theme of the event was ‘Celebrating the past; On track for the future.’ Dr. William Lim, Chair of the CanIL Board, served as the Master of Ceremonies.

The evening commenced with greetings from Dr. Bob Wood, Provost of TWU, and from Roy Eyre, the President of Wycliffe Canada.  The after-dinner program included sharing from a 2012 CanIL alumnus currently doing linguistic survey in China, followed by a heart-warming video which traced CanIL’s historical roots from 1944 to its re-inception at TWU in 1987 and right up to the present day.  Dr. Walrod addressed the crowd, reflecting on the many people who have supported CanIL through the years and praising God for His faithfulness in sending highly motivated students so that all people have access to God’s Word in their own language. Chip Sanders, Global Director of Language Program Services for SIL International, prayed for the Walrods as they enter this next chapter of their lives.

Loise-Flore (piano) and Lynnae Wall (violin)

While Jim Giger sang “Be Thou My Vision,” the CanIL Board Directors formally affirmed the transition signing the Presidential Transition and Commissioning certificate. The baton was passed from Mike to Danny and the crowd then stood as Darcy McAlister, Personnel and Family Life Director for International Missions for PAOC, and Dr. John Watters, President of SIL International, led the commissioning prayer. Danny then gave his first address as newly commissioned President focusing on Christ’s words “I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth” (John 18:37 NIV).

Danny graduated from CanIL in 2002, and has been an ordained minister with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada since 1995. He served for nine years overseeing training for language development work in Uganda and Tanzania. In early 2010, Dr. Walrod approached him about stepping into the role of President. Danny and his family considered the offer carefully and later accepted the position in mid-2011. Danny shared what motivates him to join the team at CanILstating, “We train the trainers and we serve the servants. The students that come into our community believe that they will change entire societies through language development and translation and with that mindset, it's hard to imagine that they'll do anything less… This is where I received my training and I got to go out and live beyond my wildest dreams. If even in just some small way, I get to facilitate that in hundreds of others, then not only am I living a life full of purpose but I am actually playing an important role in bringing spiritual and educational transformation to millions of people.”

TWU Provost Bob Wood addresses the crowd

For more information about CanIL or this milestone event refer to www.canil.ca/ontrack

English Spelling Reform

English orthography is the alphabetic spelling system used by the English language. English orthography, like other alphabetic orthographies, uses a set of symbols to represent speech sounds in writing.  Standard English spelling follows rules, however the rules are extensive. Nearly every phoneme (sound in the language) is spelled in more than one way, and most spellings and all letters can be pronounced in more than one way and often in many different ways. This is partly due to the complex history of the English language,[1] but mainly due to the fact that no systematic spelling reform has been implemented in English, contrary to the situation in most other languages. English spelling is mainly based on how the language was pronounced in the 15th century.


SynPhony - A Revolutionary Literacy Tool for Planet Earth

Norbert Rennert, creator of SynPhony

Imagine a literacy tool that would make the acquisition of literacy skills as easy as possible by finding and displaying the patterns used for written language. But instead of exposing learners to the full range of symbols used to represent their language, it would introduce one symbol at a time and find words that match the reading ability of learners – with just the click of a mouse.

That was Norbert Rennert’s vision. Norbert started out as a CanIL student in 1989, then began his current work in the IT department in 2003. His passion for literacy education was inspired by his daughter’s struggle to learn to read, brought about by developmental delays and mild hearing loss.

Norbert wanted to create a computer-based literacy tool to provide both print and computer-based resources for everyone involved in teaching others to read. For the past few years, he has worked on SynPhony – a platform for producing powerful applications to teach reading skills in any language on earth! SynPhony can be described as a search engine for literacy that can dynamically match the words and text of any language to the reading ability of any student.