Dr. James Hafford

Dr. James Hafford

Assistant Professor of Linguistics

James and his wife, Lois, joined Wycliffe and began a New Testament translation in 1995 among the Wuvulu people of Papua New Guinea (PNG).  In parallel with the translation work, James started vernacular schools, and conducted workshops on orthography, grammar, lexicography, and literacy. The translation team dedicated the Wuvulu New Testament in 2005, with Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare in attendance as the emcee! After completing the New Testament, James taught linguistics at the University of Hawai‘i (Mānoa) while working on his Ph.D.  James and Lois are presently mentoring Wuvulu Old Testament translators remotely, utilizing a broadband global access satellite system and Paratext software.

James also serves as a linguistics consultant and has worked at SIL PNG with translation teams from a variety of Austronesian and Papuan languages, including Barai, Buhutu, Koluwawa, Mekeo, Miniafia, Siar-Lak, and Ubir.


2015. Ph.D. in Linguistics, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

1999. M.A. in Linguistics, University of Texas, at Arlington.

1983. B.A. in Computer Science, Pacific Lutheran University.

Courses Taught

LING 360 Morphosyntax I
LING 555 Historical & Comparative Linguistics


fluent: English, Tok Pisin, Wuvulu; studied: German, Greek, Hebrew.


Forthcoming. Wuvulu pronouns: a study in respect, inclusion, and mitigation.

2015. Wuvulu grammar and vocabulary. Ph.D. dissertation U. of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

2012. The Wuvulu velar obstruent puzzle solved. Working Papers in Linguistics: University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Vol. 43(2).

2008. Pidgins and Creoles. Chapter in linguistics reader, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

2005. Wuvulu New Testament, Wycliffe Bible Translators.

2005. Organized phonology data supplement: Wuvulu language. Data papers on PNG Languages (47) 95-108.

1999. Elements of Wuvulu grammar. University of Texas at Arlington, M.A. thesis.


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