The 2021 Workshop in Discourse Analysis is currently at capacity. However, the application remains open for anyone who wishes to be put on a waitlist. If space in the workshop becomes available, we will work through the waitlist in the order of applications received. Thank you!

Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL) at Trinity Western University, in Langley, British Columbia is pleased to offer a Workshop in Discourse Analysis, led by Dr. Steve Nicolle, in the Summer of 2021. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Summer 2021 Discourse Workshop will be run entirely online, accessible to all participants regardless of their time zone. CanIL will not be hosting any face-to-face components for the workshop.

Participants in the workshop will sit in on Dr. Nicolle’s lectures for the Discourse Analysis course, apply the principles learned there to the language project he/she is working in, and spend weekly one-on-one consultation time with an advisor. Participants may take the full 9-week workshop, or may elect to take just Narrative Discourse Analysis (14 June – 16 July), or just Hortatory/Expository Discourse (12 July – 12 August). One day each week will be dedicated to presentations by workshop participants and open discussion of issues in discourse analysis.

Due to the online format, participants will be able to join sessions through a live-stream link or by watching recordings of these sessions.



The tentative workshop schedule is as follows:

  • 14-18 June: Introduction and charting.
  • 21 June – 9 July: Topics in narrative discourse analysis.
  • 12 -16 July: Analysis and writing up; sharing findings.  (Introduction and charting for new participants just joining for hortatory/expository discourse analysis.)
  • 19 July – 4 Aug: Topics in hortatory/expository discourse analysis.
  • 5 – 12 Aug: Analysis and writing up; sharing findings.



The Workshop in Discourse Analysis is designed for experienced Bible translators, translation advisers and consultants, and linguistic fieldworkers working in any of the under-documented languages of the world. Participants in the workshop may work individually or as part of a team analyzing the same language. Participants should have access to an annotated (glossed and translated) digital database of at least four narrative and four hortatory and/or expository texts. (Instructions on suitable texts and how to obtain them will be provided to those who express an interest in the workshop.)

The workshop has three main aims:

  1. To provide workshop participants with the resources and opportunity to describe the linguistic features of narrative, hortatory and expository texts in a language with which they are familiar;
  2. To analyze New Testament passages and address discourse-related issues relevant to the translation of this material into other languages;
  3. To equip workshop participants to assist others to translate narrative, hortatory and expository material into their own languages accurately, naturally and clearly.



The workshop will be organized as follows:

  • Plenary sessions: 1½ hours a day four days a week, involving a combination of presentations by the workshop staff, group analysis of biblical passages and texts provided by the workshop participants, and presentations by the workshop participants of the work they are doing.
  • Advising sessions: Each individual or team who is participating in the workshop will be assigned an advisor early on. The individual/team will meet with their advisor for up to one additional hour each day.
  • The rest of the work day will involve individual research and writing.
  • During the first week, training will be provided in how to create text charts using SIL’s FieldWorks Language Explorer (FLEx) software.



  • Linguistics training including introductory morphology and syntax
  • A corpus of language data to work with
  • Permission of the instructor

Note that the Workshop in Discourse Analysis is not a for-credit course and thus cannot be applied toward a degree. However, the first five weeks of the workshop overlap with the CanIL LING 491 (undergraduate) and LING 691 (graduate) Discourse Analysis course. If you would like to take LING 491/691 for university audit or university credit, please contact CanIL Admissions for more information.

Where possible, it is hoped to pair workshop participants with CanIL students taking the LING 491/691 course. This pairing is designed to be mutually beneficial: the workshop participants will mentor students and orient them to the languages being studied; each student will chart at least one text and write a detailed account of two narrative discourse features of the language they have been introduced to.


Workshop Costs ($CAD)

Participation in the 2021 Workshop in Discourse Analysis costs $400. This must be paid by April 30, 2021, to confirm participation in the workshop.


About the Workshop Leader

Dr Steve Nicolle has conducted training in discourse analysis of spoken and signed languages in various African countries, India and Canada. He is currently Associate Professor of Linguistics at CanIL and Director of the Master of Arts in Linguistics and Translation program at ACTS Seminaries. Before joining CanIL, Steve worked as a translation adviser with the Digo Language & Literacy Project in Kenya, as a linguistics consultant and translation consultant with SIL, as a linguistics coordinator for SIL Africa Area, and as head of the Department of Language, Linguistics & Translation at Africa International University (formerly Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology).

Apply for WAITLIST for Workshop in Discourse Analysis 2021