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Royal Skousen media, 1976-2005

Identifier: MSS 8255 Series 3

Scope and Contents

Contains materials pertaining to the linguistic work as well as personal papers of Royal Skousen, a professor at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Contains film reels of early word list and spelling research; ADL/AML and A and S manuscript files (mainly on floppy disks and VHS tapes); other career work of Royal Skousen involving languages, spelling, research, as well as personal and family files (including games), blank disks, and miscellaneous material (all on floppy disks); Book of Mormon editions files on floppy disks; Book of Mormon manuscript files (O and P, collations, changes, general and miscellaneous) on floppy disks; other Critical Text Project media (mainly lectures and presentations on cassette and VHS tapes and one CD), including photographing equipment and a slide tray; and finally assorted other religious, personal and family, and miscellaneous VHS and cassette tapes. Materials dated 1976-2005.


  • 1976-2005


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research with permission from the L. Tom Perry Special Collections. Prospective users must request access in writing. The donor agreement requires that Special Collections seek permission from the Skousens until 2045 or their demise; thereafter, Special Collections will solely make decisions regarding access.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Biographical / Historical

From the Collection:

Royal Jon Skousen, son of LeRoy Bentley Skousen and Helen Louise McCarty, was born on August 5, 1945 in Cleveland, Ohio, the oldest of ten children. He graduated from Sunset High School in Beaverton, Oregon. When he was 19, his father unexpectedly died of lung cancer. Royal went on to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Finland from 1965 to 1967. After his return in 1968, he married Sirkku Unelma Härkönen; they moved to Orem, Utah and raised seven children together. Meanwhile, Royal received further education in the form of a BA from BYU in English and math. He earned a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1972, then worked as an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Texas-Austin until 1979, when he was hired by BYU. He was also a visiting professor at the University of California-San Diego in 1981, a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Tampere (Finland) in 1982, and a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen, Netherlands) in 2001. In 1999, he was awarded BYU's Karl G. Maeser Excellence in Research and Creative Arts distinction. Since then he has served as the president of the Utah Association of Scholars, as well as associate editor of the Journal of Quantitative Linguistics since 2003.

Skousen's work in linguistics has dealt chiefly with developing a theory of language called Analogical Modeling, a theory that predicts language behavior by means of examples rather than by rules. He has published three books on this subject: Analogical Modeling of Language (1989), Analogy and Structure (1992), and Analogical Modeling: An Exemplar-Based Approach to Language (2002). More recently, he has published on the quantum computation of Analogical Modeling, notably in his 2005 paper "Quantum Analogical Modeling" (available at Skousen began working on the critical text of the Book of Mormon in 1988. This work represents the central task of the Critical Text Project, to restore by scholarly means the original text of the Book of Mormon, to the extent possible. To date, he has published 9 books on the subject, with 4 more to appear in the next three years. Altogether, up through 2013, he has given 94 presentations and written/published 14 books, 70 articles, and 23 online and media publications. He lives in Spanish Fork with his wife Sirkku and continues to teach and lecture.


2 cartons

9 oversize boxes

Language of Materials



Arranged in three subseries: 1. Royal Skousen media on linguistics, 1976-2000. 2. Royal Skousen media on Book of Mormon, 1991-2005. 3. Royal Skousen media on religious and personal life, approximately 1980-2003.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States