Royal Skousen

Royal J. Skousen
Born Royal Jon Skousen
(1945-08-05) August 5, 1945 (age 68)
Cleveland, Ohio
Nationality American
Education Brigham Young University
(B.A.) in English
University of Illinois
(PhD) in Linguistics
Occupation Linguistics Professor
Relatives Cleon Skousen (Uncle)
Mark Skousen (Brother)
Joel Skousen (Brother)
For other persons with the surname Skousen, see Skousen (disambiguation).

Royal Jon Skousen[1] (born August 5, 1945)[2] is a professor of linguistics and English at Brigham Young University (BYU), where he is editor of the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project. He is "the leading expert on the textual history of the Book of Mormon"[3] and the founder of the Analogical Modeling approach to language modeling.


Skousen was born in Cleveland, Ohio to a Latter-day Saint (LDS or Mormon) family, and was one of ten children.[4] He graduated from Sunset High School in Beaverton, Oregon. After his father's unexpected death from lung cancer in 1964,[5] Skousen served as a missionary in Finland[6] from 1965 to 1967.[7] He is fluent in Finnish.[2]

Skousen received his B.A. degree from BYU, with a major in English and a minor in mathematics. Skousen went on to study linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, there earning his Ph.D. degree in 1972. He was then an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin until 1979, when he joined the faculty of BYU. Skousen was also a visiting professor at the University of California, San Diego in 1981, a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Tampere in Finland in 1982, and a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, Netherlands in 2001.[2] In 1999, BYU presented him the Karl G. Maeser Excellence in Research and Creative Arts Awards.[8]

Since 1999, Skousen has served as the president of the Utah Association of Scholars, an affiliate of the National Association of Scholars.[2][9] He has also been associate editor of the Journal of Quantitative Linguistics since 2003.[2]


Skousen married Sirkku Unelma Härkönen in 1968.[2] They had seven children and lived in Orem, Utah.[7] They now live in Spanish Fork, Utah.

Skousen is the oldest in a family of eight brothers and two sisters. His parents, Leroy Bentley Skousen and Helen Louise McCarty Skousen, are deceased.



Articles and papers


External links

  • Royal Skousen's Brigham Young University
  • "Royal Skousen FAIR Interview" video (Discussing the Italics in the KJV Bible and Book of Mormon)
  • Skousen speaking on "The Critical Text Project of the Book of Mormon" (video and audio)

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