Royal Skousen

Royal J. Skousen
Skousen giving a lecture at BYU.
Born Royal Jon Skousen
(1945-08-05) August 5, 1945
Cleveland, Ohio
Nationality American
Education Brigham Young University
(B.A.) in English
University of Illinois
(PhD) in Linguistics
Occupation Linguistics Professor
Relatives W. Cleon Skousen (Uncle)
Mark Skousen (Brother)
Joel Skousen (Brother)

Royal Jon Skousen[1] (/ˈskzən/; 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.

Early life

Skousen was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Leroy Bentley Skousen and Helen Louise Skousen, a Latter-day Saint family and was one of eleven children.[4] Leroy was a younger brother to W. Cleon Skousen.[5] Royal graduated from Sunset High School in Beaverton, Oregon.


After his father's unexpected death from lung cancer in 1964 despite having never smoked,[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, earning his Ph.D. degree there 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. He 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]

Personal life

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.



Articles and papers


  1. Middle name from doctoral dissertation listing at Google Books. See: "Substantive Evidence for Morphological and Phonetic Regularities in Phonology". Google Books. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Skousen, Royal (January 17, 2007). "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Brigham Young University. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  3. "The Book of Mormon - Skousen, Royal; Smith, Joseph". Yale University Press. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  4. "Obituary: Helen Louise Skousen". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah. October 11, 2007.
  5. 1 2 Skousen, Mark (January 28, 2003). "Tribute to My Uncle, W. Cleon Skousen". Retrieved 2014-09-05.
  6. Skousen, Royal (Fall 1986). "Through a Glass Darkly: Trying to Understand the Scriptures". BYU Studies. 26 (4): 3. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  7. 1 2 "Returned Missionaries S". Finnish Mission Alumni Website (Before 2003). Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  8. "Faculty and Staff Honored". BYU Magazine. Winter 1999. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  9. "Affiliates R-V". National Association of Scholars. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
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