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A New Vocabulary: Linguistics Students Selected to Consult on AI Language Learning Solution

News January 4, 2024

For Dr. Michael Pasquale and his senior linguistics students, the fall 2023 semester provided a new learning lab for asking critical questions about the future of AI technology and participating in the cultural mandate outlined in Genesis 1:27-28.

While completing the final requirements for their undergraduate degrees, linguistics students started the semester on the job. Under the direction and leadership of Pasquale, professor of linguistics and inaugural dean of the School of Ministry, Media & the Arts, students enrolled in Linguistic Analysis are collaborating with a missionary couple based in Asia to develop a needed service for ministry professionals: a language learning solution with a lexicon for mission-centric gospel ministry.

“It’s cutting-edge work, but it’s also missional.” — Dr. Michael Pasquale

“I want students to see what God has prepared them to do in terms of whatever major or skill set and apply that to impact our world in multiple ways,” Pasquale said.

According to the Ethnologue, the world has over 7,000 living languages. Though popular language learning applications exist to provide vocabulary for transactional actions, Cornerstone students are supplying linguistic data to help pilot a language learning tool that equips learners to effectively communicate and build relationships in Central Asia. The concept for this new program will leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to improve pronunciation feedback to language learners and to reinforce repetition as part of their personalized language learning plans, anticipating the content learners should prioritize. As a result, the project will accelerate the timeline for missionaries working to learn a new language.

“As AI technology develops into a powerful tool, the humanities can bring together knowledge from philosophy, history and languages to ask important questions: Is this right? Is this true? And how do we utilize AI in a way that glorifies God, helps the church and helps our communities?” Pasquale concluded. “To know that our partnership is helping missionaries and cross-cultural workers in multiple areas and multiple fields throughout Asia is really exciting.”

Read more about how boldly educated Cornerstone students are impacting our world for Christ in their vocations in the inaugural issue of INFLUENCE: A Publication of Cornerstone University.

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