Dr. Purnell served in Thailand for 15 years as a linguistic consultant with OMF International after which he taught at William Carey International University for nine years. Dr. Purnell came to Biola in 1991 as professor in the Department of Applied Linguistics and TESOL (ALT) and served as chair of ALT for 12 years. He also served as Director of the Applied Linguistics program from 2003-2005. Dr. Purnell retired from SICS in 2005 and is now Professor Emeritus of Applied Linguistics and TESOL. His primary areas of research interest have included applied linguistics (lexicography, orthography, literacy, discourse, and second language acquisition/learning/teaching), Southeast Asian linguistics (Thai, Northern Thai, and Iu Mien), and Iu Mien ethnomusicology. Dr. Purnell has been active among the Iu Mien who came to the United States as refugees, guiding them in their development of a new orthography in 1982, and helping them to negotiate a union orthography with Iu Mien in China in 1984. He continues to work with a Thai language school to revise their curriculum and produce new teaching materials.
- International Congress on Language Learning (ICLL)
- Siam Society (life member)
- Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (SEALS)
- Learn to Speak Northern Thai: A Basic Program For Independent Language and Culture Learning (Learner’s Book 1 and Helper’s Book 1). Chiangmai: OMF International, 2010.
- Learning to Read and Write Thai (Parts 1 and 2). Bangkok: Union Language School, 2010.
- Readings on Thai Life and Culture. Bangkok: Union Language School, 2010.
- An Iu-Mienh – English Dictionary with Cultural Notes. Chiangmai: Silkworm Books and San Francisco: Center for Lao Studies, 2012.
- Getting Started in Thai. Bangkok: Union Language School, with N. Rachkeeree, 2014.
- Moving On in Thai. Bangkok: Union Language School, with N. Rachkeeree, 2015.
- Advancing in Thai. Bangkok: Union Language School, with N. Rachkeeree, 2016.
- Learn to Speak Northern Thai: A Basic Program For Independent Language and Culture Learning (Learner’s Book 2 and Helper’s Book 2) — forthcoming.
- Flowered Tables and Tiger’s Mouths: Text and Translation of an Iu Mien Wedding Book — in preparation, with Fou Vang Saeturn.
- Revision of Meth Ratanaprasith, Tai Yuan-Thai-English Dictionary — in preparation, with Woranut Pantupong
a minority language: Features of a new Iu Mien – English dictionary."
Presented at the UCLA - UC Berkeley Joint Conference on Southeast Asian
Studies. Westwood, CA, 2009.
- "Bending the rules in minority language bilingual
lexicography." Paper read at the Twenty-third Annual Meeting of the
Southeast Asian Linguistic Society, Bangkok, 2013.