Himalayan Languages Project

The Himalayan Languages Project, headquartered in Bern, has since 1983 represented the largest sustained language documentation effort in the greater Himalayan region. Members of the multi-national research team consist of both students and young linguists working towards their Ph.D. at Bern University as well as post-doc and senior researchers.

Grammars written by the researchers of the Himalayan Languages Project are exemplary works of linguistic description. Some have taken grammar writing to the level of a fine art. These grammars contain detailed descriptions and analyses of the phonetics and phonology, morphophonological regularities, the morphology and syntax. Usually the grammars also contain an analysed and translated text corpus.

Noteworthy grammars include Yamphu by Rutgers, Wambule by Opgenort, Zaiwa of Lustig, Dhimal by King, Lepcha by Plaisier, Sunwar by Borchers. Grammars have also been completed of Dumi, Dzongkha, Kulung, Jero, Limbu, Rabha and Thangmi. Grammatical sketches have been completed of Bumthang, Byangsi and Rongpo. Comprehensive grammars are being completed of Manchad, Lohorung, Lhokpu, Sampang, Gongduk and Black Mountain Mönpa. Grammatical sketches are also being completed of Baram, Dura, Toto and other languages.

The Himalayan Languages Project has diversified by adopting the Comparative Dictionary of Tibetan Dialects (CDTD), a research programme developed by Prof. em. Dr. Roland Bielemeier in Bern, and by launching the new programme Strategic Objectives in the Subcontinent (SZS).