Professor George van Driem

Isabel Dalhousie Fellow

Isabel Dalhousie Fellow, May 2019

George van Driem has written several grammars of languages of the Himalayas, viz. Limbu, Dumi, Bumthang and Dzongkha. In 2001, he authored the two-volume ethnolinguistic handbook entitled Languages of the Himalayas. In Bhutan, he discovered two languages previously unknown to science, Gongduk and Black Mountain Mönpa. He collaborates with linguists and population geneticists to reconstruct human population prehistory, publishing articles in journals such as Nature, Science and Human Genetics. He wrote the history of tea, entitled The Tale of Tea (2019). His students and post-docs conduct pioneering work in the Asian heartland. He directs the Linguistics Institute at the University of Bern, where he occupies the Chair of Historical Linguistics.