SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies

Tai/Shan New Year Celebration


Date: 26 November 2017Time: 1:00 PM

Finishes: 26 November 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Celebration

Special Lecture: Tai Zhuang and Dehong Dai in China

First two quite distinct Tai peoples in China are introduced: those called “Zhuang” in Guangxi Province and then “Dehong Dai”. Then the original age-old “Zhuang” writing system is shown. In the 1950s Russian linguists devised a new way of writing Zhuang. A revision took place in 1981-1982. It is found that the system is unpopular and ineffective. In contrast, the Tai Dehong received a totally different minority writing system, an adaptation of their original (Mainland Southeast Asian) script (related to Shan writing). In conclusion, reasons for the failure of the modern Zhuang alphabetical writing systems are given.

Professor Barend Jan (Baas) Terwiel (Germany)

Speaker Biography

Barend Jan (Baas) Terwiel was born in The Netherlands in 1941. In 1972 he obtained his PhD at the Australian National University (ANU); topic: Religion in Rural Central Thailand. His academic career began at the ANU and ended with his retirement as full professor in Hamburg University. He conducted fieldwork among various Tai-speaking peoples and wrote extensively on them. Presently, in retirement in Berlin, Germany, he still writes books and articles.


This event is free and open to the public. No booking is required

Organiser: SOAS Centre of South East Asian Studies and the Shan Cultural Association in the UK

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