SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Missionary grammars workshop or Exploring older linguistics texts


Date: 20 February 2017Time: 1:00 PM

Finishes: 20 February 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B204

Type of Event: Workshop

The department of Linguistics is pleased to announce the workshop ‘missionary grammars, exploring older linguistics texts’ which will take place on 20 February 2017.

Workshop theme

It is not unusual for all of us working on language documentation and description to encounter older texts (colonial, postcolonial, missionary and non-missionary, word lists of travelers and historians). This workshop aims at exploring older texts, often written by missionaries: the insights gained from their descriptions of idiosyncratic features of the languages, the challenges they may have faced in trying to adapt known paradigms, as well as the challenges of comprehending indigenous cultures through their languages.
The workshop will provide an accessible forum for people to come together and share their diverse perspectives, practices and research; it will take the form of a ‘show and tell’, where participants will bring materials that will be analysed and discussed, raising issues from deciphering handwriting, the meta-language used for language description, and questions of interpretation.
All Welcome!


13:00 – 13:05 Welcome
13:05 – 13:45 Cristina Muru (University of Tuscia): Grammars of Tamil written in Portuguese (Dravidian, India)
13:45 – 14:25 Peter Austin (SOAS): Grammars of Diyari and Gamilaraay (Pama-Nyungan, Australia)
14:25 – 15:05 Lauren Gawne (SOAS): Fieldwork in a post-missionary community in Nepal (Tibeto-Burman)
15:05 – 15:30 Tea
15:30 – 16:10 Yan Jiang (SOAS): Sourcing the Rare Missionary Works for the Grammatical Study of Chinese Han Languages: with special reference to the Shanghai Wu (language)
16:15 – 17:00 Discussion

This event is free.

Contact and enquiries: Candide Simard (