SOAS University of London

SOAS scholar awarded AHRC grant of nearly £800,000 for Tibetan language project

10 January 2017

Dr Ulrich Pagel, Reader in the Languages and Religions of Tibet and Central Asia (Department of Religions and Philosophies), has been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) grant of £792,550 for a project mapping the history of verbs in the Tibetan language.

The project, Lexicography in Motion: A History of the Tibetan Verb, will create a corpus-based diachronic lexicon of Tibetan verbs that allows the user to infer the complete structure of a sentence, based primarily on verbs and the accompanying arguments. This lexicon will be web-based to provide a new level of resource to speakers of Tibetan and its students. It will chart the morphological and semantic changes of the verbs from the earliest records of Tibetan in the 8th century CE to contemporary times. The project will identify, examine and contextualise the diachronic evidence in a systematic fashion in order to obtain a better grasp of the evolution of the Tibetan language overall.

Dr Pagel said: “This projects builds on what we achieved through an earlier AHRC project (“Tibetan in Digital Communication”, 2012–2015) and constitutes an opportunity to give the Tibetan language a robust presence on the web. It potential for impact is immense since it will help empower Tibetan speakers in China and beyond to participate in key areas of contemporary discourse through their own language. It is a truly international effort that draws on expertise and resources located in China, India, North America and Europe.”

The AHRC has awarded Dr Pagel this grant from the Global Challenges Research Fund.

The project is due to commence on 1 February 2017 for 36 months.