1996 Associate Laureate, Cultural Heritage
Netherlands, Born 1957
Linguistics expert George van Driem has made remarkable inroads towards fulfilling his ambition to record the indigenous languages of the Himalayan region. Through his Himalayan Languages Project, the 1996 Associate Laureate has documented, in detail, several dozen languages and has charted hundreds more.
With an estimated two-thirds of languages never having been written down, and languages overall disappearing at the rate of one every fortnight, van Driem’s initiative is a key defence in the struggle against language extinction.