George van Driem

1996 Associate Laureate, Cultural Heritage
Netherlands, Born 1957

Project Goal

Record the disappearing languages of the Himalayan region

Location: Nepal

"A language holds the key to the culture, history and prehistory of the region. Not only does the Himalayan Languages Project supply this key, we also use it to open the door.”

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.

Other 1996 Associate Laureates