Prestigious US University Publishes Chin-Related Books
24 November, 2009: Two books on Daai and Kuki-Chin languages have been published by STEDT (Sino-Tibetan Etymological Dictionary and Thesaurus) project, Department of Linguistics, University of California.
The books entitled A Descriptive Grammar of Daai Chin by Helga So-Hartmann, and Proto-Kuki-Chin: A Reconstructed Ancestor of the Kuki-Chin Languages, by Kenneth Van Bik, are a publication of the authors’ doctoral dissertations.
STEDT Publications’ comments in its website on So-Hartmann’s book read: “This is the most detailed and sophisticated grammar of a Chin language to have appeared since Eugénie J.A. Henderson’s classic (1965) study of Tiddim (Northern Chin group).”
“The Daai language is an important member of the Southern Chin group, with about 45,000 speakers. Chin State is in western Myanmar, and the Daai Chin people live in the interior of the Southern Chin Hills in about 160 villages spread out over the four townships Mindat, Kanpetlet, Paletwa and Matupi.”
Helga So-Hartmann, who created an orthographical writing system of Daai dialect in 1973, also translated the New Testament in Daai in 1996, which was printed by UBS (United Bible Society). As a prolific writer, she has also been working and writing on Mro dialect, one of the Khumi-Chin tribes in Southern Chin State.
The STEDT Publications says in its website: “This book [Proto-Kuki-Chin] represents a high-water mark in our understanding of the history of the Kuki-Chin branch of Tibeto-Burman. Nearly 1400 reconstructed cognate sets are presented, at various taxonomic levels: Proto-Kuki-Chin, Proto-Central-Chin, Proto-Northern-Chin, and Proto-Maraic.”
“Special attention is paid to the subgrouping of this highly ramified family, based on the patterns of shared phonological innovations which the various languages display.”
Kenneth Van Bik, son of the late Rev. Dr. David Van Bik, continues his father’s unfinished work on Chin-to-English dictionary.
Burma-based Austrian linguist, Helga So-Hartmann, did her doctoral dissertation at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK in 2008 and US-based Chin linguistic scholar, Kenneth Van Bik, at Department of Linguistics, UC Berkeley, USA in 2006.
The two books, with the former having 392 and the latter 626 pages, are available for purchase over the Internet at the price of $100 each.