prof. dr. L.J. (Lourens) de Vries

  • Telephone:+31 20 59 86482
  • Room nr:13a00
  • Unit:fac. der geesteswetenschappen (taal,lit.&comm.)
  • Position:Professor of General Linguistics (Faculty of Arts); Professor of Bible Translation (Faculties of Arts and Theology)

Office hours: By appointment via e-mail

Research interests

The study of Papuan and Austronesian languages in typological, cognitive and anthropological frameworks.

History and theory of Bible translation in the broader context of translation studies.

Linguistic aspects of (Bible) translation processes.

Bible translations in languages of Asia and Oceania.



Anthropological Linguistics (MA, RM)

Introduction to Translation Studies (MA)

Language Typology (BA)

Introduction to General Linguistics (BA)

Working Sessions in Bible Translation (MA)

Articulatory Phonetics and Typology of Sounds (MA)

Describing Morphosyntax (MA)

Field Methods and Linguistic Analysis

Current Externally Funded Research projects

Funded by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO):

Funded by Australian Research Council:

ARC Discovery Project (DP130101361):  How languages differ and why

When languages interact, they become similar in certain ways. This project will explore the reasons for this, by examining why there are many languages of diverse structures in certain regions, focussing on New Guinea, Amazonia and north-east Queensland. The project will assist with understanding how language helps and hinders inter-ethnic communication.

Chief Investigators: Alexandra Aikhenvald, R.M.W. Dixon, Lourens de Vries, Willem F Adelaar

Collaborating Schools/Institutions: School of Arts & Social Sciences; The Cairns Institute; Free University of Amsterdam; University of Leiden



  • 1989 Studies in Wambon and Kombai.Aspects of two Papuan Languages of Irian Jaya. PhD dissertation. Universiteit van Amsterdam.
  • 1992 An Outline of the Morphology of Wambon of the Irian Jaya Upper-Digul Area. Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology. Leiden: KITLV Press. 
  • 1993 Forms and Functions in Kombai, an Awyu language of Irian Jaya. Canberra: Australian National University Press. 
  • 1997 The Korowai of Irian Jaya. Their language in its cultural context. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. 
  • 2004 A short grammar of Inanwatan, an endangered language of the Bird's head of Papua, Indonesia. Canberra: Australian National University Press.

Some Recent articles

  • Vries, L.J. de (2013). Seeing, hearing and thinking in Korowai, a language of West Papua. In A.Y. Aikhenvald & A. Storch (Eds.), Perception and Cognition in Language and Culture. Leiden: Brill.
  • Vries, L.J. de (2012). Speaking of clans: language in Awyu-Ndumut communities of Indonesian West Papua. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 2012(214), 5-26.
  • Vries, L.J. de, R. Wester and W. van den Heuvel (2012). The Greater Awyu language family of West Papua. Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, 2012, 269-312.
  • Vries, L.J. de (2012). Some notes on the Tsaukambo language of West Papua. Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, 2012, 165-193.
  • Vries, L.J. de (2012). Local Oral-Written Interfaces and the Nature, Transmission, Performance and Translation of Biblical Texts. In: James Maxey & Ernst Wendland (eds.). Translating Scripture for Sound and Performance, 68-98. Eugene: Wipf and Stock
  • Vries, L.J. de (2012). De Stem in de Stam. Stamconcordantie in Bijbelvertalingen. Met Andere Woorden 31(12), 12-23




Supervised Doctoral Dissertations

  • Dick Kroneman, The LORD is my shepherd. An exploration into the theory and practice of translating biblical metaphors. 22 November 2004.
  • Gilles Gravelle, Meyah: an east Bird’s Head Language of Papua, Indonesia. Co-promotor dr. Ger Reesink (RUL). 9 December 2004.
  • Theo van der Louw, Transformations in the Septuagint. Dissertation Leiden University, 30 January 2006. First promotor prof. dr. Arie van der Kooij; second promotor prof. dr. L.J. de Vries
  • Claertje Frieke-Kappers, The Creative use of genre features in Budu. Continuity and Change in Patterns of Language Use in Budu, a Bantu Language of Congo (Kinshasa). Co-promotors: dr. Evert Wattel (Mathematics, VU), dr. Gerard Steen (English, VU), 6 November 2007.
  • Wilco van den Heuvel, co-promotoren dr. Ger Reesink (Radboud Universiteit), prof. dr. Hein Steinhauer (Universiteit Leiden), Biak. Description of an Austronesian language of Papua. 9 October 2006. Published by LOT, Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics
  • Ji-Youn Cho, Politeness and Addressee Honorifics in Bible translation. 22 September 2008. Published in New York by UBS, UBS Monograph Series, no. 11, 2009.
  • Nicholas Bailey, Thetic Constructions in Koine Greek. 7 December 2009. Co-promotor dr. Rutger Allan (VU, Classical languages).
  • Gloria Gravelle-Karns, A Grammar of Moskona, an East Bird’s Head language of West Papua, Indonesia. 11 March 2010.
  • Ruth Wester, A Linguistic History of Awyu-Dumut, 20 March 2014. C0-promotor dr. Ger Reesink.




Ancillary activities

Raad voor de Rechtsbijstand Bureau Wbtv

Den Bosch
01 January 2012
Last changes Ancillary activities: Amsterdam, 15 June 2015
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