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.




Articulatory Phonetics and Typology of Sounds

Taaltypologie 3 (BA)

Describing Morphosyntax (MA)

Taal in Context (BA)

Taal en Denken (BA)

Introduction Bible Translation Studies (MA, RM Theology)

Introduction Translation Studies (MA)

Working Sessions in Bible Translation (MA)

Field Methods and Linguistic Analysis (MA)


Externally Funded Research projects


Funded by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO):

Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC):

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(2014). Numerals in Papuan languages of the Greater Awyu family. In Anne Storch and Gerrit J. Dimmendaal (Eds), Number- Constructions and Semantics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Vries, L.J. de (2014). The Romantic Turn in Bible Translation. Translation 3, 123-149.
  • Vries, L.J. de (2014). "Bersalin kapada Bassa Malaju". Penerjemahan Alkitab di Nusantara Pada Abad ke-17 dan ke-18. In N.G.M. Mamahit (Ed.), 385 Tahun Injil Matius Terjemahan A.C. Ruyl (pp. 45-58). Jakarta: Lembaga Alkitab Indonesia.
  • Vries, L.J. de (2014). Het Nederlands Bijbelgenootschap in het 19e eeuwse Indië. Met andere woorden, 14(2), 5-16.       
  • Vries, L.J. de (2015). Views of orality and the translation of the Bible. Translation Studies, 8(2), 141-155.
  • Vries, L.J. de (2015). Vroomvogels en aankondig-engelen: idiolecte bijbelvertalingen in de Lage Landen. In: P. Gillaerts (red.), De Bijbel in de Lage Landen. Elf eeuwen van vertalen. Heerenveen: Royal Jongbloed, p.862-882.




Supervised Doctoral Dissertations

  • Gilles Gravelle, Meyah: an east Bird’s Head Language of Papua, Indonesia. Co-promotor dr. Ger Reesink (RUL). Published by Pacific Linguistics, Australian National University Press, Canberra 2010.
  • Dick Kroneman, The LORD is my shepherd. An exploration into the theory and practice of translating biblical metaphors.
  • Claertje Frieke, Creative use of genre features in Budu. Co-promotoren: dr. Evert Wattel (Wiskunde, VU), dr. Gerard Steen (Engels, VU).
  • Theo van der Louw. Transformations in the Septuagint. Towards an interaction of Septuagint Studies and Translation Studies. First supervisor prof. A. A. van der Kooy, Leiden University; second supervisor prof. dr. L.J. de Vries. Published by Peeters, Louvain, 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. Published by LOT, Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics
  • Ji-Youn Cho, Politeness and Addressee Honorifics in Bible translation. Published in New York by UBS, UBS Monograph Series, no. 11, 2009.
  • Nicholas Bailey, Thetic Constructions in Koine Greek. Co-promotor dr. Rutger Allan (VU).
  • Gloria Gravelle-Karns, A Grammar of Moskona, an East Bird’s Head language of West Papua, Indonesia.
  • Ruth Wester, A Linguistic History of Awyu-Dumut. Morphological Study and Reconstruction. Co-promotor dr. Ger Reesink.
  • Lesley Fast, Persuasive speaking and Bible translation. A study of the Gospel of Mark and its reception in Graeco-Roman and Lovangai environments. 16 September 2015. Co-supervisor prof. Ian Henderson,




    Ancillary activities

    Raad voor de Rechtsbijstand Bureau Wbtv

    Den Bosch
    01 januari 2012
Last changes Ancillary activities: Amsterdam 13 november 2015
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