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Personal profile

Personal information

- Professor of Bible translation in the faculties of Humanities and Theology  (Endowed Chair sponsored by the Netherlands Bible Society)

- Professor of General Linguistics, faculty of Humanities

- Dean of Research of the faculty of Humanities    


My teaching and research are focused on two fields, Bible Translation and Linguistics.


Bible Translation:

 - Bible Translation Studies

e.g. 2016, Views of Orality and the Translation of the Bible. Translation Studies 8(2), 141-155


  - History of Bible translation

e.g. 2018, Iang Evangelivm Ul-kadus menjurat kapada Marcum: the first Malay Gospel of Mark (1629-1630) and the Agama Kumpeni. Journal of the Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology (BKI 174 (2018) 47-79.), Leiden; 



 -  discovering and describing undocumented and unwritten languages and language families,

e.g. The Korowai of Irian Jaya. Their language in its cultural context, Oxford University Press 1997

e.g. The Greater Awyu Language Family of West Papua, with R. Wester and W. van den Heuvel, Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, 2012.


- areal, typological and anthropological linguistics of New Guinea (e.g numeral systems, kinship, tail-head linkage, switch reference, clause chaining),

e.g. Antoinette Schapper and Lourens de Vries (2018), Comparatives in Melanesia: circles of convergence. Linguistic Typology 22 (3), 437-494.

e.g. de Vries 2017, The Imperative Paradigm of Korowai, in: Commands: a cross-linguistic typology, Oxford University Press 2017  Aikhenvald and Dixon (eds.);

e.g. de Vries 2017, The Greater Awyu Languages of West Papua in Typological Perspective, in:The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Typology. Aikhenvald, A. & Dixon, R. M. W. (eds.). Cambridge University Press. 


Research Network

I am a member of the following research institutes that play a key role in my research collaboration:

-Eep Talstra Center for Bible and Computer, Theology, VU Amsterdam

-  Cairns Institute of Language and Culture, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia 

-  Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship, New York



My research interests include:

- linguistic aspects of Bible translation

- the earliest Malay translations of the Bible (17th century)

-  typology of topicality and focality

- Papuan languages

- Austronesian languages

- Religious language and translation of sensitive texts

- skopos theory

- History and theories of Bible translation



In 2016-2017 I taught these courses:

Articulatory Phonetics and Typology of Sounds (MA Linguistics)

Describing Morphosyntax (MA Linguistics)

Taal in Context (BA)

Introduction Bible Translation Studies (MA, RM Theology)

Introduction Translation Studies (MA)

Working Sessions in Bible Translation (MATheology)

Field Methods and Linguistic Analysis (MA Linguistics)

Anthropological Linguistic (MA, ReMA Linguistics, Theology)

Linguistic Research (MA Applied Linguistics)



Prizes and Awards

Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Cairns Institute of Language and Culture, James Cook University, Australia 2010

International Collaborative Award of the Australian Research Council, 2014, as Partner Investigator within the ARC Discovery Project 'How languages differ and why'



Last 5 years:

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO):

- Vrije Competitie (NWO 2010-2015),  The Awyu-Dumut family of Papuan languages in its linguistic and cultural context

- Verbal Valence in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Syntactic Variation and Linguistic Change carried out by Femke Mannes-Sybesma (NWO Promoties in de Geesteswetenschappen (2015)

- De Statenbijbel als vertaalproject in de 17e eeuw. Carried out by C.J. van Linden. NWO Leraren Programma (2015)

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



BA Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde, Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1973-1977

MA General Linguistics/Bible translation (Doctoraal Bijbelvertalen) 1977-1980

PhD in Linguistics, University of Amsterdam 1989


Ancillary activities

  • Raad voor de Rechtsbijstand Bureau Wbtv | Den Bosch | Adviseur | 2012-01-01 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Ancillary activities

- Detailed Assessor of the Australian Research Council for applications under the ARC’s National Capital Grants Program (NCGP).

- Member of Advisory Board of the CLUE+ Research Institute

- International Consultative Board of the Cairns Institute, Center for Language and Culture  James Cook University, Queensland, Australia

- Member of the Board of the National Research School of Linguistics in the Netherlands (LOT)

- President of the Consultative Board of the NBV  Revision Project(New Dutch Translation of the Bible)

- Member of the Editorial Board of the journal The Bible Translator

- Member of the Editorial Board of the journal Translation

- Member of the Editorial Board of the journal Met Andere Woorden 



  • PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
  • P Philology. Linguistics
  • BS The Bible

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where L.J. de Vries is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Language Arts & Humanities
New Guinea Arts & Humanities
Papuan Languages Arts & Humanities
Clause Arts & Humanities
Bible Translation Arts & Humanities
Orality Arts & Humanities
Grammar Arts & Humanities
Verbs Arts & Humanities

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1981 2020

The Greater Awyu languages of West Papua

de Vries, L., 2020, (Accepted/In press) De Gruyter Mouton. 368 p. (Pacific Linguistics)

Research output: Book / ReportBookAcademicpeer-review

New Guinea
spoken language

Online and offline bridging constructions in Korowai

de Vries, L., 13 Feb 2019, Bridging constructions. Guérin, V. (ed.). Language Science Press, p. 185-206 22 p. (Studies in Diversity Linguistics ; vol. 24).

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Open Access

Retranslations of Holy Scriptures: Why Keep Translating the Bible?

de Vries, L., 2019, In : Journal of Biblical Text Research. 45 , 10, p. 252-268 16 p., 45 (2019. 10.),.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Translating Zephaniah in context

Willits, B. R., 2019, 273 p.

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD Thesis - Research VU, graduation VUAcademic

Open Access

Activities 1994 2018

Persistent Grammatical Writing Errors of L1 and L2 Learners of French. Analysis and Remedy

L.J. de Vries (Examiner)
15 Mar 2018

Activity: PhD thesis ExaminationPhD thesis examination

Jury of the Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist 2018 (Event)

L.J. de Vries (Member)
Jul 2018

Activity: MembershipAcademic

To conceal or reveal? Self-censorship and explicitation in the ancient Bible versions

L.J. de Vries (Examiner)
26 Jan 2018

Activity: PhD thesis ExaminationPhD thesis examination