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New Book: A Grammar of Mandarin

A Grammar of Mandarin by Jeroen Wiedenhof (LIAS, LUCL) combines broad perspectives with illuminating depth. Crammed with examples from everyday conversations, it aims to let the language speak for itself.

Earliest known alphabetic word list discovered

A flake of limestone (ostracon) inscribed with an ancient Egyptian word list of the fifteenth century BC turns out to be the world’s oldest known abecedary. The words have been arranged according to their initial sounds, and the order followed here is one that is still known today. This discovery has been published in the October issue of the Journal of Near Eastern Studies.

NWO funding for history research into Siva Religion in Asia

Professor Peter Bisschop, lecturer in Sanskrit and Ancient Cultures of South Asia, has been awarded a grant by the NWO Free Competition to fund his research into the rapid growth of Saivism in the sixth and seventh centuries in South and Southeast Asia. The research project, entitled ‘From Universe of Visnu to Universe of Siva’, will begin in January 2016 and will continue for five years.

Nu ook in Leiden: de Japanese Language Proficiency Test

Op 5 juli werd voor de eerste keer aan de Universiteit Leiden de Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) gehouden. Dit is een officieel erkende test die als toelatingseis kan dienen voor het studeren aan een Japanse universiteit. Afgelopen zondag hebben in Leiden 153 deelnemers de JLPT afgelegd, waarvan ongeveer de helft studenten of alumni van de Leidse opleiding Japanstudies.

Greater focus on pre-Islamic heritage

War and terrorism overshadow interest in the pre-Islamic heritage of the Arabic peninsula. The new Leiden Centre for the Study of Ancient Arabia aims to make the general public more aware of the ancient history of this region.

Dissident Jang Jin-sun guest lecturer at Leiden University

North Korean dissident Jang Jin-sun has been appointed guest lecturer on 'speaking truth to power' - in particular with regard to North Korea - at Leiden University.  Over the coming half year he will give a number of lectures on the inner workings of the North Korean regime.

Using an ERC grant to study languages with beans and millet

Japanologist and linguist Martine Robbeets is going to use her newly acquired ERC Consolidator Grant to study the origins and spread of Trans-Eurasian languages, which include Japanese and Turkish. With it, she’s tackling one of the most controversial subjects in language history.

Hoogleraar Holger Gzella schrijft boek over Aramees

Er was nog nooit een boek geschreven over de cultuurgeschiedenis van het Aramees. Holger Gzella, al tien jaar hoogleraar aan de Universiteit Leiden, sprong in deze leegte. De hoogleraar Taalkunde vertaalde zijn kennis over één van de beroemdste talen ter wereld naar het boek ‘A Cultural History of Aramaic – From the Beginnings to the Advent of Islam’. De NRC interviewde hem erover. “Het Aramees is voor de geesteswetenschappen wat wiskunde is voor de astronomie.”

New Book | Hajj: Global Interactions through Pilgrimage

Every year, in the last month of the Islamic calendar, millions of Muslims from around the world come together in Mecca to perform the Hajj, the pilgrimage that all capable Muslims should perform at least once in their lives. In 2013, the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden organised the exhibition Longing for Mecca. The Pilgrim’s Journey. The chapters in this volume are the outcome of the two-day symposium on the Hajj, which was held at the museum in connection to the exhibition.