Georg von der Gabelentz Award

The Georg von der Gabelentz award was established to encourage and honour achievements in the field of documenting the world’s linguistic diversity through the writing of reference grammars. It is named after comparative linguist Georg von der Gabelentz (1840-1893), who wrote a famous reference grammar of Chinese and is also responsible for the introduction of the term “typology” in linguistics.

To be eligible, a grammar must provide a systematic, accessible, comprehensive, original, insightful and typologically well-informed account of the workings of the language being described, generously exemplified with natural data. Though the normal expectation is that it would deal with a hitherto little-described language, outstanding grammars of better-known languages or dialects thereof may also be considered if they achieve major breakthroughs in a comprehensive understanding of the language.

The Georg von der Gabelentz Award focuses on published reference grammars and is one of two ALT awards recognising grammatical descriptions. The other is the Pāṇini Award, which targets grammars passed as doctoral dissertations. Grammars which have been submitted for the Panini Award can be submitted again for the Gabelentz Award provided that they have been substantially revised and published by an academic publisher. Grammars which win the Panini Award cannot be submitted at a later date for the Gabelentz Award. All submissions for the Gabelentz Award need to be published by an academic publisher.

Award winner of the Georg von Gabelentz Award 2022:

Christian Döhler (Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS))
A grammar of Komnzo. 2018. Berlin: Language Science Press.

The award-winning grammar on Komnzo, a seriously endangered language spoken in Papua New Guinea, by Christian Döhler was found to be particularly well-organized, reader-friendly, typologically informative, and reasonably compact. Before the publication of this grammar, the Komnzo language had been virtually unknown and unstudied, and in view of its state of serious endangerment the task of its description was of extreme urgency. It was also considered an asset of this grammar that it is published as open access, with the accompanying base data also being accessible on the internet.

Honorable mention:
Roberto Zariquiey (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú)
A grammar of Kakataibo. 2018. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

The honorable mention is given to the grammar on Kakataibo, a Peruvian language, by Roberto Zariquiey. Although there had been some earlier work on this language, the grammar now published is the first comprehensive description of it, based on an ample amount of fieldwork. Among the merits of this grammar is the detailed and precise analysis of the phonetic and phonology of the underlying language.

Timotheus Adrianus Bodt (SOAS University of London)
Grammar of Duhumbi (Chugpa). 2019. Leiden: Brill.

Chris Donlay (San José State University)
A Grammar of Khatso. 2019. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Marius Zemp (Bern University)
A Grammar of Purik Tibetan. 2018. Leiden: Brill.

The three shortlisted grammars are all extensive and detailed descriptions of previously little studied Transhimalayan languages, which make significant additions to the understanding of the complexity of the Transhimalayan language area.

Past Award Recipients:

Diana Forker (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)
A grammar of Hinuq. 2013. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Sebastian Fedden (University of Surrey, UK)
A grammar of Mian. 2011. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Carol Genetti 
(University of California at Santa Barbara, USA)
Grammar of Dolakha Newar. 2007. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.