This website is an initiative of Heleen Plaisier.
For more information, please send an e-mail to: lepcharesearch at gmail dot com.
Please find a description of my main research projects and research interests below.
* Lepcha-English dictionary
I am currently working on an analytical edition of the late 19th-century Lepcha-English dictionary that was written by John and William Stölke. This dictionary adds up to more than 600 pages and exists in only one handwritten copy, which is kept at the archives of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
* Lepcha texts
I am preparing the publication of several Lepcha texts. Most of the texts that are delivered to us by manuscripts have been written down in different versions, which I compare, annotate and translate. I am working on several texts that occupy a central role in the history of Lepcha literature and in the Lepcha religion, such as Tashe Sung (The story of Lord Tashe) and Choten Munlóm (Prayers to the choten), but also on different delúk (resurrection) texts.
* The Siiger archives
The late Professor Halfdan Siiger has left behind many valuable research materials on the native Lepcha religion, including notes on the unpublished third volume of his monograph on the Lepchas. With the help of Svend Castenfeldt, who used to work with Prof. Siiger, I am preparing these materials for publication.
* Lepcha names for plants and animals
It has often been claimed that the Lepchas are born naturalists, since the Lepcha language has names for most of the plants, birds, insects, butterflies, trees, shrubs, etc. in their natural surroundings. I have been studying these native vocabularies and their corresponding scientific names in detail.
* Pioneers of Lepcha studies
The Lepcha people and their culture have been a source of inspiration for many scholars. I am working on a detailed description of the history of Lepcha studies, with special attention to pioneering scholars such as Mainwaring, Waddell and Stocks.
Completed major research projects:
* Grammar of Lepcha
I have written a comprehensive grammar of the Lepcha language, in which I have aimed to describe Lepcha phonology, morphology and syntax. The grammar includes a bilingual glossary and morphologically analysed texts with translation. The grammar is based upon my own fieldwork in the Lepcha speaking area, carried out during several trips between 1994 and 1998. The grammar is published by Brill Academic Publishers in their series "Languages of the Greater Himalayan Region. Brill's Tibetan Studies Library" and appeared in 2007. For more information: click here .
* Catalogue of Lepcha manuscripts in the Van Manen Collection
This catalogue offers a detailed description of the 182 Lepcha manuscripts in the Van Manen Collection, presently kept in the library of the Kern Institute of Leiden University. This collection of manuscripts written in the Lepcha language is by far the largest collection of its kind in the world. By identifying the manuscripts in this collection, and by describing both their contents and their external features, the catalogue hopes to make this important collection accessible to the public. This catalogue contains much information that was hitherto unknown or scattered, and it is hope that, with this book, most of the information necessary for further studies in the field for Lepcha manuscripts is finally brought together.
The catalogue is organised in three parts, the first of which discusses the native Lepcha orthography. The second part describes the manuscripts, and opens with a brief introduction to the history of Lepcha literature and a description of the contents of the different texts in the collection, followed by a physical description of all Lepcha manuscripts and related items in the Van Manen Collection. In the third and final part, the read will find reference to additional works in Lepcha and to collections of Lepcha manuscripts in London, Vienna and Gangtok.
Heleen Plaisier, 2003
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* Short curriculum vitae
1968 born on August 3 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands