Dr. Anvita Abbi

The Custodian of Dialects

Dr. Anvita Abbi retired from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and is currently Honorary Director of the Centre for Oral and Tribal Literature, Sahitya Akademi (National Academy of Letters), New Delhi and President of the Linguistic Society of India. She is also the Adjunct Professor of Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC Canada. She has worked on the Haida First Nation Language of British Columbia and will be working on other Indigenous languages of the region.

An author of 19 books, Prof. Abbi’s work on tribal and other minority languages of South Asia has been exemplary and has bagged several national and international awards. She was conferred with Padma Shri in 2013 by the President of India for her pioneering work on the highly endangered languages of the Andaman Islands, the Kenneth Hale Award in 2015 by the Linguistic Society of America for “outstanding lifetime contributions to the documentation and description of languages of India” and Rashtriya Lok-Bhasha Sammaan in 2003 for her contribution to tribal languages of India. She was nominated as “India Chair’ for Vancouver, BC, Canada by the ICCR in 2016.

She has occupied positions of Guest Scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology at Leipzig, Germany, Leverhulme Professor at SOAS England, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, and Visiting Professorships in Germany and Canada.  She has been advisor to the UNESCO on language issues and has been serving as advisor to many national institutes and universities. Her recent publication includes: Unwritten Languages of India and Grammar of the Great Andamanese Language.

See Dr. Abbi at the following event: