The Himalayan Languages Project, headquartered in Bern, has since 1983 represented the largest sustained language documentation effort in the greater Himalayan region. Members of the multi-national research team consist of both students and young linguists working towards their Ph.D. at Bern University as well as post-doc and senior researchers.
The Indian subcontinent harbours three languages isolates and seven distinct language families. The northern perimeter of the subcontinent is bounded by the highest land barrier on the planet, and one of the world’s most populous language families straddles the Himalayas and is found to be distributed along both its northern and southern flanks.
Since 2001, the Himalayan Languages Project has been collaborating with geneticists and scholars from other disciplines in both East and West on reconstructing Asian population prehistory. The analysis of correlations and discrepancies between the modern distribution of ethnolinguistic communities and molecular polymorphisms found on the DNA of Asian populations continues to reveal forgotten episodes of our past and enhance our understanding of the peopling of the Himalayan region, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The multidisciplinary collaborative research is buttressed by insights from historical linguistics, archaeology, palaeobotany, palaeoclimatology and anthropology. --> Publications