International Workshop“Hindi Grammars and Lexica – Historical Perspectives”




5th November 2021


  • Émilie Aussant (CNRS UMR7597 HTL, Université de Paris, LabEx EFL)

  • Ghanshyam Sharma (INALCO, PLIDAM, LabEx EFL)


This workshop is devoted to Hindi grammars and lexica in a historical perspective, in the same spirit as the workshops previously organized within the “Extended Grammars” program of the LabEx Empirical Foundations of Linguistics (“Extended Sanskrit Grammar”, “Exogenous Grammars of Armenian”, “Extended Arabic Grammar”, “Extended Greek Grammar”).

Descriptions of Hindi, which cover a continuous period of almost three centuries, are rooted in two exogenous grammatical traditions: the Greco-Latin tradition, introduced into India by European missionaries, settlers or merchants (the most ancient Hindi grammar which has come down to us is written in Dutch) and the Sanskrit tradition. The descriptive models elaborated by both these grammatical traditions were diversely – and more or less successfully – adapted in order to explain Hindi data and make its acquisition as a primary or a secondary language possible. The history of grammatical descriptions of Hindi thus constitutes a highly stimulating field of research for those who are interested in the “Extended Grammar” phenomenon. Moreover, contrary to the Sanskrit and the Tamil grammatical traditions which have been studied for centuries now in India and beyond, the description of Indian vernaculars has so far not really caught researchers’ attention. This workshop aims at filling this gap, at least in part.

Work on Hindi lexica is anchored in three distinct lexicographic traditions: Sanskrit, Persian and Greco-Latin. It is generally considered that the first autonomous works on the Hindi lexicon date back to the 14th c.: the first representative would be the Khalikbari composed by the well-known poet Amir Khusro (a Turk born in India) in 1340. This work, which does not limit itself to the nouns (it includes particles), provides various synonyms coming from different dialects of ancient Hindi, from Persian and from Turkish. Up to the composition, from 1922 to 1929, of the great Hindi Shabd Sagar dictionary by the Nagari Pracharini Sabha of Benares, numerous monolingual or bilingual works were composed by Indian or foreign scholars, for literary composition or language learning.

Research presented during this workshop will aim at answering the following questions, among others: how is Hindi depicted in grammars and dictionaries (as a unified linguistic variety among others? As a language with dialectal varieties? As a linguistic variety derived from Sanskrit?...)? What forms does its constitution take? How and with what degree of success are the grammatical models elaborated for Sanskrit or Greco-Latin adapted to Hindi? How does the specificity of Hindi emerge through these adapted works?

Selected papers will be published in a special issue of a journal.


Deadline for abstracts (no longer than 500 words, with bibliography): 18th June 2021 Notification of acceptance: 10th July 2021

Request for information and proposals should be sent to