The Languages of the Caucasus: Scope for Study and Survival

The Languages of the Caucasus: Scope for Study and Survival, SOAS Inaugural Lecture, delivered 13th January 1998. Published by SOAS June 1998.

This lecture is dedicated to the memory of my friend,
Professor Yuri Voronov,
archæologist, historian and deputy prime-minister of Abkhazia
at the time of his assassination on 11th Sept 1995

Director1, Chairman, Your Excellencies, Your Lordship, Ladies and Gentlemen!

I am honoured and humbled both by the gracious words  to which Professor Rayfield has just treated me personally and all  too briefly entertained us all generally and by the mere fact that so many of you have elected to interrupt your busy schedules and in some cases travel quite considerable distances in order to be present this evening. It is a source of particular pleasure to welcome so many members of the various Caucasian communities about whose languages I shall be speaking. My one regret is that neither my parents nor the person who first brought the Caucasus to my attention  and roused my enthusiasm for its languages, Professor Sir Harold Bailey, lived long enough to know of the award of this professorship.

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