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The Lost Dictionary
Once upon a time there was a dictionary, complete with anthropological footnotes, which recorded the culture and language of the Chin people; but the dictionary was ignored by the incoming Baptist missionaries and forgotten for a century, perhaps because its creator refused to condemn the Chins' animist religion.
This is the story of Surgeon-Major Arthur Newland, the pioneering photo-journalist who gave the Chins their written language; of his Chin wife Sina and their son Major Sam Newland D.S.O., hero of the wartime "Z Force Johnnies"; of the missionaries who converted the Chins to Christianity and of the Chin people themselves, a complex feudal society living in one of the most inaccessible regions on Earth.
The Lost Dictionary has more than 120 unique photographs and illustrations.
CD also available for purchase (Australian deliveries only), containing: A practical handbook of the language of the Lais as spoken by the Hakas and other allied tribes of the Chin Hills, written by Surgeon Major A.G.E.Newland (IMS). Published in 1897 and for all practical purposes ‘lost’ until the author discovered a copy in the Australian National Library in Canberra, which has been photographed and scanned to CD.
Born in the Netherlands in 1934 and educated in The Hague, Wim Vervest moved to Australia in 1954 to avoid being drafted and to study English Language at the University of Western Australia. He had intended to return to Europe after three years, but his marriage to Pam Newland in 1958 led to his settling in Australia permanently.
A respected amateur classical guitarist, he worked in marketing for Shell before taking early retirement and dedicating himself to music, surfing and kayaking, exploring the outback and, latterly, to researching the colourful history of his wife’s Anglo-Burmese-Chin family.