John Okell

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John Okell OBE
Born 1934 (age 82–83)
Brighton, England[1]
Nationality British
Fields Burma studies
Institutions SOAS (1959–1999)
Alma mater University of Oxford (B.A., M.A.)

John William Alan Okell OBE (pronounced [əʊˈkɛl]; born 1934) is a British linguist notable for his expertise in the field of Burma studies.

Life[edit]

He was educated at The Queen's College, University of Oxford, where he read Literae Humaniores ("Greats").[2]

In 1959, an inquiry about language courses through the British Foreign Office led to his joining the School of Oriental and African Studies as a trainee lecturer in Burmese: "They were looking for someone to be taught Burmese. I applied to the program as I was interested in languages and they chose me and trained me."[3][2]

At SOAS, he studied Burmese with Hla Pe and Anna J. Allott, phonetics with R. K. Sprigg and N. C. Scott, and general linguistics with R. H. Robins and Eugénie Henderson.[2] After eighteen months of study, he travelled to Burma, where he spent a year (1960–1961) immersing himself in the country's language and culture.[3][4] He returned for another year-long visit in 1969.[4]

He retired from SOAS in 1999, although he remains a research associate in the Department of South East Asia.[5] Since his retirement, he has continued his teaching of Burmese through short courses convened in a variety of places, most notably Chiang Mai and Yangon.[3][2]

In 2014, in the Queen's Birthday Honours, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to UK/Burma relations.[6][2]

In 2016, SOAS awarded him an honorary doctorate.[7]

He is the creator of the Avalaser Burmese computer font and the Chairman of the Britain–Burma Society.[4]

Notable works[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Okell, John (1969). A Reference Grammar of Colloquial Burmese. London: Oxford University Press.
  • Okell, John (1971). A Guide to the Romanization of Burmese. London: Luzac.
  • Okell, John (1989). First Steps in Burmese. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
  • Okell, John (1994). Burmese: An Introduction to the Spoken Language: Book 1. De Kalb: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University.
  • Okell, John (1994). Burmese: An Introduction to the Spoken Language: Book 2. De Kalb: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University.
  • Okell, John (1994). Burmese: An Introduction to the Script. De Kalb: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University.
  • Okell, John (1994). Burmese: An Introduction to the Literary Style. De Kalb: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University.
  • Okell, John, and Anna Allott (2001). Burmese/Myanmar Dictionary of Grammatical Forms. Richmond: Curzon Press.
  • Okell, John (2002). Burmese By Ear/Essential Myanmar. London: Audio-Forum, Sussex Publications.[a]

Papers[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The publishers of Burmese By Ear/Essential Myanmar relinquished publication rights in 2006. Since 2009, it has been available for downloading free of charge from the website of the School of Oriental and African Studies.

References[edit]

External links[edit]