CLAUSON, Gerard Leslie Makins

CLAUSON, Gerard Leslie Makins. 28.4.1891 — 1.5.1974 (or 1973?). Sir. British Linguist and Central Asian (especially Turkish) scholar, but began with Pāli studies. Son of major Sir John Eugene Cl. Educated at Eton, studies at Corpus Christi College, Oxford (classical and Oriental languages, Sanskrit and Arabic). In WW I fought at Galliopi, but mainly served in signals intelligence opening enemy’s codes. From 1919 employed in colonial civil service. From 1940 Assistant Under-Secretary. In 1951 retired. Married with Emily Mary Husey, two sons (one died), one daughter. An obitury by Bosworth et al (Bull. of Br. Soc. for Middle Eastern Studies 1, 1974, 39-43) claims he died 1.5.1973.

Clauson was interested in linguistics and archaeology already as a schoolboy, kept his interest during his career, and devoted to research in retirement. His early works (the first written as a schoolboy) were on Indology, in the 1950s and later he mostly concentrated on Turcology. He knew many languages, and was interested in finding out ghost words. He was one of the first to criticize the Altaic theory. His main work is the etymological dictionary of Old Turcic, materials for a larger comparative dictionary are kept in the library of the R.A.S. Also interested in Tangut (Xixia).

Publications: Edited: “A new Kammavācā”, JPTS 1906-07, 1-7; “Catalogue of the Stein Collection of Sanskrit MSS. from Kashmir”, JRAS 1912, 587–627.

With F. W. Thomas: “A Chinese Buddhist Text in Tibetan writing”, JRAS 1927, 508-526; “A Second Chinese Buddhist Text in Tibetan characters”, JRAS 1928, 281-306; with F.W.Th. & S. Miyamoto: “A Chinese Mahayāna Catechism in Chinese and Tibetan Characters”, JRAS 1929, 37-76.

With S. Yoshitake: “On the phonetic value of the Tibetan characters a and ’a and the equivalent characters in the ẖ alphabet”, JRAS 1929, 843-862.

– “A propos du manuscript Pelliot tibétain 1283”, JA 1957, 11-24; “The ẖ alphabet”, BSOAS 22, 1959, 300-323.

– “A hitherto unknown Turkish manuscript in ‘Uighur’ characters”, JRAS 1928, 99-130.

Sanglâx: a Persian guide to the Turkish language, by Muḥammad Mahdī Xān. Facs. ed. 1960; Turkish and Mongolian Studies. 1962.

– “The future of Tangut (Hsi-Hsia) Studies”, Asia Major N.S. 11, 1964, 54-77.

An etymological dictionary of pre-thirteenth century Turkish. 1972.

– “The Turkish-Khotanese vocabulary re-edited”, Islâm Tetkikleri Enstitüsü Dergisi 5, 1973, 37-45; “Nostratic”, JRAS 1973, 46-55. A number of other articles since the 1930s especially on Turcology, in JRAS, Proc. of the P.I.A.C. etc., altogether 52 publication (without reviews).

With J. Chadwick: “The Indus script deciphered”, Antiquity 43, 1969, 200-207.

Sources: Who Was Who 1971-80; *C.E. Bosworth, A Century of British Orientalists 1902–2001. Oxford 2001, 88-100; V. L. Ménage, JRAS 1975, 215-217; A. Róna-Tas, AOHu 29, 1975, 393; Wikipedia; photo in


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