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Harry Stroomer

Professor emeritus of Afroasiatic Languages

Prof.dr. H.J. Stroomer
+31 71 527 2125


Prof Stroomer is a field-work oriented descriptive linguist focusing on linguistic diversity in North Africa and the Middle East. He has a warm interest in local cultures, material culture and linguistic anthropology. He did fieldwork in Egypt, Kenya, Somalia, Morocco and Yemen. He studied languages in the Semitic, Cushitic and Berber group of the Afroasiatic language family.


South Semitic Studies:

  • Linguistic diversity in Oman and Yemen: Texts in and linguistic analysis of Modern South Arabian Languages (Semitic languages spoken in Yemen and Oman)
  • Coordinator for the Oosters Instituut of the project: Transcription of the collection of South Arabian inscriptions on wood in the Leiden University Library, by Prof Drewes and Prof Ryckmans.

Berber Studies:

  • Dictionnaire Tachelhiyt-Francais
  • Ethnographic texts in Tachelhiyt Berber
  • Oral litature in Tachelhiyt Berber



Hendrikus Joseph (Harry) Stroomer was born on 22 November 1946 in Alkmaar, The Netherlands. He received primary education (1953-1959) and secondary education (Gymnasium, 1959-1965) in his home town.

From 1966-1976 he studied Arabic, Assyriology, Comparative Semitic Linguis­tics, General Linguistics, and various Ethiopian languages at both Amsterdam University and Leiden Universi­ty. In the academic year 1971-1972 he studied Arabic at Cairo University. In 1976 he passed his "doc­toraal" (MA) exam with Arabic, Islamic studies, Classical Ethiopic, Epigraphic South Arabian and Comparative Semitic Linguis­tics as major subjects.

From November 1976 he is included in the staff of the section of Arabic (including Berber and South Semitic languages of the Arabic-Persian-Turkish teaching program within the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Middle East of Leiden University as an associate professor.

In the period 1976-1980 he participated in various linguistic workshops at the University of Amsterdam.

From 1978-1987 he worked on Cushitic languages (Oromo dialects, Burji and Somali). In 1978-1979, 1980 and 1983 he did fieldwork in Kenya, among the Boraana Oromo (Marsabit), the Orma Oromo (Tana River) and the Waata Oromo (near Malindi). The results of this fieldwork were pub­lished in a Ph.D. submitted in 1987 at Leiden University entitled: A Compara­tive Study of Three Southern Oromo Dialects in Kenya, first published by Buske Verlag, and two monographs published by Köppe Verlag.

From 1986 onwards he has been teaching Berber languages and encourages research on these languages.

From Februari 1st, 2002 he is full professor of Afroasiatic, in particular Berber and the Semitic languages of Arabia and Ethiopia.

Fellow of the Fonds Arsène Roux at the MMSH / IREMAM (CNRS) Aix-en-Provence (because of Berbers studies).

Member of the:

  • editing board of Journal of African Languages and Linguistics.
  • editorial board of the Stichting De Goeje.
  • founder (2001) and editor of Berber Studies, published with Rüdiger Köppe Verlag / Keulen (Google Berber Studies Stroomer)
  • the central Comité Scientifique of the international Journal Etudes et Documents berbères
  • équipe website Ouahmi Ould Braham Multimedia
  • editorial Board Studia Semitica Neerlandica (Brill)
  • member of the editorial Board of Folia Orientalia, published by the Polish Academy of Sciences, Cracow Branch.

    H.J. Stroomer is married, with three children.


Key publications

  • (2001) An anthology of Tashelhiyt Berber Folktales (Morocco), Koeppe Verlag.
  • (2001) "Islamic poetry of Oromos in Northern Kenya", Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere, Maerz, pp. 71-102.
  • (2000) Textes Berbères des Guedmioua et Goundafa, Haut-Atlas, Maroc. Edisud, Aix-en-Provence.
  • (1999) Mehri texts from Oman, based on the fieldmaterials of Prof. Johnstone, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 302 pp.
  • (1995) A Grammar of Boraana Oromo, Koeppe Verlag, Cologne, 315 pp.

An overview of all publications can be found under 'Published work' (top page).



The topics of his teaching at Leiden University include:

  • Introduction to Berber languages and cultures
  • Tashelhiyt Berber (South Morocco)
  • Classical Ethiopic
  • Epigraphic South Arabian
  • Compara­tive Semitic Linguistics
  • Arabic dialectology
  • Arabic linguistic diversity
  • Moroccan Arabic
  • Oromo

Professor emeritus of Afroasiatic Languages

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Univ Centre for Linguistics
  • LUCL diversen


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