Swadesh list

The Swadesh list /ˈswɒdɛʃ/ is a classic compilation of basic concepts for the purposes of historical-comparative linguistics. Translations of the Swadesh list into a set of languages allow researchers to quantify the interrelatedness of those languages. The Swadesh list is named after linguist Morris Swadesh. It is used in lexicostatistics (the quantitative assessment of the genealogical relatedness of languages) and glottochronology (the dating of language divergence). Because there are several different lists, some authors also refer to "Swadesh lists".

Versions and authorsEdit

Morris Swadesh himself created several versions of his list. He started[1] with a list of 215 meanings (falsely introduced as a list of 225 meanings in the paper due to a spelling error[2]), which he reduced to 165 words for the Salish-Spokane-Kalispel language. In 1952 he published a list of 215 meanings,[3] of which he suggested the removal of 16 for being unclear or not universal, with one added to arrive at 200 words. In 1955[4] he wrote, "The only solution appears to be a drastic weeding out of the list, in the realization that quality is at least as important as quantity....Even the new list has defects, but they are relatively mild and few in number." After minor corrections the final 100-word list was published posthumously in 1971[5] and 1972.

Other versions of lexicostatistical test lists were published e.g. by Robert Lees (1953), John A. Rea (1958:145f), Dell Hymes (1960:6), E. Cross (1964 with 241 concepts), W. J. Samarin (1967:220f), D. Wilson (1969 with 57 meanings), Lionel Bender (1969), R. L. Oswald (1971), Winfred P. Lehmann (1984:35f), D. Ringe (1992, passim, different versions), Sergei Starostin (1984, passim, different versions), William S-Y. Wang (1994), M. Lohr (2000, 128 meanings in 18 languages). B. Kessler (2002), and many others. The CLLD-Concepticon collects various concept lists (including classical Swadesh lists) across different linguistic areas and times, currently listing 240 different concept lists.[6]

Frequently used and widely available on the internet, is the version by I. Dyen (1992, 200 meanings of 95 language variants). Since 2010, a team around M. Dunn has tried to update and enhance that list.[7]

PrincipleEdit

In origin, the words in the Swadesh lists were chosen for their universal, culturally independent availability in as many languages as possible, regardless of their "stability". Nevertheless, the stability of the resulting list of "universal" vocabulary under language change and the potential use of this fact for purposes of glottochronology have been analyzed by numerous authors, including Marisa Lohr 1999, 2000.[8]

The Swadesh list was put together by Morris Swadesh on the basis of his intuitions. More recent similar lists, such as the Dolgopolsky list (1964) or the Leipzig–Jakarta list (2009), are based on systematic data from many different languages, but they are not yet as widely known nor as widely used as the Swadesh list.

Usage in lexicostatistics and glottochronologyEdit

Lexicostatistical test lists are used in lexicostatistics to define subgroupings of languages, and in glottochronology to "provide dates for branching points in the tree".[9] The task of defining (and counting the number) of cognate words in the list is far from trivial, and often is subject to dispute, because cognates do not necessarily look similar, and recognition of cognates presupposes knowledge of the sound laws of the respective languages. For example, English "wheel" and Sanskrit chakra are cognates, although they are not recognizable as such without knowledge of the history of both languages.

Swadesh 100 Original Final ListEdit

Swadesh's final list, published in 1971,[5] contains 100 terms. Explanations of the terms can be found in Swadesh 1952[3] or, where noted by a dagger (), in Swadesh 1955.

  1. I (Pers.Pron.1.Sg.)
  2. you (2.sg! 1952 thou & ye)
  3. we (1955: inclusive)
  4. this
  5. that
  6. who? (“?” not 1971)
  7. what? (“?” not 1971)
  8. not
  9. all (of a number)
  10. many
  11. one
  12. two
  13. big
  14. long (not wide)
  15. small
  16. woman
  17. man (adult male human)
  18. person (individual human)
  19. fish (noun)
  20. bird
  21. dog
  22. louse
  23. tree (not log)
  24. seed (noun)
  25. leaf (botanics)
  26. root (botanics)
  27. bark (of tree)
  28. skin (1952: person’s)
  29. flesh (1952 meat, flesh)
  30. blood
  31. bone
  32. grease (1952: fat, organic substance)
  33. egg
  34. horn (of bull etc., not 1952)
  35. tail
  36. feather (large, not down)
  37. hair (on head of humans)
  38. head (anatomic)
  39. ear
  40. eye
  41. nose
  42. mouth
  43. tooth (front, rather than molar)
  44. tongue (anatomical)
  45. claw (not in 1952)1
  46. foot (not leg)
  47. knee (not 1952)
  48. hand
  49. belly (lower part of body, abdomen)
  50. neck (not nape)
  51. breasts (female; 1955 still breast)
  52. heart
  53. liver
  54. drink (verb)
  55. eat (verb)
  56. bite (verb)
  57. see (verb)
  58. hear (verb)
  59. know (facts)
  60. sleep (verb)
  61. die (verb)
  62. kill (verb)
  63. swim (verb)
  64. fly (verb)
  65. walk (verb)
  66. come (verb)
  67. lie (on side, recline)
  68. sit (verb)
  69. stand (verb)
  70. give (verb)
  71. say (verb)
  72. sun
  73. moon (not 1952)
  74. star
  75. water (noun)
  76. rain (noun, 1952 verb)
  77. stone
  78. sand
  79. earth (soil)
  80. cloud (not fog)
  81. smoke (noun, of fire)
  82. fire
  83. ash(es)
  84. burn (verb intr.!)
  85. path (1952 road, trail; not street)
  86. mountain (not hill)
  87. red (color)
  88. green (color)
  89. yellow (color)
  90. white (color)
  91. black (color)
  92. night
  93. hot (adjective; 1952 warm, of weather)
  94. cold (of weather)
  95. full
  96. new
  97. good
  98. round (not 1952)
  99. dry (substance)
  100. name

^ "Claw" was only added in 1955, but again replaced by many well-known specialists with (finger)nail, because expressions for "claw" are not available in many old, extinct, or lesser known languages.

Swadesh 207 listEdit

The most used list nowadays is the Swadesh 207-word list, conform Swadesh 1952[3].

In Wiktionary ("Swadesh lists by language"), Panlex[10][11] and in Palisto's "Swadesh Word List of Indo-European languages"[12] hundreds of Swadesh lists in this form can be found.

  1. I
  2. you (singular)
  3. he
  4. we
  5. you (plural)
  6. they
  7. this
  8. that
  9. here
  10. there
  11. who
  12. what
  13. where
  14. when
  15. how
  16. not
  17. all
  18. many
  19. some
  20. few
  21. other
  22. one
  23. two
  24. three
  25. four
  26. five
  27. big
  28. long
  29. wide
  30. thick
  31. heavy
  32. small
  33. short
  34. narrow
  35. thin
  36. woman
  37. man (adult male)
  38. man (human being)
  39. child
  40. wife
  41. husband
  42. mother
  43. father
  44. animal
  45. fish
  46. bird
  47. dog
  48. louse
  49. snake
  50. worm
  51. tree
  52. forest
  53. stick
  54. fruit
  55. seed
  56. leaf
  57. root
  58. bark (of a tree)
  59. flower
  60. grass
  61. rope
  62. skin
  63. meat
  64. blood
  65. bone
  66. fat (noun)
  67. egg
  68. horn
  69. tail
  70. feather
  71. hair
  72. head
  73. ear
  74. eye
  75. nose
  76. mouth
  77. tooth
  78. tongue (organ)
  79. fingernail
  80. foot
  81. leg
  82. knee
  83. hand
  84. wing
  85. belly
  86. guts
  87. neck
  88. back
  89. breast
  90. heart
  91. liver
  92. to drink
  93. to eat
  94. to bite
  95. to suck
  96. to spit
  97. to vomit
  98. to blow
  99. to breathe
  100. to laugh
  101. to see
  102. to hear
  103. to know
  104. to think
  105. to smell
  106. to fear
  107. to sleep
  108. to live
  109. to die
  110. to kill
  111. to fight
  112. to hunt
  113. to hit
  114. to cut
  115. to split
  116. to stab
  117. to scratch
  118. to dig
  119. to swim
  120. to fly
  121. to walk
  122. to come
  123. to lie (as in a bed)
  124. to sit
  125. to stand
  126. to turn (intransitive)
  127. to fall
  128. to give
  129. to hold
  130. to squeeze
  131. to rub
  132. to wash
  133. to wipe
  134. to pull
  135. to push
  136. to throw
  137. to tie
  138. to sew
  139. to count
  140. to say
  141. to sing
  142. to play
  143. to float
  144. to flow
  145. to freeze
  146. to swell
  147. sun
  148. moon
  149. star
  150. water
  151. rain
  152. river
  153. lake
  154. sea
  155. salt
  156. stone
  157. sand
  158. dust
  159. earth
  160. cloud
  161. fog
  162. sky
  163. wind
  164. snow
  165. ice
  166. smoke
  167. fire
  168. ash
  169. to burn
  170. road
  171. mountain
  172. red
  173. green
  174. yellow
  175. white
  176. black
  177. night
  178. day
  179. year
  180. warm
  181. cold
  182. full
  183. new
  184. old
  185. good
  186. bad
  187. rotten
  188. dirty
  189. straight
  190. round
  191. sharp (as a knife)
  192. dull (as a knife)
  193. smooth
  194. wet
  195. dry
  196. correct
  197. near
  198. far
  199. right
  200. left
  201. at
  202. in
  203. with
  204. and
  205. if
  206. because
  207. name

Shorter listsEdit

The Swadesh–Yakhontov list is a 35-word subset of the Swadesh list posited as especially stable by Russian linguist Sergei Yakhontov. It has been used in lexicostatistics by linguists such as Sergei Starostin. With their Swadesh numbers, they are:[13]

  1. I
  2. you (singular)
  3. this
  4. who
  5. what
  6. one
  7. two
  8. fish
  9. dog
  10. louse
  11. blood
  12. bone
  13. egg
  14. horn
  15. tail
  16. ear
  17. eye
  18. nose
  19. tooth
  20. tongue
  21. hand
  22. know
  23. die
  24. give
  25. sun
  26. moon
  27. water
  28. salt
  29. stone
  30. wind
  31. fire
  32. year
  33. full
  34. new
  35. name

Holman et al. (2008) found that in identifying the relationships between Chinese dialects the Swadesh–Yakhontov list was less accurate than the original Swadesh-100 list. Further they found that a different (40-word) list was just as accurate as the Swadesh-100 list. However, they calculated the relative stability of the words by comparing retentions between languages in established language families. They found no statistically significant difference in the correlations in the families of the Old versus the New World.

The ranked Swadesh-100 list, with Swadesh numbers and relative stability, is as follows (Holman et al., Appendix. Asterisked words appear on the 40-word list):

  1. 22 *louse (42.8)
  2. 12 *two (39.8)
  3. 75 *water (37.4)
  4. 39 *ear (37.2)
  5. 61 *die (36.3)
  6. 1 *I (35.9)
  7. 53 *liver (35.7)
  8. 40 *eye (35.4)
  9. 48 *hand (34.9)
  10. 58 *hear (33.8)
  11. 23 *tree (33.6)
  12. 19 *fish (33.4)
  13. 100 *name (32.4)
  14. 77 *stone (32.1)
  15. 43 *tooth (30.7)
  16. 51 *breasts (30.7)
  17. 2 *you (30.6)
  18. 85 *path (30.2)
  19. 31 *bone (30.1)
  20. 44 *tongue (30.1)
  21. 28 *skin (29.6)
  22. 92 *night (29.6)
  23. 25 *leaf (29.4)
  24. 76 rain (29.3)
  25. 62 kill (29.2)
  26. 30 *blood (29.0)
  27. 34 *horn (28.8)
  28. 18 *person (28.7)
  29. 47 *knee (28.0)
  30. 11 *one (27.4)
  31. 41 *nose (27.3)
  32. 95 *full (26.9)
  33. 66 *come (26.8)
  34. 74 *star (26.6)
  35. 86 *mountain (26.2)
  36. 82 *fire (25.7)
  37. 3 *we (25.4)
  38. 54 *drink (25.0)
  39. 57 *see (24.7)
  40. 27 bark (24.5)
  41. 96 *new (24.3)
  42. 21 *dog (24.2)
  43. 72 *sun (24.2)
  44. 64 fly (24.1)
  45. 32 grease (23.4)
  46. 73 moon (23.4)
  47. 70 give (23.3)
  48. 52 heart (23.2)
  49. 36 feather (23.1)
  50. 90 white (22.7)
  51. 89 yellow (22.5)
  52. 20 bird (21.8)
  53. 38 head (21.7)
  54. 79 earth (21.7)
  55. 46 foot (21.6)
  56. 91 black (21.6)
  57. 42 mouth (21.5)
  58. 88 green (21.1)
  59. 60 sleep (21.0)
  60. 7 what (20.7)
  61. 26 root (20.5)
  62. 45 claw (20.5)
  63. 56 bite (20.5)
  64. 83 ash (20.3)
  65. 87 red (20.2)
  66. 55 eat (20.0)
  67. 33 egg (19.8)
  68. 6 who (19.0)
  69. 99 dry (18.9)
  70. 37 hair (18.6)
  71. 81 smoke (18.5)
  72. 8 not (18.3)
  73. 4 this (18.2)
  74. 24 seed (18.2)
  75. 16 woman (17.9)
  76. 98 round (17.9)
  77. 14 long (17.4)
  78. 69 stand (17.1)
  79. 97 good (16.9)
  80. 17 man (16.7)
  81. 94 cold (16.6)
  82. 29 flesh (16.4)
  83. 50 neck (16.0)
  84. 71 say (16.0)
  85. 84 burn (15.5)
  86. 35 tail (14.9)
  87. 78 sand (14.9)
  88. 5 that (14.7)
  89. 65 walk (14.4)
  90. 68 sit (14.3)
  91. 10 many (14.2)
  92. 9 all (14.1)
  93. 59 know (14.1)
  94. 80 cloud (13.9)
  95. 63 swim (13.6)
  96. 49 belly (13.5)
  97. 13 big (13.4)
  98. 93 hot (11.6)
  99. 67 lie (11.2)
  100. 15 small (6.3)

Sign languagesEdit

In studying the sign languages of Vietnam and Thailand, linguist James Woodward noted that the traditional Swadesh list applied to spoken languages was unsuited for sign languages. The Swadesh list results in overestimation of the relationships between sign languages, due to indexical signs such as pronouns and parts of the body. The modified list is as follows, in largely alphabetical order:[14]

  1. all
  2. animal
  3. bad
  4. because
  5. bird
  6. black
  7. blood
  8. child
  9. count
  10. day
  11. die
  12. dirty
  13. dog
  14. dry
  15. dull
  16. dust
  17. earth
  18. egg
  19. grease
  20. father
  21. feather
  22. fire
  23. fish
  24. flower
  25. good
  26. grass
  27. green
  28. heavy
  29. how
  30. hunt
  31. husband
  32. ice
  33. if
  34. kill
  35. laugh
  36. leaf
  37. lie
  38. live
  39. long
  40. louse
  41. man
  42. meat
  43. mother
  44. mountain
  45. name
  46. narrow
  47. new
  48. night
  49. not
  50. old
  51. other
  52. person
  53. play
  54. rain
  55. red
  56. correct
  57. river
  58. rope
  59. salt
  60. sea
  61. sharp
  62. short
  63. sing
  64. sit
  65. smooth
  66. snake
  67. snow
  68. stand
  69. star
  70. stone
  71. sun
  72. tail
  73. thin
  74. tree
  75. vomit
  76. warm
  77. water
  78. wet
  79. what
  80. when
  81. where
  82. white
  83. who
  84. wide
  85. wife
  86. wind
  87. with
  88. woman
  89. wood
  90. worm
  91. year
  92. yellow
  93. full
  94. moon
  95. brother
  96. cat
  97. dance
  98. pig
  99. sister
  100. work

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Swadesh 1950: 161
  2. ^ List, J.-M. (2018): Towards a history of concept list compilation in historical linguistics. History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences 5.10. URL
  3. ^ a b c Swadesh 1952: 456–7 PDF
  4. ^ Swadesh 1955: 125
  5. ^ a b Swadesh 1971: 283
  6. ^ List, J.-M., M. Cysouw, and R. Forkel (2016): Concepticon. A resource for the linking of concept lists. In: Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation. 2393-2400. PDF
  7. ^ "IELex :: IELex".
  8. ^ Marisa Lohr (2000), "New Approaches to Lexicostatistics and Glottochronology" in C. Renfrew, A. McMahon and L. Trask, ed. Time Depth in Historical Linguistics, Vol. 1, pp. 209–223
  9. ^ Sheila Embleton (1992), in W. Bright, ed., International Encyclopaedia of Linguistics, Oxford University Press, p. 131
  10. ^ Jonathan Pool (2016), Panlex Swadesh Lists PDF
  11. ^ David Kamholz, Jonathan Pool, Susan Colowick (2014), PanLex: Building a Resource for Panlingual Lexical Translation PDF
  12. ^ Palisto (2013), Swadesh Word List of Indo-European languages .
  13. ^ Starostin 1991
  14. ^ Karen Emmorey; Harlan L. Lane (2000). The Signs of Language Revisited: An Anthology to Honor Ursula Bellugi and Edward Klima. Psychology Press. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0-8058-3246-4. Retrieved 26 September 2011.

ReferencesEdit

  • Campbell, Lyle. (1998). Historical Linguistics: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 0-262-53267-0.
  • Embleton, Sheila (1995). Review of An Indo-European Classification: A Lexicostatistical Experiment by Isidore Dyen, J.B. Kruskal and P.Black. TAPS Monograph 82–5, Philadelphia. in Diachronica Vol. 12, no. 2, 263–68.
  • Gudschinsky, Sarah. (1956). "The ABCs of Lexicostatistics (Glottochronology)." Word, Vol. 12, 175–210.
  • Hoijer, Harry. (1956). "Lexicostatistics: A Critique." Language, Vol. 32, 49–60.
  • Holm, Hans J. (2007). "The New Arboretum of Indo-European 'Trees': Can New Algorithms Reveal the Phylogeny and Even Prehistory of Indo-European?" Journal of Quantitative Linguistics, Vol. 14, 167–214.
  • Holman, Eric W., Søren Wichmann, Cecil H. Brown, Viveka Velupillai, André Müller, Dik Bakker (2008). "Explorations in Automated Language Classification". Folia Linguistica, Vol. 42, no. 2, 331–354
  • Sankoff, David (1970). "On the Rate of Replacement of Word-Meaning Relationships." Language, Vol. 46, 564–569.
  • Starostin, Sergei (1991). Altajskaja Problema i Proisxozhdenie Japonskogo Jazyka [The Altaic Problem and the Origin of the Japanese Language]. Moscow: Nauka
  • Swadesh, Morris. (1950). "Salish Internal Relationships." International Journal of American Linguistics, Vol. 16, 157–167.
  • Swadesh, Morris. (1952). "Lexicostatistic Dating of Prehistoric Ethnic Contacts." Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 96, 452–463.
  • Swadesh, Morris. (1955). "Towards Greater Accuracy in Lexicostatistic Dating." International Journal of American Linguistics, Vol. 21, 121–137.
  • Swadesh, Morris. (1971). The Origin and Diversification of Language. Ed. post mortem by Joel Sherzer. Chicago: Aldine. ISBN 0-202-01001-5. Contains final 100-word list on p. 283.
  • Swadesh, Morris, et al. (1972). "What is Glottochronology?" in Morris Swadesh and Joel Sherzer, ed., The Origin and Diversification of Language, pp. 271–284. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. ISBN 0-202-30841-3.
  • Wittmann, Henri (1973). "The Lexicostatistical Classification of the French-Based Creole Languages." Lexicostatistics in Genetic Linguistics: Proceedings of the Yale Conference, April 3–4, 1971, dir. Isidore Dyen, 89–99. La Haye: Mouton.[1]

External linksEdit