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Swadesh List

Vocabulary list used in Glottochronolgy

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The Swadesh lists are two lists of words, 100 and 207 words long, created by the American linguist Morris Swadesh during the 1940s and 50s. They were developed to investigate the relation between a pair of languages using lexicostatistics. They are also used to predict how long ago divergence from a parent language has occurred through a field of study called glottochronology.

The 207 word list includes words which may not occur in a particular language -- the numbers four and five, sea, ice, snow, and mountain, for example.

It has been suggested that the Swadesh list is useful in learning new languages, giving a basic knowledge of vocabulary which will allow communication without worrying too much about grammar and syntax.

Swadesh List

Position English
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 (as an adult)
38 man (as a human)
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 (wood)
54 fruit
55 seed
56 leaf
57 root
58 bark (tree)
59 flower
60 grass
61 rope
62 skin (tissue)
63 meat
64 blood
65 bone
66 fat (substance)
67 egg
68 horn
69 tail
70 feather
71 hair
72 head
73 ear
74 eye
75 nose
76 mouth
77 tooth
78 tongue
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 (wind)
99 to breathe
100 to laugh
101 to see
102 to hear
103 to know
104 to think
105 to smell (sense)
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 lie down)
124 to sit
125 to stand
126 to turn
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 (soil)
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 (cf night)
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
192 dull
193 smooth
194 wet
195 dry
196 right (true)
197 near
198 far
199 right (direction)
200 left (direction)
201 at
202 in
203 with
204 and
205 if
206 because
207 name
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