Leipzig–Jakarta list

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The Leipzig–Jakarta list is a 100-word word list used by linguists to test the degree of chronological separation of languages by comparing words that are resistant to borrowing. The Leipzig-Jakarta list became available in 2009.[1]

In the 1950s, the linguist Morris Swadesh published a list of 200 words called the Swadesh list, allegedly the 200 lexical concepts found in all languages that were least likely to be borrowed from other languages. In the 1970s, Swadesh whittled the Swadesh list down to 100 items. The Swadesh list, however, was based mainly on intuition, according to Martin Haspelmath and Uri Tadmor.[2] 62 items on the Leipzig-Jakarta list and on the 100 word Swadesh list overlap, hence a 38% difference between the two lists.

The Loanword Typology Project, with the World Loanword Database (WOLD), published by the Max Planck Digital Library, was established to rectify this problem. Experts on 41 languages from across the world were given a uniform vocabulary list and asked to provide the words for each item in the language on which they were an expert, as well as information on how strong the evidence that each word was borrowed was.[3] The 100 concepts that were found in most languages and were most resistant to borrowing formed the Leipzig–Jakarta list.

25% of the words in the Leipzig–Jakarta list are body parts: mouth, eye, leg/foot, navel, liver, knee, etc.[4] Six animal words appear on the list: fish, bird, dog, louse, ant and fly – animals found everywhere humans can be found.[5]

The items house, name, rope and to tie are products of human culture, but are probably found in all present-day human societies. Haspelmath and Tadmor drew the conclusion that "rope is the most basic of human tools and tying is the most basic technology".[6]

The list[edit]

  • ant
  • arm/hand
  • ash
  • back
  • big
  • bird
  • to bite
  • bitter
  • black
  • blood
  • to blow
  • bone
  • breast
  • to burn (intransitive)
  • to carry
  • child (reciprocal of parent)
  • to come
  • to crush/to grind
  • to cry/to weep
  • to do/to make
  • dog
  • drink
  • ear
  • to eat
  • egg
  • eye
  • to fall
  • far
  • fire
  • fish
  • flesh/meat
  • fly
  • to give
  • to go
  • good
  • hair
  • hard
  • he/she/it/him/her
  • to hear
  • heavy
  • to hide
  • to hit/to beat
  • horn
  • house
  • I/me
  • in
  • knee
  • to know
  • to laugh
  • leaf
  • leg/foot
  • liver
  • long
  • louse
  • mouth
  • name
  • navel
  • neck
  • new
  • night
  • nose
  • not
  • old
  • one
  • rain
  • red
  • root
  • rope
  • to run
  • salt
  • sand
  • to say
  • to see
  • shade/shadow
  • skin/hide
  • small
  • smoke
  • soil
  • to stand
  • star
  • stone/rock
  • to suck
  • sweet
  • tail
  • to take
  • thick
  • thigh
  • this
  • to tie
  • tongue
  • tooth
  • water
  • what?
  • who?
  • wide
  • wind
  • wing
  • wood
  • yesterday
  • you (singular)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Linguistic Fieldwork: A Student Guide" by J. Sakel and D. L. Everett
  2. ^ Haspelmath, p. 72
  3. ^ http://wold.livingsources.org/
  4. ^ Haspelmath, p. 71
  5. ^ Haspelmath, p. 72
  6. ^ Haspelmath, p. 72