Dolgopolsky list

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The Dolgopolsky list is a word list compiled by Aharon Dolgopolsky in 1964.[1] It lists the 15 lexical items that have the most semantic stability, i.e. they are the 15 words least likely to be replaced[why?] by other words as a language evolves. It was based on a study of 140 languages from across Eurasia.


The words, with the first being the most stable, are:

  1. I/me
  2. two/pair
  3. you (singular, informal)
  4. who/what
  5. tongue
  6. name
  7. eye
  8. heart
  9. tooth
  10. no/not
  11. nail (finger-nail)
  12. louse/nit
  13. tear/teardrop
  14. water
  15. dead

The first item in the list, I/me, has been replaced in none of the 140 languages during their recorded history; the fifteenth, dead, has been replaced in 25% of the languages.

The twelfth item, louse/nit, is well kept in the North Caucasian languages, Dravidian and Turkic, but not in some other proto-languages.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dolgopolsky, Aharon B. 1964. Gipoteza drevnejšego rodstva jazykovych semej Severnoj Evrazii s verojatnostej točky zrenija [A probabilistic hypothesis concerning the oldest relationships among the language families of Northern Eurasia]. Voprosy Jazykoznanija 2: 53-63.
  • Trask, Robert Lawrence (2000). The dictionary of historical and comparative linguistics. p. 96.

External links[edit]