Leipzig–Jakarta list

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The Leipzig–Jakarta list of 100 words is 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. Swadesh later whittled his list down to 100 items. The Swadesh list, however, was based mainly on intuition, according to Martin Haspelmath and Uri Tadmor.[2]

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. Only 62 items on the Leipzig–Jakarta list and on the 100-word Swadesh list overlap, hence a 38% difference between the two lists.

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]

List[edit]

Lexical items in the Leipzig–Jakarta list are ranked by semantic stability, i.e. words least likely to be replaced by other words as a language evolves.[7][8] The right two columns indicate inclusion on the 100-word and 207-word Swadesh lists.[9]

Rank Word meaning 100-word Swadesh list 207-word Swadesh list
1 fire
2 nose
3 to go
4 water
5 mouth
6 tongue
7 blood
7 bone
9 2nd-person singular pronoun (you)
9 root
11 to come
12 breast
13 rain
14 1st-person singular pronoun (I/me)
15 name
15 louse
17 wing
18 flesh/meat
19 arm/hand
20 fly
20 night
22 ear
23 neck
23 far
25 to do/make
26 house
27 stone/rock
28 bitter
28 to say
28 tooth
31 hair
32 big
32 one
34 who?
34 3rd-person singular pronoun (he/she/it/him/her)
36 to hit/beat
37 leg/foot
38 horn
38 this
38 fish
41 yesterday
42 to drink
42 black
42 navel
45 to stand
46 to bite
46 back
48 wind
49 smoke
50 what?
51 child (kin term)
52 egg
53 to give
53 new
53 to burn (intr.)
56 not
56 good
58 to know
59 knee
59 sand
61 to laugh
61 to hear
63 soil
64 leaf
64 red
66 liver
67 to hide
67 skin/hide
67 to suck
70 to carry
71 ant
71 heavy
71 to take
74 old
75 to eat
76 thigh
76 thick
78 long
79 to blow
80 wood
81 to run
81 to fall
83 eye
84 ash
84 tail
84 dog
87 to cry/weep
88 to tie
89 to see
89 sweet
91 rope
91 shade/shadow
91 bird
91 salt
91 small
96 wide
97 star
97 in
99 hard
100 to crush/grind

Other differences with the Swadesh list[edit]

Items on the 100-word Swadesh list but not on the Leipzig-Jakarta list:[9]

  • all
  • bark
  • belly
  • cloud
  • cold
  • die
  • dry
  • feather
  • fingernail
  • fly (verb)
  • full
  • grease
  • green
  • head
  • heart
  • hot
  • kill
  • lie
  • man
  • many
  • moon
  • mountain
  • path
  • person
  • round
  • seed
  • sit
  • sleep
  • sun
  • swim
  • that
  • tree
  • two
  • walk
  • we
  • white
  • woman
  • yellow

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Linguistic Fieldwork: A Student Guide" by J. Sakel and D. L. Everett
  2. ^ Haspelmath, p. 72
  3. ^ "WOLD -". wold.clld.org. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  4. ^ Haspelmath, p. 71
  5. ^ Haspelmath, p. 72
  6. ^ Haspelmath, p. 72
  7. ^ http://udel.edu/~pcole/fieldmethods2010/The%20Leipzig-Jakarta%20Word%20List.pdf Source: Haspelmath, Martin and Uri Tadmor (eds.), 2009. Loanwords in the World’s Languages: A Comparative Handbook. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  8. ^ Tadmor, Uri, Martin Haspelmath, and Bradley Taylor. 2010. Borrowability and the notion of basic vocabulary. Diachronica 27:2 (2010), 226–246. doi:10.1075/dia.27.2.04tad
  9. ^ a b Haspelmath, p. 74

External links[edit]