Swadesh List

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A Swadesh list is one of several lists of vocabulary with "basic" meanings, developed by Morris Swadesh in the 1940–50s, which is used in lexicostatistics (quantitative language relatedness assessment) and glottochronology (language divergence dating).

See Appendix:Sino-Tibetan_Swadesh_lists for a comparison of Mandarin, Cantonese, Amoy, Teochew, Hakka, and Burmese.

English word POS MTL notes MTL (2) note (2) MTL (3) note (3) MTL (4) note (4) MTL (5) note (5)
I personal pronoun goar
you(singular) personal pronoun lie
he personal pronoun y
we personal pronoun gurn/goarn we (not including you) larn we (including you)
you(plural) personal pronoun lirn
they personal pronoun yn
this demonstrative pronoun zef cit'ee
that demonstrative pronoun hef hit'ee
here demonstrative pronoun ciaf
there demonstrative pronoun hiaf
who interrogative sviaflaang siafng contraction of sviaflaang
what interrogative sviafmih symmih tøfcidee which
where interrogative tøfui
when interrogative symmih-sizun what time tangsii
how interrogative juhøo formal afnzvoar informal zvoafviu in what way
not pud literary m is not/does not bøe is not able to maix do not (imperative) bøo does not have/did not
all quantifier zoanpo all of it kuy ex. all day sofu ex. all cars lorng ex. they all see it. lofngzorng ex. how many in all?
many quantifier zoe
some quantifier cidkoar/cidkoafar kuynaxee
few quantifier ciør
other quantifier kithvaf padee
one cardinal number id more than 10 cit less than 10
two cardinal number ji nng
three cardinal number svaf
four cardinal number six
five cardinal number go
big adjective toa
long adjective tngg
wide adjective khoafn
thick adjective kau
heavy adjective tang
small adjective soex
short adjective tøea
narrow adjective oeh
thin adjective pøh
woman noun lwjiin formal zabor informal
man(adult male) noun lamjiin formal zapof informal
man(human being) noun laang
child(a youth) noun gyn'ar informal jitoong formal
wife noun bor
husband noun afng
mother noun bwchyn/bøfchyn literary lauxbuo mamaf abuo
father noun huxchyn literary lauxpe papaf apaf
animal noun toxngbut
fish noun hii
bird noun ciao ciawar
dog noun kao kawar
louse noun bagsad satbuo
snake noun zoaa
worm noun thaang toxurn earthworm toxkurn earthworm
tree noun chiu chiu'ar (chiu-ar)
forest noun simliim chiuxnaa
stick noun chiuxky tree branch ki'ar informal
fruit noun zuykør koefcie
seed noun zefngcie
leaf noun hiøh hiøqar
root noun kwn
bark noun chiuxphøee
flower noun hoef
grass noun zhao
rope noun søq søh'ar
skin noun phøee phoehw
meat noun baq
blood noun huiq hiet'ek
bone noun kud kutthaau
fat noun cihoong academic jixnngg colloquial
egg noun nng køenng chicken egg
horn noun kag
tail noun bøea bøefliw
feather noun ciawmngg
hair noun thaumngg
head noun thaau affix thaukhag
ear noun hvi hvi'ar (hvi-ar) hvixkhafng
eye noun bagciw
nose noun phvi phvi'ar (phvi-ar)
mouth noun zhuix
tooth noun zhuiekhie
tongue noun cih zhuiecih
fingernail noun zefngkaq
foot noun khaf
leg noun thuie
knee noun khathauw
hand noun chiuo
wing noun ek literary sit sidar sidkor
belly noun paktor
guts noun tng'ar
neck noun axmkurn
back noun khaciahphviaf
breast noun hiofng chest (affix) hiongpo chest (academic) hengkharm chest (generic) lengpoong female organ
heart noun simzong
liver noun kvoaf affix kvoazong
drink verb lym
eat verb ciah
bite verb ka
suck verb khib affix cip sip suq suck
spit verb phuix generic phuienoa lit. spit saliva (informal) phuie-zhuienoa lit. spit saliva (informal) phuiethaam lit. spit phlegm (informal)
vomit verb ao informal thox informal awthox formal
blow verb zhef puun
breathe verb hokhib academic (respire) zhoafnkhuix
laugh verb chiøx
see verb khvoax
hear verb thviaf
know verb zay zaiviar bad to recognize
think verb sviu
smell verb phvi
fear verb kviaf
sleep verb khuxn
live verb oah
die verb sie
kill verb thaai
fight verb oankef argue siøphaq fists siøthaai war
hunt verb phahlah
hit verb phaq
cut verb koaq cut in two chied slice kaf scissors
split verb phoarkhuy transitive split open liqkhuy intransitive split open hunkhuy split up
stab verb chix zaan tuh
scratch verb pee
dig verb or oea iaq liuo kut
swim verb siuzuie
fly verb pøef
walk verb kviaa generic kvialo go on foot (informal) poxheeng go on foot (formal) poxkviaa go on foot (formal) poxliern go on foot (formal)
come verb laai
lie verb tør horizontal
sit verb ze
stand verb zam affix khia
turn verb oad change direction
fall verb lakløh drop
give verb ho
hold verb theh
squeeze verb lut
rub verb loarn massage; knead
wash verb søea
wipe verb chid
pull verb khiuo giuo
push verb sag
throw verb taxn
tie verb pak
sew verb paang thvi
count verb siaux
say verb korng
sing verb chviux
play verb sngr chitthøo intransitive
float verb phuu
flow verb laau
freeze verb kietpefng
swell verb phorngtoa
sun noun thaeioong scientific jidthaau informal
moon noun gøeqniuu
star noun chvy
water noun zuie
rain noun ho/løqho
river noun høo
lake noun oo
sea noun hae
salt noun iaam
stone noun ciøh affix ciøqthaau
sand noun soaf
dust noun thohurn
earth noun texkiuu planet
cloud noun huun
fog noun bu
sky noun thvy
wind noun hofng
snow noun søeq
ice noun pefng
smoke noun hwn
fire noun høea
ashes noun høef ashes or dust hoefhw
burn verb hviaa
road noun lo
mountain noun svoaf
red adjective aang
green adjective lek chveseg
yellow adjective ngg
white adjective peh
black adjective of
night noun armsii
day noun jidsii
year noun nii
warm adjective siølø
cold adjective kvoaa
full adjective boarn moar tvi
new adjective syn
old adjective lau not young ku not new
good adjective hør
bad adjective phvae
rotten adjective aux zhaonoa
dirty adjective lahsab
straight adjective tit
round adjective vii
sharp adjective lai
dull adjective tun
smooth adjective kngkut
wet adjective sib taam
dry adjective taf
correct adjective tiøh informal zerngkhag formal
near adjective kun
far adjective hng
right adjective cviax
left adjective tøx
at preposition ti
in preposition ti lai
with conjunction kab
and conjunction kab
if conjunction naxsi
because conjunction in'ui
name noun miaa affix or generic
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