Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Swadesh list is becoming relevant for WZ

The Swadesh list is this list of 207 English Expressions designed by Morris Swadesh to determine the closeness of a pair of languages. As it is a known method of determining exactly this, it makes sense to use it as one of our tools as well.

There are several things to having a Swadesh list; first of all if someone comes along and wants to make a point about a language, a dialect it is a perfect tool to separate the people that do from the people that whine. I know for instance that Westfries is a dialect, I lived in the region of Westfriesland for my younger years but I cannot create a Swadesh list for Westfries. The few words I know, I do not know how to spell and as a consequence I will not champion Westfries; I am the wrong person for that.

When the Swadesh list is translated, you will also find that there are synonyms, Expressions representing multiple DefinedMeanings. These in turn can also be translated and that would be in my opinion be a perfect tool to see how well these in turn are translated to all the other languages. This would be a perfect tool to see how active a language community is.

Now at this time three Swadesh projects on WiktionaryZ have started; one for the Neapolitan language, the Sicilian language and for the Greek language.



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