Swadesh list for proto indo-european and coefficient of relatedness

Linguistics Asked on December 19, 2021

Given two Swadesh lists of two languages, we can calculate a "coefficient of relatedness" by counting the proportion of cognades. Given two languages, L1 and L2, let’s call C(L1,L2) to this coefficient, which will be a number between 0 and 1. Now, I was attempting to calculate C(PIE,L)* for every (or at least a bunch of representatives ones sampling every major branch) modern living indo-european language.

It is extremely tedious, but potentially doable with a computer, of course, but I was guessing that probably this is out there somewhere. Where could I find such an info?

Also, even if not all these numbers are available, I am very much interested in the following question: For which L’s is the the coefficient C(PIE,L) largest? And for which languages would it be smallest? I am not sure either what would be "large" and what would be "small" in this context, so perhaps someone could comment on that too.

(*Note: In this context, substitue "being cognades" for "the word in L descend from the word in PIE of the same sloth in the Swadesh list")

One Answer

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For pointers towards Swadesh lists see this question and its answers Database of Swadesh lists — unfortunately I don't see a list for Proto-Indogermanic or other reconstructed languages at first sight. You will have to annotate "cognateness" manually in any case, so you probably better go through the dictionaries and prepare it yourself. Be aware of potential duplicates (e.g., the two words for "water"), synonyms, and homophones. It is not as easy as it may look like.

Answered by jk - Reinstate Monica on December 19, 2021

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