A culturally appropriate lexicostatistical model for Southeast Asia languages

Author : James Matisoff

Publication date : 1978

Bibliographical references :
Matisoff, James. 1978. Variational Semantics in Tibeto-Burman: The "organic" Approach to Linguistic Comparison. Institute for the Study of Human Issue : Philadelphia. (Wolfenden Society on Tibeto-Burman Linguistics. Occasional papers, v. 6).


This 200-word list can be used for the elicitation of core vocabulary in Southeast Asia languages.

It can also, as with the Swadesh word lists it is based on, can used for lexicostatistics, if applied to several languages.

Protocol summary

Words are to be elicited and transcribed. "[They are] arranged by semantic categories and correlated with some reconstructed roots in STC, TRS, etc." (Matisoff, 1978 : 283).

Development context

This wordlist builds upon the Swadesh wordlist, adapting it to South East Asia. Where available, lexemes are accompanied by Sino-Tibetan reconstructions.

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