Appendix:Mandarin Swadesh list

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Here is a Swadesh list of 207 words in English and Standard Mandarin, including Pinyin and IPA transcription.

The Swadesh word list, developed by the linguist Morris Swadesh, is used as a tool to study the evolution of languages. It contains a set of basic words which can be found in every language. Various versions have been created, in particular:

  • a complete 207 words version, in which some of the words are not found in every environment (it contains for instance snake and snow)
  • a reduced 100 words version.

This word list should not be considered as an elementary lexicon to communicate with speakers of a given language; for such a purpose, the numerous existing Wikivoyage lexicons are more useful. Its only objective is to give a rough idea of the language, by showing its lexical and, when possible, phonetic basis.

English word POS Pinyin IPA notes Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese
1 I personal pronoun uɔ˨˩˦
2 you(singular) personal pronoun ni˨˩˦
3 he personal pronoun tʰa˥˥
4 we personal pronoun wǒmen uɔ˨˩mən 我們 我们
5 you(plural) personal pronoun nǐmen ni˨˩mən informal 你們 你们
nínmen nɪn˧˥mən polite 您們 您们
6 they personal pronoun tāmen tʰa˥˥mən human 他們 他们
tāmen tʰa˥˥mən female human 她們 她们
tāmen tʰa˥˥mən non-human 它們 它们
7 this demonstrative pronoun zhè tʂə˥˩
zhèi tʂei˥˩
zhège tʂə˥˩kə 這個 这个
zhèige tʂei˥˩kə 這個 这个
8 that demonstrative pronoun na˥˩
nèi nei˥˩
nàge na˥˩kə 那個 那个
nèige nei˥˩kə 那個 那个
9 here demonstrative pronoun zhèli tʂə˥˩li 這裡 这里
zhèr tʂaɻ˥˩ Beijing accent 這兒 这儿
10 there demonstrative pronoun nàli na˥˩li 那裡 那里
nàr naɻ˥˩ Beijing accent 那兒 那儿
11 who interrogative shéi ʂei˧˥
shuí ʂuei˧˥
12 what interrogative shénme ʂən˧˥mə 甚麼 什么
nǎge na˨˩kə which 哪個 哪个
13 where interrogative nǎli na˧˥li 哪裡 哪里
nǎr naɻ˨˩˦ Beijing accent 哪兒 哪儿
14 when interrogative shénmēshíhòu ʂən˧˥mə˥˥ʂɚ˧˥xou˥˩ what time 甚麼時候 什么时候
15 how interrogative rúhé ʐu˧˥xə˧˥ formal 如何 如何
zěnme tsən˨˩mə informal 怎麼 怎么
zěnyàng tsən˨˩iaŋ˥˩ in what way 怎樣 怎样
16 not pu˥˩ is not/does not
bié piɛ˧˥ do not (imperative)
méi mei˧˥ does not have/did not
17 all quantifier quánbù tɕʰyɛn˧˥pu˥˩ all of it 全部 全部
zhěng tʂəŋ˨˩˦ ex. all day
suǒyǒu suɔ˧˥iou˨˩˦ ex. all cars 所有 所有
dōu tou˥˥ ex. they all see it.
yígòng ji˧˥kʊŋ˥˩ ex. how many in all? 一共 一共
18 many quantifier duō tuɔ˥˥
19 some quantifier yīxiē ji˥˥ɕiɛ˥˥ 一些 一些
jǐge tɕi˨˩kə 幾個 几个
20 few quantifier shǎo ʂau˨˩˦
21 other quantifier qítā tɕʰi˧˥tʰa˥˥ 其他 其他
biéde piɛ˧˥tə 別的 别的
22 one cardinal number ji˥˥
23 two cardinal number èr aɻ˥˩
liǎng liaŋ˨˩˦
24 three cardinal number sān san˥˥
25 four cardinal number sɨ˥˩
26 five cardinal number wu˨˩˦
27 big adjective ta˥˩
28 long adjective cháng tʂʰaŋ˧˥
29 wide adjective kuān kʰuan˥˥
30 thick adjective hòu xou˥˩
31 heavy adjective zhòng tʂʊŋ˥˩
32 small adjective xiǎo ɕiau˨˩˦
33 short adjective duǎn tuan˨˩˦
34 narrow adjective zhǎi tʂai˨˩˦
35 thin adjective báo pau˧˥
36 woman noun nǚrén ny˨˩ʐɛn˧˥ 女人 女人
37 man(adult male) noun nánrén nan˧˥ʐɛn˧˥ 男人 男人
38 man(human being) noun rén ʐɛn˧˥
39 child(a youth) noun háizi xai˧˥tsɨ 孩子 孩子
értóng aɻ˧˥tʰʊŋ˧˥ 兒童 儿童
xiǎohái ɕiau˨˩xai˧˥ 小孩 小孩
40 wife noun qīzi tɕʰi˥˥tsɨ 妻子 妻子
lǎopó lau˨˩pʰɔ˧˥ informal 老婆 老婆
41 husband noun zhàngfu tʂaŋ˥˩fu 丈夫 丈夫
lǎogōng lau˨˩kʊŋ˥˥ informal 老公 老公
42 mother noun mǔqīn mu˨˩tɕʰɪn˥˥ 母親 母亲
māma ma˥˥ma informal 媽媽 妈妈
43 father noun fùqīn fu˥˩tɕʰɪn˥˥ formal 父親 父亲
bàba pa˥˩pa informal 爸爸 爸爸
44 animal noun dòngwù tʊŋ˥˩wu˥˩ 動物 动物
45 fish noun y˧˥
46 bird noun niǎo niau˨˩˦
47 dog noun gǒu kou˨˩˦
48 louse noun shī ʂɚ˥˥
49 snake noun shé ʂə˧˥
50 worm noun chóng tʂʰʊŋ˧˥ worm, insect
rúchóng ʐu˧˥tʂʰʊŋ˧˥ generic 蠕蟲 蠕虫
qiūyǐn tɕʰiou˥˥jɪn˨˩˦ earthworm 蚯蚓 蚯蚓
51 tree noun shù ʂu˥˩
52 forest noun sēnlín sən˥˥lɪn˧˥ 森林 森林
53 stick noun shùzhī ʂu˥˩tʂɚ˥˥ tree branch 樹枝 树枝
zhītiáo tʂɚ˥˥tʰiau˧˥ formal 枝條 枝条
zhīzi tʂɚ˥˥tsɨ informal 枝子 枝子
54 fruit noun shǔiguǒ ʂuei˧˥kuɔ˨˩˦ 水果 水果
55 seed noun zhǒngzi tʂʊŋ˨˩tsɨ 種子 种子
56 leaf noun iɛ˥˩
yèzi iɛ˥˩tsɨ 葉子 叶子
57 root noun gēn kən˥˥
58 bark noun shùpí ʂu˥˩pʰi˧˥ 樹皮 树皮
59 flower noun huā xua˥˥
60 grass noun cǎo tsʰau˨˩˦
61 rope noun shéng ʂəŋ˧˥
shéngzi ʂəŋ˧˥tsɨ 繩子 绳子
62 skin noun pʰi˧˥
pífū pʰi˧˥fu˥˥ 皮膚 皮肤
63 meat noun ròu ʐou˥˩
64 blood noun xuè ɕyɛ˥˩
xuèyè ɕyɛ˥˩iɛ˥˩ 血液 血液
65 bone noun ku˨˩˦
gǔtóu ku˨˩tʰou˧˥ 骨頭 骨头
66 fat noun zhīfáng tʂɚ˥˥faŋ˧˥ 脂肪 脂肪
67 egg noun dàn tan˥˩
jīdàn tɕi˥˥tan˥˩ chicken egg 雞蛋 鸡蛋
68 horn noun jiǎo tɕiau˨˩˦
69 tail noun wěi uei˨˩˦
wěiba uei˨˩pa 尾巴 尾巴
70 feather noun yǔmáo y˨˩mau˧˥ 羽毛 羽毛
71 hair noun tóufa tʰou˧˥fa 頭髮 头发
72 head noun tóu tʰou˧˥
73 ear noun ěrduo aɻ˨˩tuɔ 耳朵 耳朵
74 eye noun yǎnjing iɛn˨˩tɕiŋ 眼睛 眼睛
75 nose noun pi˧˥
bízi pi˧˥tsɨ 鼻子 鼻子
76 mouth noun zuǐ tsuei˨˩˦
zuǐba tsuei˨˩pa 嘴巴 嘴巴
77 tooth noun yáchǐ ia˧˥tʂʰɚ˨˩˦ 牙齒 牙齿
78 tongue noun shé ʂə˧˥
shétou ʂə˧˥tʰou 舌頭 舌头
79 fingernail noun zhǐjia tʂɚ˧˥tɕia˨˩ 指甲 指甲
80 foot noun jiǎo tɕiau˨˩˦
81 leg noun tuǐ tʰuei˨˩˦
82 knee noun ɕi˥˥ affix
xīgài ɕi˥˥kai˥˩ 膝蓋 膝盖
83 hand noun shǒu ʂou˨˩˦
84 wing noun ji˥˩ literary
chìbǎng tʂʰɚ˥˩paŋ˨˩˦ 翅膀 翅膀
85 belly noun dùzi tu˥˩tsɨ 肚子 肚子
86 guts noun chángzi tʂʰaŋ˧˥tsɨ 腸子 肠子
87 neck noun bózi pɔ˧˥tsɨ 脖子 脖子
88 back noun bèi pei˥˩
89 breast noun xiōng ɕyʊŋ˥˥ chest (affix)
xiōngbù ɕyʊŋ˥˥pu˥˩ chest (generic) 胸部 胸部
xiōngtáng ɕyʊŋ˥˥tʰaŋ˧˥ chest (academic) 胸膛 胸膛
rǔfáng ʐu˨˩faŋ˧˥ female organ 乳房 乳房
90 heart noun xīnzàng ɕɪn˥˥tsaŋ˥˩ 心臟 心脏
91 liver noun gān kan˥˥ affix
gānzàng kan˥˥tsaŋ˥˩ 肝臟 肝脏
92 drink verb xə˥˥
93 eat verb chī tʂʰɚ˥˥
94 bite verb yǎo iau˨˩˦
95 suck verb ɕi˥˥ affix
chuò tʂʰuo˥˩ sip
shǔnxī ʂun˨˩ɕi˥˥ suck 吮吸 吮吸
96 spit verb tʰu˨˩˦ generic
tǔkǒushuǐ tʰu˨˩kʰou˧˥ʂuei˨˩˦ lit. spit saliva (informal) 吐口水 吐口水
tǔtán tʰu˨˩tʰan˧˥ lit. spit phlegm (formal) 吐痰 吐痰
97 vomit verb ǒu ou˨˩˦ affix
tʰu˥˩ informal
ǒutù ou˨˩tʰu˥˩ formal 嘔吐 呕吐
98 blow verb chuī tʂʰuei˥˥
99 breathe verb hūxī xu˥˥ɕi˥˥ 呼吸 呼吸
100 laugh verb xiào ɕiau˥˩
101 see verb kàn kʰan˥˩
102 hear verb tīng tʰiŋ˥˥
103 know verb zhīdào tʂɚ˥˥tau˥˩ 知道 知道
xiǎode ɕiau˨˩tə 曉得 晓得
rènshi ʐɛn˥˩ʂɚ to recognize 認識 认识
104 think verb xiǎng ɕiaŋ˨˩˦
105 smell verb xiù ɕiou˥˩
wén uən˧˥
106 fear verb pʰa˥˩
107 sleep verb shuì ʂuei˥˩
shuìjiào ʂuei˥˩tɕiau˥˩ 睡覺 睡觉
108 live verb huó xuɔ˧˥
109 die verb sɨ˨˩˦
110 kill verb shā ʂa˥˥
111 fight verb chǎojià tʂʰau˨˩tɕia˥˩ argue 吵架 吵架
dǎjià ta˨˩tɕia˥˩ fists 打架 打架
dǎzhàng ta˨˩tʂaŋ˥˩ war 打仗 打仗
112 hunt verb dǎliè ta˨˩liɛ˥˩ 打獵 打猎
113 hit verb ta˨˩˦
114 cut verb kə˥˥ cut in two
qiē tɕʰiɛ˥˥ slice
jiǎn tɕiɛn˨˩˦ scissors
115 split verb pīkāi pʰi˥˥kʰai˥˥ transitive split open 劈開 劈开
lièkāi liɛ˥˩kʰai˥˥ intransitive split open 裂開 裂开
fēnkāi fən˥˥kʰai˥˥ split up 分開 分开
116 stab verb tsʰɨ˥˩
117 scratch verb sāo sau˥˥
zhuā tʂua˥˥
118 dig verb ua˥˥
jué tɕyɛ˧˥
119 swim verb yóuyǒng iou˧˥yʊŋ˨˩˦ 游泳 游泳
120 fly verb fēi fei˥˥
121 walk verb zǒu tsou˨˩˦ generic
zǒulù tsou˨˩lu˥˩ walk on foot (informal) 走路 走路
bùxíng pu˥˩ɕiŋ˧˥ go on foot (formal) 步行 步行
122 come verb lái lai˧˥
123 lie verb tǎng tʰaŋ˨˩˦ horizontal
124 sit verb zuò tsuɔ˥˩
125 stand verb zhàn tʂan˥˩
126 turn verb zhuǎn tʂuan˨˩˦ change direction
127 fall verb luòxià luɔ˥˩ɕia˥˩ drop 落下 落下
diàoxià tiau˥˩ɕia˥˩ drop 掉下 掉下
128 give verb gěi kei˨˩˦
129 hold verb uɔ˥˧
na˧˥
130 squeeze verb tɕi˨˩˦
131 rub verb róu ʐou˧˥ massage; knead
132 wash verb ɕi˨˩˦
133 wipe verb tsʰa˥˥
134 pull verb la˥˥
135 push verb tuī tʰuei˥˥
136 throw verb rēng ʐəŋ˥˥
diū tiou˥˥
137 tie verb bǎng paŋ˨˩˦
138 sew verb féng fəŋ˧˥
139 count verb shǔ ʂu˨˩˦
diǎn tiɛn˨˩˦
140 say verb shuō ʂuɔ˥˥
jiǎng tɕiaŋ˨˩˦
141 sing verb chàng tʂʰaŋ˥˩
142 play verb wán uan˧˥
143 float verb fu˧˥
144 flow verb liú liou˧˥
145 freeze verb jiébīng tɕiɛ˧˥piŋ˥˥ 結冰 结冰
dòngjié tʊŋ˥˩tɕiɛ˧˥ 凍結 冻结
146 swell verb péngzhàng pʰəŋ˧˥tʂaŋ˥˩ 膨脹 膨胀
147 sun noun tàiyáng tʰai˥˩iaŋ˧˥ 太陽 太阳
148 moon noun yuèliàng yɛ˥˩liaŋ˥˩ 月亮 月亮
149 star noun xīng ɕiŋ˥˥
héngxīng xəŋ˧˥ɕiŋ˥˥ scientific (fixed star) 恆星 恒星
150 water noun shuǐ ʂuei˨˩˦
151 rain noun y˨˩˦
152 river noun xə˧˥
153 lake noun xu˧˥
154 sea noun hǎi xai˨˩˦
155 salt noun yán iɛn˧˥
156 stone noun shí ʂɚ˧˥ affix
shítóu ʂɚ˧˥tʰou˧˥ 石頭 石头
157 sand noun shā ʂa˥˥
158 dust noun chéntǔ tʂʰən˧˥tʰu˨˩˦ 塵土 尘土
159 earth noun dìqiú ti˥˩tɕʰiou˧˥ planet 地球 地球
160 cloud noun yún yn˧˥
161 fog noun wu˥˩
162 sky noun tiān tʰiɛn˥˥
163 wind noun fēng fəŋ˥˥
164 snow noun xuě ɕyɛ˨˩˦
165 ice noun bīng piŋ˥˥
166 smoke noun yān iɛn˥˥
167 fire noun huǒ xuɔ˨˩˦
168 ashes noun huī xuei˥˥ ashes or dust
huījìn xuei˥˥tɕɪn˥˩ 灰燼 灰烬
169 burn verb shāo ʂau˥˥
170 road noun lu˥˩
171 mountain noun shān ʂan˥˥
172 red adjective hóng xʊŋ˧˥
173 green adjective ly˥˩ 绿
174 yellow adjective huáng xuaŋ˧˥
175 white adjective bái pai˧˥
176 black adjective hēi xei˥˥
177 night noun yèwǎn iɛ˥˩uan˨˩˦ 夜晚 夜晚
178 day noun báitiān pai˧˥tʰiɛn˥˥ 白天 白天
179 year noun nián niɛn˧˥
180 warm adjective wēnnuǎn uən˥˥nuan˨˩˦ 溫暖 温暖
181 cold adjective lěng ləŋ˨˩˦
182 full adjective mǎn man˨˩˦ 滿
183 new adjective xīn ɕɪn˥˥
184 old adjective lǎo lau˨˩˦ not young
jiù tɕiou˥˩ not new
185 good adjective hǎo xau˨˩˦
186 bad adjective huài xuai˥˩
187 rotten adjective làn lan˥˩
188 dirty adjective zāng tsaŋ˥˥
189 straight adjective zhí tʂɚ˧˥
190 round adjective yuán yɛn˧˥
191 sharp adjective jiān tɕiɛn˥˥ prefix
li˥˩ prefix
fēnglì fəŋ˥˥li˥˩ 鋒利 锋利
ruìlì ʐuei˥˩li˥˩ 銳利 锐利
192 dull adjective dùn tun˥˩
193 smooth adjective guānghuá kuaŋ˥˥xua˧˥ 光滑 光滑
194 wet adjective shī ʂɚ˥˥ 湿
195 dry adjective gān kan˥˥
196 correct adjective duì tuei˥˩ informal
zhèngquè tʂəŋ˥˩tɕʰyɛ˥˩ formal 正確 正确
197 near adjective jìn tɕɪn˥˩
198 far adjective yuǎn yɛn˨˩˦
199 right adjective yòu iou˥˩
200 left adjective zuǒ tsuɔ˨˩˦
201 at preposition zài tsai˥˩
202 in preposition zài...lǐ tsai˥˩...li˨˩˦ 在...裡 在...里
203 with conjunction xə˧˥
gēn kən˥˥
204 and conjunction xə˧˥
gēn kən˥˥
205 if conjunction rúguǒ ʐu˧˥kuɔ˨˩˦ 如果 如果
206 because conjunction yīnwèi jɪn˥˥uei˥˩ 因為 因为
207 name noun míng miŋ˧˥ affix
míngzi miŋ˧˥tsɨ generic 名字 名字

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Les langages de l'humanité (Michel Malherbe), Robert Laffont, Paris 1995 - ISBN 2-221-05947-6

External links[edit]

Swadesh lists
Individual languages

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Language families and family branches

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The list may also include: (t) the transcription in Latin characters; (p) the phonetic transcription