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FYI: World Loanword Database

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  • Timur Maisak
    ... From: Martin Haspelmath Date: 2010/1/29 Subject: Announcing the Dear typologists, We are pleased to announce the World Loanword
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 29, 2010
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      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: Martin Haspelmath <haspelmath@...>
      Date: 2010/1/29
      Subject: Announcing the

      Dear typologists,

      We are pleased to announce the World Loanword Database, a fully open-access
      online resource, which has been released this week: *
      http://wold.livingsources.org/*.

      The World Loanword Database contains detailed comparable information about
      58.000 words from 41 languages, contributed by 41 (teams of) specialists,
      and edited by Martin Haspelmath and Uri Tadmor from the Max Planck Institute
      for Evolutionary Anthropology. The open-access online version was programmed
      by Robert Forkel from the Max Planck Digital Library (Munich).

      The World Loanword Database answers questions such as:

      -- How many languages have a borrowed word for 'eye'? (answer: 3 clear cases
      out of 41, *http://wold.livingsources.org/meaning/4.21*)
      -- How many languages have a non-borrowed word for 'police'? (answer: 8
      clear cases out of 41, *http://wold.livingsources.org/meaning/23.33*)
      -- Which semantic areas of words are the most resistant to borrowing?
      (answer: words expressing spatial relations, body parts, and sense
      perception, see *http://wold.livingsources.org/semanticfield/*)
      -- Which languages did English borrow words from, and how are they
      distributed geographically? (see the map on this page: *
      http://wold.livingsources.org/language/13*)

      These data will allow us to distinguish better between lexical similarities
      that are due to borrowing and similarities that are due to inheritance from
      a common ancestor.

      In conjunction with the online database, a book with three general chapters
      and 41 chapters on particular languages was published by De Gruyter Mouton
      (see http://www.degruyter.de/cont/fb/sk/detailEn.cfm?id=IS-9783110218435-1).
      One of the results of the project is an empirically based list of basic
      vocabulary (the Leipzig-Jakarta list) which may complement the intuitively
      based Swadesh list.

      Martin Haspelmath & Uri Tadmor
      (for the Loanword Typology project team)


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