Japanese Swadesh List

Learning in context makes sense – the relevancy of the words helps aid memorisation and use. The problem of learning words as you meet them is that you will never learn words you never meet! One way is to supplement contextual learning with some good old fashioned word lists. Then the question becomes “What words should I learn?”

A Swadesh list is a list of basic vocabulary developed by linguist Maurice Swadesh for the purposes of studying the evolution of languages, and contains a set of 207 basic words which can be found in every language. Beyond their use in glottochronology (ie language genealogy) Swadesh lists make great vocabulary self assessment tests for beginning language learners. [courtesy of Nihongojouzu.com]

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