We are pleased to announce the World Loanword Database, a fully open-access online resource, which has been released this week.
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 Œeye¹? (answer: 3 clear cases out of 41)
- How many languages have a non-borrowed word for Œpolice¹? (answer: 8 clear cases out of 41)
- Which semantic areas of words are the most resistant to borrowing?
(answer: words expressing spatial relations, body parts, and sense perception)
- Which languages did English borrow words from, and how are they
distributed geographically? (see the map)
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.
Martin Haspelmath & Uri Tadmor
(for the Loanword Typology project team)