Annotated Swadesh wordlists for the South Cushitic group (Cushitic family).

Languages included: Aasax [scu-asa].



Ehret 1980 = Ehret, Christopher. 1980. The Historical Reconstruction of Southern Cushitic Phonology and Vocabulary. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag. // Comparative phonology and etymology of South Cushitic languages. Contains some language data from previously unpublished sources, most importantly J. C. Winter's recordings of Aasax from 1974.

I. Aasax.

Maguire 1928 = Maguire, R. A. J. 1928. "Il-torōbo": Part II. Journal of the Royal African Society 27(107): 249-268. // Very brief notes on Aramanik (= Aasax) with hardly more than a couple dozen words; still important as one of the very few sources on this extinct language.


I. Aasax.

I.1. General.

Aasax (Aasá) is an extinct South Cushitic language of Tanzania (most of the original speakers have shifted to neighboring Nilotic languages such as Maasai or Nandi). Data sources on Aasax are very scarce: except for a few scattered lexical recordings from the first half of the 20th century, such as Maguire 1928, the only collection of data that includes enough Aasax basic lexicon items to construct a more or less representative Swadesh wordlist (still containing plenty of gaps) are J. C. Winter's recordings from 1974, partially reproduced in Ehret 1980. Where possible, we supplement Winter's data with earlier material from Maguire 1928.

I.2. Transcription.

Aasax data in Ehret 1980 generally follows his usual transcription for Cushitic sources, a slightly modified form of IPA. Only some cosmetic amendments are required for conversion to UTS, namely: (a) laterals: hl > UTS ɬ; (b) affricates: j > UTS ǯ; (c) laryngeals: ` > UTS ʕ.

Database compiled and annotated by: George Starostin (last update: May 2015).

To be quoted as: Starostin, George. 2015. Annotated Swadesh wordlists for the South Cushitic group (Cushitic family). In: G. Starostin et al. The Global Lexicostatistical Database. Available online at