Annotated Swadesh wordlists for the Shabo group (Shabo family).

Languages included: Shabo [shb-shb].


Anbessa 1991 = Anbessa Teferra. 1991. A sketch of Shabo grammar. In: M. Lionel Bender (ed.). Procee\-dings of the Fourth Nilo-Saharan Con\-fe\-rence. Bayreuth, Aug. 30 – Sep. 2, 1989: 371-387. Ham\-burg: Helmut Buske Verlag, pp. 371-387. // Brief sketch of Shabo grammar, based upon the author's field data.

Anbessa 1995 = Anbessa Teferra. 1995. Brief Phonology of Shabo (Mekeyir). In: Robert Nicolaï, Franz Rottland (eds.). Actes du Cin\-qu\-ieme Colloque de Linguistique Nilo-Saharienne. 24-29 août 1992: 29-37. Köln: Rüdiger Köp\-pe Verlag. // Brief sketch of Shabo phonology, based upon the author's field data.

Anbessa & Unseth 1989 = Anbessa Teferra; Unseth, Peter. 1989. Towards a classification of Shabo. In: M. Lionel Bender (ed.). Topics in Nilo-Saharan Linguistics: 405-429. Hamburg: Helmut Bus\-ke Verlag. // The paper contains some brief notes on Shabo phonology and grammar, as well as a rough draft of the Swadesh wordlist for Shabo.

Bender 1983 = Bender, Lionel M. 1983. Remnant Languages of Ethiopia and Sudan. In: M. Lionel Bender (ed.). Nilo-Saharan Language Studies: 336-354. Michigan: East Lansing. // Contains notes on various linguistic isolates and languages with questionable affiliation, including a wordlist for Shabo taken from unpublished field notes by Harvey Hoekstra.

Jordan et al. 2015 = Jordan, Linda; Mohammed, Hussein; Netzley, Jillian. 2015. Sociolinguistic Survey of the Shabo of Ethiopia. SIL International ( // A sociolinguistic report on Shabo, with a large comparative wordlist for Shabo and Majang appended.

Kibebe 2015 = Kibebe Tsehay Taye. 2015. Documentation and grammatical description of Chabu. PhD Thesis, Addis Ababa University. // A detailed grammatical description of Shabo (Chabu), well illustrated by lexical and syntactic examples and accompanied by a representative vocabulary.

Schnoebelen 2009 = Schnoebelen, Tyler. (Un)classifying Shabo: phylo\-genetic methods and results. In: Peter K. Austin, Oliver Bond, Monik Charette, David Nathan, Peter Sells (eds.). Proceedings of Conference on Language Docu\-mentation and Linguistic Theory 2: 274-284. University of London: School of Oriental and African Studies. // A paper on the genetic status of Shabo, including notes on the language taken from earlier sources as well as the author's own recently collected field data (including a complete 40-item ASJP-style wordlist).


1. General.

The most comprehensive grammatical description of the small linguistic isolate Shabo (Chabu; Mikeyir), accompanied by a representative vocabulary, is the PhD dissertation [Kibebe 2015]. Prior to its availability, in order to compile a more or less reliable 100-item wordlist, one had to gather data from various small papers, which was all the more difficult considering the surprisingly large amount of phonetic and lexical variation between the different native speakers (depending, for instance, on whether their particular idiolect was more influenced by their eastern Surmic neighbors, the Majangir, or their western Omotic neighbors, the Shekkacho).

Originally, our main source of information consisted of papers by Anbessa Teferra [1991, 1995] on Shabo grammar and phonology, as well as the earlier paper [Anbessa & Unseth 1989]; it was obvious from the start, however, that some phonetic and lexical variation was observed even between these papers by the same author, which either indicates relative inaccuracy or idiolectal variation between different speakers. Comparison with [Kibebe 2015], as well as the also somewhat more accurate comparative lexical survey between Shabo and Majang in [Jordan et al. 2015], clearly shows that Anbessa's data are plagued with phonetic and semantic errors, and also constantly confuse inherited Shabo lexicon with Majang, as some informants probably resorted to code-switching during the recording process. Nevertheless, for instructive purposes we retain all of Anbessa's attestations in the comments section. For an even larger comparative base, we have also checked the earlier wordlist for Shabo, collected by Harvey Hoekstra and published in [Bender 1983]; and a later 40-item wordlist, collected by Tyler Schnoebelen [2009].

2. Transliteration.

The majority of the used sources transcribe Shabo data in standard IPA, which requires the usual minimal conversion to UTS (e. g. palatal affricates c, j > UTS ɕ, ʓ). Long vowels are usually transcribed by Anbessa Teferra as doubled symbols (aa, ee, etc.); we retranscribe them as , , etc.

Tonal information is marked very unsystematically by Kibebe in the main body of the work and in the accompanying glossary; most usually, he places tonal diacritics on words that constitute minimal tonal pairs, but sometimes they appear in other cases as well (not quite clear when and why). We generally carry these notations over to the primal entries in the wordlist, but it should be understood that they can only be as consistent as the source data.

Database compiled and annotated by: G. Starostin (last update: September 2017).