Dolgopolsky list

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The Dolgopolsky list is a word list compiled by Aharon Dolgopolsky in 1964. It lists the 15 lexical items that have the most semantic stability, i.e. they are the 15 words least likely to be replaced by other words as a language evolves. It was based on a study of 140 languages from across Eurasia.

The words, with the first being the most stable, are:

  1. I/me
  2. two/pair
  3. you (singular, informal)
  4. who/what
  5. tongue
  6. name
  7. eye
  8. heart
  9. tooth
  10. no/not
  11. nail (finger-nail)
  12. louse/nit
  13. tear/teardrop
  14. water
  15. dead

The first item in the list, I/me, has been replaced in none of the 140 languages during their recorded history; the fifteenth, dead, has been replaced in 25% of the languages.

The twelfth item, louse/nit, is well kept in the North Caucasian languages, Dravidian and Turkic, but not in other proto-languages.

See also[edit]


  • Trask, Robert Lawrence (2000). The dictionary of historical and comparative linguistics. p. 96.