Morris Swadesh

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Swadesh, Morris


Born Jan. 22, 1909, in Holyoke, Mass.; died June 10, 1967, in Mexico City. American linguist.

After studying under E. Sapir at the University of Chicago and at Yale University, Swadesh was an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin from 1937 to 1939 and a professor at the National School of Anthropology and History in Mexico City from 1956 to 1967. He was also a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City.

Swadesh was the founder of glottochronology. He is well known for his works describing American Indian languages and for his studies on the distant linguistic relationships among American Indian languages. Swadesh is also known for his fundamental reconstruction of the early stages of linguistic development.


“Leksikostatisticheskoe datirovanie doistoricheskikh etnicheskikh kontaktov.” In Novoe v lingvistike, fasc. 1. Moscow, 1960.
“K voprosu o povyshenii tochnosti v leksikostatisticheskom datirovanii.” In Novoe v lingvistike, fasc. 1. Moscow, 1960.
“Lingvisticheskie sviazi Ameriki i Evrazii.” In Etimologiia, 1964. Moscow, 1965.
La lingüística como instrumento de la prehistoria. Mexico City, 1960.
The Origin and Diversification of Language. London, 1972.