Where can I find machine readable datasets for use in phylogenetic estimation? I am looking for anything---lexical cognate data, phonological data, morphosyntactic data---in any language family.

  • Everywhere. Online, in books, journals... you might rein it in and ask e.g. "where can I get datasets for this, involving Luhya languages?". I would not even go as high as "Bantu".
    – user6726
    Jun 14, 2018 at 1:25
  • Unsupervised approaches to this are going to have hidden subjectivity. Vocabulary, orthography and even grammar bleed so much across language families and subfamilies, and today's ML does not even attempt the kind of reasoning needed to work that out from unstructured data. Jun 17, 2018 at 13:42
  • So you could go with a supervised approach, whereby you decide on some initial relations in a way that you do not need to give falsely precise numbers, like just the assertion that distance(pt, es) < distance(ro, es). There could still be subjectivity especially if you do more than the very safe ones, but at least it is explicit subjectivity. Jun 17, 2018 at 13:45
  • And then you can build representations of the language from anything, including not just data in the language but things like the vector of the English Wikipedia article about the language. Jun 17, 2018 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


For a quick and dirty approach to phylogenetics, you can look for Swadesh lists for many languages.

For doing something better, I am afraid you will have to vet your data carefully, use the best etymological dictionaries available, and prepare it on your own.

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