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To be more explicit, I think about a collection of "abstract" sentences which could be categorized in such a way that they would be easily identified in any language. For example, some typical phrases classified in question/location/movement-from/present would be: Where are you from?; D'où viens-tu ?; Woher kommst du ? ; ... and others in assertion/time-period/past could be: It was during the 1970s.; C'était dans les années 70.; Es war während der 1970er. The result would be a set of elementary sentences that could be learn by language learners to memorize key words or usual phrase structures in a foreign language or that could be a tool for interested people to compare how different languages express the same idea.

PS: I am not a professional linguist or anything related to this, so I hope the vocabulary/examples I used is not somewhat confusing for you...

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  • Are you wanting a "Swadesh list" for phrases instead of individual words? – Damian Yerrick Nov 5 '14 at 4:58
  • I never read about the "Swadesh list" before but that's indeed similar to what I am looking for, but for phrases as you said. Another difference is that the size of the list should not be limited to one or two hundreds items... Actually I found this kind of thing in a bookstore, in a "phrases dictionary" for tens of languages, but it was a big, very limited and not very convenient book ^^ – Philoglot Nov 5 '14 at 10:41

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