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Title: Ethnologue  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Semitic languages, Ojibwe dialects, Buyang language, Ojibwe language, Oi language
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Three-volume 17th edition
Web address .comethnologue
Commercial? yes
Owner SIL International
Launched 29 March 2000 (2000-03-29)[1]
Alexa rank Increase 145,018 (global; 12/2014)

Ethnologue: Languages of the World is a web-based publication that contains statistics for 7,106 languages and dialects in the 17th edition, released in 2013.[2] Up until the 16th edition in 2009, the publication was a printed volume. Ethnologue provides information on the number of speakers, location, dialects, linguistic affiliations, availability of the Bible in the language, and an estimate of language viability using the Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (EGIDS).[3][4] William Bright, then editor of Language: Journal of the Linguistic Society of America, wrote of Ethnologue that it "is indispensable for any reference shelf on the languages of the world."[5]


The Ethnologue is published by Bible in their language.[6]

What counts as a language depends on socio-linguistic evaluation. As the preface says, "Not all scholars share the same set of criteria for what constitutes a 'language' and what features define a 'dialect'." Ethnologue follows the general linguistic criteria, which are based primarily on mutual intelligibility.[7] Shared language intelligibility features are complex, and usually include etymological and grammatical evidence agreed upon by experts.[8]

In addition to choosing a primary name for the language, Ethnologue also gives some of the names by which a language is referred to by its speakers, by governments, by foreigners and by neighbors, as well as how it has been named and referenced historically, regardless of which designation is considered official, politically correct or offensive.

In 1984, the Ethnologue released a three-letter coding system, called an "SIL code", to identify each language that it describes. This set of codes significantly exceeded the scope of previous standards, e.g., ISO 639-3.[10]

With the 17th edition, Ethnologue introduced a numerical code for language status, along the lines of Fishman’s Graded Inter-generational Disruption Scale, that ranks a language from 0 for an international language to 10 for an extinct language with no attempt at revival.[11]


New editions of Ethnologue are published approximately every four years.[12]
Edition Date Editor Notes
1[13] 1951 Richard S. Pittman 10 mimeographed pages; 40 languages[6]
2[14] 1951 Pittman
3[15] 1952 Pittman
4[16] 1953 Pittman first to include maps[17]
5[18] 1958 Pittman first edition in book format
6[19] 1965 Pittman
7[20] 1969 Pittman 4,493 languages
8[21] 1974 Barbara Grimes [22]
9[23] 1978 Grimes
10[24] 1984 Grimes SIL codes first included
11[25] 1988 Grimes [26]
12[27] 1992 Grimes
13[28] 1996 Grimes
14[29] 2000 Grimes
15[30] 2005 Raymond G. Gordon, Jr.[31] ; draft ISO standard; first edition to provide color maps[17]
16[32] 2009 M. Paul Lewis
17 2013, updated 2014[33] Lewis, Simons, & Fennig

Language families

Ethnologue's 17th edition describes 225 language families (including 95 language isolates) and 6 typological categories (Deaf sign language, Creole, Pidgin, Mixed language, Constructed language, and as yet unclassified languages).[34][35]

See also


  1. ^ " Whois Lookup & IP".  
  2. ^ 17th edition websiteEthnologue
  3. ^ Lewis, M. Paul; Simons, Gary F. (2010). "Assessing Endangerment: Expanding Fishman’s GIDS".  
  4. ^ Dutton, Lee S., ed. (2013-05-13). Anthropological Resources: A Guide to Archival, Library, and Museum Collections.  
  5. ^ Bright, William. 1986. "Book Notice on Ethnologue", Language 62:698.
  6. ^ a b Erard, Michael (July 19, 2005). "How Linguists and Missionaries Share a Bible of 6,912 Languages".  
  7. ^ "Scope of denotation for language identifiers".  
  8. ^ Dixon, R. M. W. (2012-05-24). Basic Linguistic Theory Volume 3: Further Grammatical Topics.  
  9. ^ Everaert 2009, p. 204.
  10. ^ Simons, Gary F.; Gordon, Raymond G. (2006). "Ethnologue". In Brown, Edward Kenneth. Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (pdf) 4 (2nd ed.).  
  11. ^ "Language status". Ethnologue. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  12. ^ "History of Ethnologue". Ethnologue. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  13. ^ "[SIL01] 1951".  
  14. ^ "[SIL02] 1951".  
  15. ^ "[SIL03] 1952".  
  16. ^ "[SIL04] 1953".  
  17. ^ a b "Pinpointing the Languages of the World with GIS".  
  18. ^ "[SIL05] 1958".  
  19. ^ "[SIL06] 1965".  
  20. ^ "Glottolog 2.3". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  21. ^ "Glottolog 2.3". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  22. ^ Barbara F. Grimes; Richard Saunders Pittman; Joseph Evans Grimes, eds. (1974). Ethnologue. Wycliffe Bible Translators. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  23. ^ "Glottolog 2.3". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  24. ^ "Glottolog 2.3". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  25. ^ "Glottolog 2.3". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  26. ^ Ethnologue volume 11. SIL. 2008-04-28. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  27. ^ "Glottolog 2.3". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  28. ^ "Glottolog 2.3". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  29. ^ "Ethnologue Fourteenth Edition, Web Version". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  30. ^ "Ethnologue 15, Web Version". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  31. ^ Everaert 2009, p. 61.
  32. ^ "Ethnologue, Web Version". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  33. ^ "Check out the new Ethnologue". Ethnologue. 2014-04-30. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  34. ^ "Browse by Language Family". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  35. ^ "Unclassified languages". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 


  • Martin Everaert; Simon Musgrave; Alexis Dimitriadis, eds. (2009-03-26). The Use of Databases in Cross-Linguistic Studies.  

Further reading

External links

  • The EthnologueWeb version of
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