_ETHNOLOGUE: LANGUAGES OF THE WORLD_ is a commercial publication
about the living languages of the world, first issued in 1951. As of
2017, it contains web-based information about 7,099 languages in its
20th edition, including the number of speakers, location, dialects,
linguistic affiliations, autonym , availability of the
* 1 Overview * 2 History * 3 Reputation * 4 Editions * 5 See also * 6 Citations * 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links
_Ethnologue_ has been published by
SIL International (formerly known
as the Summer Institute of Linguistics), a Christian linguistic
service organization with an international office in
What counts as a language depends upon socio-linguistic evaluation; as the preface to _Ethnologue_ says, "Not all scholars share the same set of criteria for what constitutes a 'language' and what features define a 'dialect '." _Ethnologue_ follows general linguistic criteria, which are based primarily on mutual intelligibility. Shared language intelligibility features are complex, and usually include etymological and grammatical evidence that is agreed upon by experts.
In addition to choosing a primary name for a language, _Ethnologue_ gives names that its speakers, governments, foreigners and neighbors use for it and its dialects, and also describes how the language and its dialects have been named and referenced historically, regardless of whether a name is considered official, politically correct or offensive. These lists of names are not necessarily complete.
In 1984, _Ethnologue_ released a three-letter coding system, called an SIL code , to identify each language that it described. This set of codes significantly exceeded the scope of other standards, e.g. ISO 639-1 and ISO 639-2 . The 14th edition, published in 2000, included 7,148 language codes.
In 2002, _Ethnologue_ was asked to work with the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO) to integrate its codes into a
draft international standard. The 15th edition of _Ethnologue_ was the
first edition to use this standard, called
ISO 639-3 . This standard
is now administered separately from
Ethnologue ( though still by SIL
according to rules established by ISO, and since then _Ethnologue_
relies on the standard to determine what is listed as a language. In
only one case, _Ethnologue_ and the ISO standards treat languages
ISO 639-3 considers Akan to be a macrolanguage
consisting of two distinct languages,
In 2014, with the 17th edition, _Ethnologue_ introduced a numerical code for language status using a framework called EGIDS (Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale ), an elaboration of Fishman’s GIDS ( Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale ). It ranks a language from 0 for an international language to 10 for an extinct language , i.e. a language with which no-one retains a sense of ethnic identity.
In December 2015, _Ethnologue_ launched a soft paywall ; users in high-income countries who want to refer to more than seven pages of data per month must buy a paid subscription .
As of 2015, _Ethnologue'_s 18th edition described 228 language families including 96 language isolates and six typological categories , namely sign languages , creoles , pidgins , mixed languages , constructed languages , and as yet unclassified languages .
William Bright , then editor of the journal _
In 2015, Harald Hammarström, an editor of _ Glottolog _, criticized the publication for frequently lacking citations and failing to articulate clear principles of language classification and identification. However, he concluded that, on balance, "_Ethnologue_ is an impressively comprehensive catalogue of world languages, and it is far superior to anything else produced prior to 2009."
Starting with the 17th edition, _Ethnologue_ has been published every year.
EDITION DATE EDITOR NOTES
1 1951 Richard S. Pittman 10 mimeographed pages; 40 languages
2 1951 Pittman
3 1952 Pittman
4 1953 Pittman first to include maps
5 1958 Pittman first edition in book format
6 1965 Pittman
7 1969 Pittman 4,493 languages
8 1974 Barbara Grimes
9 1978 Grimes
10 1984 Grimes SIL codes first included
11 1988 Grimes 6,253 languages
12 1992 Grimes 6,662 languages
13 1996 Grimes 6,883 languages
14 2000 Grimes 6,809 languages
15 2005 Raymond G. Gordon, Jr. 6,912 languages ; draft ISO standard; first edition to provide color maps
16 2009 M. Paul Lewis 6,909 languages
17 2013, updated 2014 M. Paul Lewis, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig 7,106 living languages
18 2015 Lewis, Simons, 7,472 total
19 2016 Lewis, Simons, ? total
20 2017 Simons ? total
* ^ _Ethnologue_ 20th edition website
* ^ Lewis, M. Paul; Simons, Gary F. (2010). "Assessing
Endangerment: Expanding Fishman’s GIDS" (PDF). _Romanian Review of
Linguistics_. 55 (2): 103–120.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Erard, Michael (July 19, 2005). "How Linguists and
Missionaries Share a
* ^ "Scope of denotation for language identifiers". SIL
International . Retrieved 2013-06-23.
* ^ Dixon, R. M. W. (2012-05-24). _Basic Linguistic Theory Volume
3: Further Grammatical Topics_.
Oxford University Press
* ^ "
* Martin Everaert; Simon Musgrave; Alexis Dimitriadis, eds.
(2009-03-26). _The Use of Databases in Cross-Linguistic Studies_.
Walter de Gruyter
* Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove (2001). _Linguistic Genocide in Education-or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights?_. Routledge . ISBN 9781135662356 . Retrieved 2014-07-13. * Paolillo, John C.; Das, Anupam (31 March 2006). "Evaluating language statistics: the Ethnologue and beyond" (PDF). UNESCO Institute of Statistics. pp. 3–5. Retrieved 8 October 2015.