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 slightly differently. ISO 639-3 considers Akan to be a macrolanguage consisting of two distinct languages, Twi and Fante , whereas Ethnologue considers Twi and Fante to be dialects of a single language (Akan), since they are mutually-intelligible. This anomaly resulted because the ISO 639-2 standard has separate codes for Twi and Fante, which have separate literary traditions, and all 639-2 codes for individual languages are automatically part of 639-3, even though 639-3 would not normally assign them separate codes.
In 2014, with the 17th edition,
Ethnologue introduced a numerical
code for language status using a framework called EGIDS (Expanded
Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale
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
* Martin Everaert; Simon Musgrave; Alexis Dimitriadis, eds. (2009-03-26). The Use of Databases in Cross-Linguistic Studies. Walter de Gruyter . ISBN 9783110198744 . Retrieved 2014-07-13.
* Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove (2001). Linguistic Genocide in Education-or
Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights?.