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Encyclopedia > SIL Ethnologue

Ethnologue: Languages of the World is a web and print publication of SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics), a Christian linguistic service organization which studies lesser-known languages primarily to provide the speakers with Bibles in their native language. SIL International is a worldwide non-profit evangelical Christian organization whose main purpose is to study, develop and document lesser-known languages in order to expand linguistic knowledge, promote literacy and aid minority language development. ... Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library of Congress. ...

The Ethnologue contains statistics for 6,912 languages in the 15th edition, released in 2005 (up from 6,809 in the 14th edition, released 2000) and gives the number of speakers, location, dialects, linguistic affiliations, availability of the Bible, and so forth. It is currently the most comprehensive existing language inventory, along with the Linguasphere Register. However, some information regarding more esoteric languages is quite dated. 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the year 2000. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library of Congress. ... The Linguasphere Observatory is a language research network. ...

What counts as a language depends on socio-linguistic evaluation: see Dialect. A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) is a variety of a language used by people from a particular geographic area. ...

In 1984 the Ethnologue released a three-letter coding system, called SIL code, to identify each language it describes. This set of codes significantly exceeded the scope of previous standards e.g. ISO 639-1 and RFC 3066. The 14th edition, published in 2000, included 7148 language codes which generally did not match the ISO 639-2 codes. In 2002 the Ethnologue was asked to work with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to integrate its codes into a draft international standard. The Ethnologue now uses this standard, called ISO 639-3. The 15th edition which was published in 2005 includes 7299 codes. ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. ... ISO 639-2:1998 Codes for the representation of names of languages — Part 2: Alpha-3 code Twenty-two of the languages have two three-letter codes: a code for bibliographic use (ISO 639-2/B) a code for terminological use (ISO 639-2/T). ... The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from national standards bodies. ... ISO 639-3 is in process of development as an international standard for language codes. ...

The neutrality of Ethnologue as a scientific institution is sometimes disputed, for example in the classification of Semitic languages. It is proposed that this article be deleted, because of the following concern: Limited information sources, article is object for nothing but original research If you can address this concern by improving, copyediting, sourcing, renaming or merging the page, please edit this page and do so. ... 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ...

Conversely, the neutrality of Ethnologue as a scientific institution is sometimes lauded: in addition to choosing a primary name for the language, it also gives some of the names by which a language is called by its speakers, by the government, 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, or by whom. This selection of "alternative names" is extensive, but often incomplete. It is proposed that this article be deleted, because of the following concern: Limited information sources, article is object for nothing but original research If you can address this concern by improving, copyediting, sourcing, renaming or merging the page, please edit this page and do so. ...

Ethnologue contains its fair share of errors. Some of the errors are fixed in every new edition; for instance, en route to the 14th edition, some languages such as Chenoua were added, and some rumoured "languages" such as Nemadi or Wutana were removed. Some possible remaining errors are discussed at Imraguen language, Senhaja de Srair language, Ghomara language, Kwavi language, Molengue language, Yauma language, Fer language, Yeni language, Hwla language, and OfayĆ©. The Chenoua language (self-denomination: Haqbaylit̠) is the Zenati Berber language of Jebel Chenoua in Algeria, just west of Algiers near Tipasa and Cherchell. ... According to a few sources, the small Nemadi hunting tribe of eastern Mauritania speak a separate language of their own; however, most sources agree that they speak a dialect of Hassaniyya, or in some cases perhaps Azer. ... The sum total of what Temple (1922) has to say about Wutana is: There are 1,075 Wutana in Bauchi Emirate. ... The Imraguen language is allegedly spoken by the tiny (thousand-strong) Imraguen fishing tribe of the Banc dArguin National Park on the Atlantic coast of Mauritania. ... The language of the Senhaja de Srair is a Northern Berber language spoken in the southern part of the Moroccan Rif. ... The language of the Ghomara is a Northern Berber language of the Zenati subgroup, spoken on the eastern edge of the Rif in Morocco. ... The Kwavi language is the language or dialect of Maasai spoken by the Kwavi or Parakuyo (aka Baraguyu) sub-tribe of the Maasai in Tanzania. ... The Molengue language (also called Balengue, Molendji) is a language of southern Equatorial Guinea, spoken between Bata and the Gabon border near the coast. ... The Yauma language is spoken in Angola and Zambia in the Kwando River area. ... The Fer language, also called Kara, is spoken by some five thousand people in the northern Central African Republic near the Sudan and Chad borders, in the region known as Dar Runga. ... The Yeni language is an extinct language of Cameroon, formerly spoken around Djeni Mountain in the Nyalang area. ... The Phla-Pherá languages form a subgroup of Gbe languages spoken mainly in south-eastern and south-western Benin; some communities are found in south-eastern Togo and south-western Nigeria. ... The Ofayé (also spelled as Opaié or Ofayé) are an indigenous people of Central Brazil. ...




Ethnologue sometimes goes against general linguistic community consensus (and the opinion of the majority of the speakers themselves in some cases) as to what constitutes a separate language (as opposed to a dialect). A notable case is the classification of several dialects of Swedish as separate languages with unique language codes. In cases like Scanian, the dialect does not meet the minimum criterion for mutual unintelligibility from Standard Swedish[citation needed], though some linguists have nevertheless classified it separately. The designation of Irish dialects does not match that generally used by Irish linguists, with an otherwise unattested dialect called Munster-Leinster mentioned by Ethnologue. For Scottish Gaelic only two extinct or moribund dialects are listed; none of the main living dialects are mentioned. Ethnologue also attributes separate language status to "Yinglish", an English vernacular spoken by some Jewish Americans which is to some degree influenced by the Yiddish and Hebrew languages. Some of these classifications do not meet Ethnologue's own professed criteria for classification.[1] A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) is a variety of a language used by people from a particular geographic area. ... SkÃ¥ne in southern Sweden Scanian ( ) is a closely related group of dialects spoken in SkÃ¥ne (Scania). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Standard Swedish (standardsvenska, rikssvenska or högsvenska) denotes Swedish as a spoken and written standard language in Sweden and Finland. ... Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) is a member of the Goidelic branch of Celtic languages. ... The term Yinglish describes the distinctive way certain Orthodox Jews in English-speaking countries, principally America, but also the United Kingdom, speak English among themselves. ...


In some cases Ethnologue's estimates about the number of the speakers of the languages do not concur with other sources. For example, in Ethnologue, the speakers of Persian and Azerbaijani languages in Iran are estimated as 36% and 37%, respectively. In The World Factbook, these percentages are estimated as 51% and 24%. Sometimes the total numbers of speakers of languages in a country differ from the overall population figure: for example, for Croatia, Ethnologue gives a total population of 4,496,869 while, remarkably, the number of Croatian speakers in Croatia is reported to be 4,800,000. Persian (local name: Fārsī or Pārsī ) is an Indo-European language spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and by minorities in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, India, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Southern Russia, neighboring countries, and elsewhere. ... The World Factbook 2006 (government edtion) cover. ...

Old Information

Even though Ethnologue is regularly updated, much of the information is old. The figures for Ireland rely on the census of 1983, although three census have been held after that.

See also

This list gives the most spoken languages in the world according to the Ethnologue, a widely cited reference for languages around the world. ... This list of languages is alphabetical by English name. ...

External links



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