Posted to the Ethnos Project by on March 24th, 2015

Ethnologue 18th edition released on International Mother Language Day

In commemoration of International Mother Language Day (February 21), SIL International released the 18th edition of the Ethnologue ( This edition is the result of more than 12,000 individual changes to the Ethnologue database affecting 4,447 of the languages listed.  The tally of living languages has gone down slightly to 7,102 reflecting changes in the ISO 639-3 inventory which have been made since our last edition.

In addition to the pages on the web, Ethnologue offers individual country reports which can be purchased and downloaded from the website. Country reports are self-contained PDF documents that include all of the data from the website about the languages of a country (including the language maps), plus additional statistics, summary views, and indexes not found online. You can see a sample report and the full listing of country reports.

Another product that is of particular use to researchers is the Ethnologue Global Dataset. It consists of the “actionable” information from the Ethnologue database made available in a tab-delimited format that can be loaded into a spreadsheet or database or statistics program.  The purpose of the Global Dataset is to allow researchers to use Ethnologue data in their own analyses of the world language situation or of how language relates to other phenomena. The dataset can be licensed and downloaded from the Ethnologue website.

A new feature of the Ethnologue website is a mechanism for public feedback. Every country and language page has a Feedback tab on which registered users may post their updates or corrections. The comments are forwarded to all users who have subscribed to that country or language, and those users are then able to join the conversation. Each feedback thread is closed when the editors post a comment reporting on how the feedback will be incorporated into the next edition. The Ethnologue invites users to register, create a user profile, subscribe to alerts for languages or countries about which they are knowledgeable, and begin providing feedback.

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