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LING 2070: Introduction to Linguistics

Explore Language Families with Ethnologue

Ethnologue is one of the most authoritative resource on world languages and is a required resource for your project

Ethnologue is published in 3 volumes, organized by region:

  • Africa and Europe
  • Americas and the Pacific
  • Asia

Within each volume, entries are organized by subregion and country (not by language or language family), so its important to have an idea of where your chosen language is spoken.

Language entries in Ethnologue always include the same components:

  • Primary language name - written in bold
  • Language code - 3 letter code written in brackets
  • Alternate names - listed in parentheses
  • Population/ Ethnic population 
  • Location
  • Language status - scale ranges from 0 (international) to 10 (extinct)
  • Class
  • Dialects
  • Type or Typology
  • Language use
  • Language developments
  • Writing

Here's an example:

If you need help, each volume has several indexes in the back to help you locate your specific language, including:

  • language name index
  • language code index
  • country index


PRO TIP: Learn how to use Ethnologue here.