Announcing the 22nd Edition Ethnologue

Graphic by Kirby O'Brien
In celebration of International Mother Language Day 2019, Ethnologue announces its 22nd Edition!


Our knowledge about languages is dynamic–and constantly improving!

In 2009, the 16th edition of Ethnologue recorded 6,909 living languages. The 22nd edition (released 21 February 2019) records 7,111.

Why the difference?

One reason is our changing perspective on dormant languages. A dormant language no longer has fluent speakers, but the people still use a few words and think of their language as sleeping, not dead. Some languages in this category were previously counted as extinct. Now we count them as living.

We are also discovering new languages—both spoken and signed. New sign languages have been recorded. Some languages are now classified as dialects of other languages, while some previously listed as dialects are now considered languages.

As we learn more, we have revised the way we count living languages.  Our growing knowledge and the changing world context means the number also constantly changes!