Ethnologue released in new edition

(May 2009) SIL announces publication of the 16th edition of Ethnologue: Languages of the World. The most comprehensive reference volume of its kind, this resource serves as a catalogue of the world’s 6,909 known living languages. This new edition includes updated and expanded language descriptions, 208 pages of updated and redesigned color maps, updated statistical summary tables and an expanded bibliography.

The 16th edition of the Ethnologue is edited by M. Paul Lewis, Ph.D. Available in a durable, hardcover volume, orders are now being accepted for shipment in June, according to SIL International Publications.

The new edition contains three fewer living languages than the 15th edition (2005), though, in reality, scores of languages have been added and others removed. Because languages are dynamic, variable and constantly changing, the total number of living languages in the world cannot be counted precisely. Ongoing language survey and linguistic research are continually leading to the discovery of previously unlisted languages. At the same time, endangered languages are becoming extinct. Although these languages are no longer spoken, they may still be accessed in recordings, written records and transcriptions preserved through language documentation.

The Ethnologue conforms to the ISO 639-3 standard, which provides unique three-letter codes for identifying nearly 7,500 languages, including those outside the scope of the Ethnologue (e.g., ancient languages, constructed languages and some extinct languages).

Founded in 1934, SIL has published 35,000 works about its research in more than 2,550 languages spoken in more than seventy countries. SIL promotes sustainable language development through research, translation, training and materials development for ethnolinguistic minority communities.

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