Country Information


The country names used as headings are not official names, but the commonly known English or anglicized names of the countries. Ethnologue follows the ISO 3166 standard in determining what geopolitical entities to list as countries. As a consequence, some political dependencies are listed as separate countries while others are included within the country with which they are associated. The Ethnologue takes no position on issues of national sovereignty by this arrangement which is intended wholly to facilitate the navigation of the published information.

Official name. This is the name used by the country in its official documents. In most cases this differs from the popular English name as given in the heading and in the Country Index. There may be more than one official name listed in more than one language. In a few cases, additional or former names used to identify a country are also included.

Population. These figures are taken from the most recent national census data where available or are the current estimated population from the United Nations or another reliable source, which is identified.

National languages. Languages which have been categorized as national languages at EGIDS level 1 are listed here. This includes all the languages that are actually used for education, work, mass media, and government at the nationwide level, regardless of how they are classified in legislation. For a fuller discussion, see the Language status section.

Literacy rate. This is an estimate of the percentage of the population in the country that is literate in any language of the country. Data are primarily from UNESCO but may also come from various other sources if more recent estimates are available.

Immigrant languages. Immigrant languages are categorized as such if they are spoken by relatively recently arrived or transient populations which do not have a well-established, multi-generational community of language users in the country. Population estimates, if known, are shown in parentheses immediately following the language name. These languages do not have a separate language entry in the language listings for the country and are not included in the language counts for the country. Given the transitory nature of these populations and the difficulty in obtaining up-to-date information, this listing may be inaccurate or incomplete.

General references. This gives a list of published sources of general information about the country and its languages. This list includes only suggestions for those who wish to begin to explore the language situation of the country in greater depth. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list and more current works may be missing. Suggestions for additional or more up-to-date general works on the languages of the country are solicited. See Updates and corrections for submission instructions. The Bibliography lists full bibliographic references for these general reference works.

Deaf population. There are millions of deaf and hearing-impaired people in the world. The country overview gives information on the number of audiologically deaf people (which is generally larger than the number of deaf people who use a sign language) and an approximate count of the deaf institutions (schools, clubs, associations). The deaf sign languages listed in language entries are those used exclusively within deaf communities. They do not include those, like Signed English, that spell out spoken languages used in the country. See the fuller discussion under The problem of language identification. Additional information on deafness and deaf sign languages is welcomed. See Updates and corrections for submission instructions.

Language counts. The number of individual languages indigenous to the country is given with a breakdown of the number of living languages versus extinct languages. The counts of living languages are further broken down into the summary categories of Institutional (EGIDS 0-4), Developing (EGIDS 5), Vigorous (EGIDS 6a), In trouble (EGIDS 6b-7), and Dying (EGIDS 8a-9). See Language status for a detailed discussion of these categories. Macrolanguages are not included in these counts since they are not distinct from, but overlap, the individual languages that are already counted.