Languages of the world by the numbers...

Well, as you can tell, we didn't make our goal of getting the updated data online by International Mother Language Day. As with many computer-based operations, we are Real Close though and expect to see not only new data but new online features in place Real Soon Now. What I can share with you as just a bit of a teaser of things yet to be seen are some of the statistics regarding the state of the world's languages. Since we are continuously revising our database as we receive feedback, there are lots of changes to report every time we take a new snapshot of the data. As a result there's a chance that what I report here may be off slightly from what we'll finally report when we go live with the updated data, but these numbers are probably close enough for most purposes. If you want to cite the Ethnologue for scholarly purposes, it would be best to wait until we actually click the shutter on the database and publish the final statistics on the website. The count of living languages has gone up by 1 to 7,106 since last year. This reflects the net addition of 66 living languages that have been identified by the ISO 639-3 standard since the 16th edition of Ethnologue was published (2009) and includes the most recent changes to the ISO inventory (January 2014). These changes are the result of adding 147 previously unidentified languages (56 through splitting off what were considered dialects of another language and 91 as new varieties not previously associated with another language) and the subtraction of 81 languages (68 being merged with other languages and 13 removed because they were duplicates or could not be substantiated as ever having been a language). We are also reporting 373 languages as having gone extinct since 1950. We count 424 languages as nearly extinct (the most serious level of endangerment for a language that is still in active use) and an additional 203 languages which are now dormant. Additional details regarding both endangerment and the state of development of languages will be available on the Statistics tabs on the world, country and language pages. Overall, the Ethnologue now contains 10,918 language entries reporting on each of the languages in each of the 234 countries in which they are spoken as a first-language. Since languages are often referred to by different names, our language names index consists of 46,069 unique names found in the alternate names and dialect names categories. And we continue to improve and expand our award-winning language maps. This time we have 165 countries mapped in 215 full color maps. As a result of some database developments, with this update we are able to greatly improve the way we report when users of one language also use a second language (identified with the phrase "Also use..."), and, conversely, when a language is spoken by others as a second language ("Also used by..."). There is more yet to come and I'll focus on that next month.