Summary by language family

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The genetic classifications given in the language entries name 141 different language families (that is, top-level genetic groups). Six of these, each of which has at least 5% of the world’s languages, stand out as the major language families of the world. Together they account for nearly two-thirds of all languages and five-sixths of the world’s population. Table 5 summarizes the distribution of languages and their populations within these six families. The columns are as for table 1, with the addition of a final column listing the countries under which the main entries for the languages of that family are found.

In addition to the other 135 language families, the genetic classification scheme also includes special categories for constructed languages, creoles, deaf sign languages, language isolates, mixed languages, pidgins, and unclassified languages. Table 6 summarizes the distribution of languages and their populations for these other language families and special categories. In most cases the population as a percentage of the world population is negligible; a figure is shown in that column only when the value is at least one-hundredth of one percent. Together tables 5 and 6 account for all known living languages of the world.

Table 5. Major language families of the world

Language familyLiving languagesNumber of speakersCountries
CountPer-
cent
TotalPer-
cent
MeanMedian
Afro-Asiatic 366 5.15 380,821,999 6.05 1,040,497 20,900 Algeria, Bahrain, Cameroon, Chad, Cyprus, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen
Austronesian 1,223 17.22 323,456,908 5.14 264,478 3,575 Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, China, China–Taiwan, Cook Islands, East Timor, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Indonesia, Kiribati, Madagascar, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mayotte, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Thailand, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Wallis and Futuna
Indo-European 437 6.15 2,913,575,380 46.31 6,667,221 137,000 Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican State, Venezuela
Niger-Congo 1,524 21.46 436,814,956 6.94 286,624 28,100 Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Sino-Tibetan 453 6.38 1,268,181,584 20.16 2,799,518 15,000 Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Viet Nam
Trans-New Guinea 476 6.70 3,540,024 0.06 7,437 1,500 East Timor, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Totals 4,479 63.07 5,326,390,851 84.66

Table 6. Other language families of the world

Language familyLiving languagesNumber of speakersCountries
Count Per-
cent
Total Per-
cent
Mean Median
Algic 41 0.58 214,768 5,238 620 Canada, United States
Amto-Musan 2 0.03 520 260 260 Papua New Guinea
Andamanese 4 0.06 501 125 122 India
Arafundi 3 0.04 1,960 653 400 Papua New Guinea
Arai (Left May) 6 0.08 2,005 334 340 Papua New Guinea
Arauan 5 0.07 5,870 1,174 740 Brazil
Australian 201 2.83 40,397 201 26 Australia
Austro-Asiatic 169 2.38 102,501,719 1.63 606,519 9,000 Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam
Aymaran 3 0.04 2,808,740 0.04 936,247 219,000 Bolivia, Peru
Barbacoan 3 0.04 24,800 8,267 9,500 Colombia, Ecuador
Bayono-Awbono 2 0.03 200 100 100 Indonesia
Border 15 0.21 17,080 1,139 410 Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Bororoan 2 0.03 1,393 696 696 Brazil
Botocudoan 1 0.01 10 10 10 Brazil
Caddoan 5 0.07 46 9 10 United States
Cahuapanan 2 0.03 10,370 5,185 5,185 Peru
Cariban 29 0.41 67,376 2,323 600 Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela
Central Solomons 4 0.06 14,810 3,702 2,145 Solomon Islands
Chapacuran 4 0.06 2,019 505 44 Bolivia, Brazil
Chibchan 20 0.28 306,267 15,313 2,900 Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
Chimakuan 1 0.01 0 0 0 United States
Chinookan 2 0.03 65 32 32 United States
Chipaya-Uru 2 0.03 1,202 601 601 Bolivia
Chocoan 7 0.10 114,600 16,371 5,510 Colombia, Panama
Chon 1 0.01 0 0 0 Argentina
Chukotko-Kamchatkan 5 0.07 6,875 1,375 80 Russian Federation
Chumashan 6 0.08 0 0 0 United States
Cochimí-Yuman 9 0.13 2,780 309 100 Mexico, United States
Constructed language 1 0.01 Unknown Poland
Coosan 1 0.01 0 0 0 United States
Creole 88 1.24 40,483,055 0.64 460,035 38,115 Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, China–Macao, Colombia, Congo, Curacao, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, French Guiana, Ghana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norfolk Island, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Réunion, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, São Tomé e Príncipe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Uganda, United States, Vanuatu
Deaf sign language 137 1.93 10,622,816 0.17 77,539 8,655 Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, China–Hong Kong, China–Taiwan, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Dravidian 84 1.18 229,346,860 3.65 2,730,320 26,000 India, Nepal, Pakistan
East Bird’s Head-Sentani 8 0.11 71,730 8,966 5,875 Indonesia
East Geelvink Bay 12 0.17 8,005 667 300 Indonesia
East New Britain 6 0.08 13,800 2,300 1,950 Papua New Guinea
Eastern Trans-Fly 4 0.06 6,760 1,690 1,525 Australia, Papua New Guinea
Eskimo-Aleut 10 0.14 108,705 10,870 1,200 Canada, Greenland, Russian Federation, United States
Eyak-Athabaskan 40 0.56 207,001 5,175 125 Canada, United States
Fas 2 0.03 2,840 1,420 1,420 Papua New Guinea
Guajiboan 5 0.07 38,700 7,740 1,000 Colombia
Guaykuruan 4 0.06 49,350 12,338 3,500 Argentina, Brazil
Haida 2 0.03 24 12 12 Canada
Harákmbut 2 0.03 810 405 405 Peru
Hmong-Mien 38 0.54 9,334,840 0.15 245,654 65,500 China, Laos, Viet Nam
Huavean 4 0.06 14,670 3,668 1,585 Mexico
Iroquoian 9 0.13 14,543 1,616 100 Canada, United States
Jabutian 2 0.03 3 2 1 Brazil
Japonic 12 0.17 129,067,790 2.05 10,755,649 5,000 Japan
Jean 13 0.18 44,335 3,410 1,535 Brazil
Jicaquean 1 0.01 350 350 350 Honduras
Jivaroan 4 0.06 89,630 22,408 22,165 Ecuador, Peru
Karajá 1 0.01 2,670 2,670 2,670 Brazil
Kartvelian 5 0.07 4,853,810 0.08 970,762 79,800 Georgia, Israel, Turkey
Katukinan 2 0.03 10 5 5 Brazil
Kaure 3 0.04 900 300 250 Indonesia
Kaweskaran 1 0.01 12 12 12 Chile
Keresan 2 0.03 10,670 5,335 5,335 United States
Khoe-Kwadi 12 0.17 337,337 28,111 4,250 Botswana, Namibia, South Africa
Kiowa-Tanoan 5 0.07 6,360 1,272 1,500 United States
Koreanic 2 0.03 77,160,030 1.23 38,580,015 38,580,015 South Korea
Kwomtari 3 0.04 1,510 503 600 Papua New Guinea
Kx’a 4 0.06 103,760 25,940 21,130 Botswana, Namibia
Lakes Plain 19 0.27 8,455 445 300 Indonesia
Language isolate 75 1.06 827,049 0.01 11,027 42 Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mali, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russian Federation, Spain, Tanzania, United States, Venezuela
Lencan 1 0.01 0 0 0 Honduras
Lower Mamberamo 2 0.03 800 400 400 Indonesia
Maiduan 3 0.04 4 1 1 United States
Maipurean 54 0.76 699,709 0.01 12,958 1,080 Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Honduras, Peru, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Venezuela
Mairasi 3 0.04 4,385 1,462 1,000 Indonesia
Mapudungu 2 0.03 260,620 130,310 130,310 Chile
Mascoyan 6 0.08 20,728 3,455 2,980 Paraguay
Matacoan 7 0.10 60,280 8,611 2,150 Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay
Maxakalian 2 0.03 1,270 635 635 Brazil
Mayan 31 0.44 6,522,182 0.10 210,393 49,000 Belize, Guatemala, Mexico
Maybrat 2 0.03 25,000 12,500 12,500 Indonesia
Misumalpan 4 0.06 192,050 48,012 4,525 Nicaragua
Miwok-Costanoan 8 0.11 21 3 0 United States
Mixe-Zoquean 17 0.24 153,612 9,036 5,470 Mexico
Mixed language 21 0.30 603,005 0.01 28,715 2,000 Armenia, China, Ecuador, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Ireland, Micronesia, Niger, Norway, Russian Federation, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, United Kingdom, United States
Mongol-Langam 3 0.04 1,970 657 420 Papua New Guinea
Mongolic 13 0.18 6,905,590 0.11 531,199 96,100 Afghanistan, China, Mongolia, Russian Federation
Mosetenan 1 0.01 5,320 5,320 5,320 Bolivia
Muran 1 0.01 360 360 360 Brazil
Muskogean 6 0.08 15,640 2,607 425 United States
Nambiquaran 6 0.08 1,068 178 10 Brazil
Nilo-Saharan 199 2.80 42,804,101 0.68 215,096 42,500 Algeria, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda
Nimboran 5 0.07 8,500 1,700 2,000 Indonesia
North Bougainville 4 0.06 10,020 2,505 2,350 Papua New Guinea
North Caucasian 33 0.46 6,471,448 0.10 196,104 6,590 Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russian Federation
Otomanguean 176 2.48 1,678,214 0.03 9,535 4,030 Mexico, Nicaragua
Paezan 4 0.06 61,000 15,250 10,500 Colombia
Palaihnihan 2 0.03 10 5 5 United States
Panoan 21 0.30 37,424 1,782 453 Bolivia, Brazil, Peru
Pauwasi 5 0.07 3,710 742 230 Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Piawi 2 0.03 2,600 1,300 1,300 Papua New Guinea
Pidgin 13 0.18 723 56 0 Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Nauru, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Suriname, Zambia
Pomoan 7 0.10 49 7 1 United States
Puinavean 7 0.10 6,205 886 500 Brazil, Colombia
Quechuan 45 0.63 8,946,020 0.14 198,800 25,000 Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
Ramu-Lower Sepik 32 0.45 65,830 2,057 1,080 Papua New Guinea
Sahaptian 5 0.07 225 45 25 United States
Salish 25 0.35 1,969 79 12 Canada, United States
Sálivan 3 0.04 18,630 6,210 2,500 Colombia, Venezuela
Senagi 2 0.03 2,960 1,480 1,480 Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Sepik 55 0.77 162,704 2,958 625 Papua New Guinea
Siouan-Catawban 14 0.20 33,399 2,386 85 Canada, United States
Skou 8 0.11 5,665 708 640 Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Somahai 2 0.03 2,200 1,100 1,100 Indonesia
South Bougainville 9 0.13 68,700 7,633 3,000 Papua New Guinea
South-Central Papuan 22 0.31 16,312 741 365 Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Tacanan 6 0.08 4,590 765 490 Bolivia
Tai-Kadai 94 1.32 80,772,252 1.28 859,279 52,300 China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam
Tarascan 2 0.03 235,000 117,500 117,500 Mexico
Tequistlatecan 2 0.03 3,480 1,740 1,740 Mexico
Tiniguan 1 0.01 2 2 2 Colombia
Tor-Kwerba 24 0.34 16,195 675 400 Indonesia
Torricelli 57 0.80 113,705 1,995 750 Papua New Guinea
Totonacan 12 0.17 282,250 23,521 3,200 Mexico
Tsimshian 3 0.04 1,390 463 350 Canada
Tucanoan 23 0.32 30,308 1,318 642 Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
Tungusic 11 0.15 55,782 5,071 150 China, Russian Federation
Tupian 66 0.93 5,026,502 0.08 76,159 230 Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Paraguay, Peru
Turkic 39 0.55 170,156,603 2.70 4,362,990 310,270 Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Russian Federation, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
Tuu 2 0.03 2,512 1,256 1,256 Botswana, South Africa
Unclassified 51 0.72 373,789 7,329 35 Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Viet Nam
Uralic 37 0.52 20,602,959 0.33 556,837 2,000 Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden
Uto-Aztecan 58 0.82 1,910,442 0.03 32,939 5,275 El Salvador, Mexico, United States
Wakashan 6 0.08 710 118 98 Canada, United States
West Papuan 23 0.32 269,425 11,714 3,310 Indonesia
Wintuan 3 0.04 0 0 0 United States
Witotoan 7 0.10 17,478 2,497 194 Colombia, Peru
Yaguan 1 0.01 5,690 5,690 5,690 Peru
Yanomaman 4 0.06 31,670 7,918 5,535 Brazil, Venezuela
Yele-West New Britain 3 0.04 6,550 2,183 2,000 Papua New Guinea
Yeniseian 2 0.03 211 106 105 Russian Federation
Yokutsan 1 0.01 50 50 50 United States
Yuat 6 0.08 7,700 1,283 1,045 Papua New Guinea
Yukaghir 2 0.03 740 370 370 Russian Federation
Yukian 2 0.03 3 2 1 United States
Zamucoan 2 0.03 5,900 2,950 2,950 Paraguay
Zaparoan 3 0.04 90 30 35 Ecuador, Peru
Totals 2,623 36.93 964,801,773 15.34