Plan of the Site


All of the features of the Ethnologue web site may be accessed from any page by using the links in the page header and the page footer. The following are accessible from the page header:

  • World Languages is the entry point for exploring the world language situation. Hovering over the major world areas shows a summary picture of the language situation in that area. Clicking through to an area page shows the summary picture in each of the regions identified by the UN for its reporting. Clicking through to the a region page shows the summary picture for each of its countries, and clicking on a country goes to the page where details about all the languages in the country may be found. Note that above the country level, the language counts count each language only once as belonging to its country of origin; at the country level, the perspective changes and all languages that are well established in that country are counted.
  • Development gives an overview of what language development is and explains how this site may be used to explore the language development status of the world’s languages.
  • Endangerment gives an overview of what language endangerment is and explains how this site may be used to explore the language endangerment status of the world’s languages.
  • Statistics gives statistical summaries of the world language situation in terms of distribution by world areas, language size, language status, language family, and country.
  • About provides the background materials that explain the history and data and processes that lie behind Ethnologue .
  • Search allows you to do a full text search on language names or any other text that may appear on pages in this site.
  • Clicking on the logo in the upper left always returns to the home page.

The following may be accessed from the page footer:

  • Browse by provides five indexes which allow you to browse content alphabetically by country , language names , language codes , language families , map titles , and products .
  • Abbreviations is an alphabetical list of abbreviations and acronyms used in the language descriptions; it may be consulted to find their meaning.
  • Bibliography is an alphabetical listing of all the published sources that are cited on this site.
  • Credits identifies all the staff who have been involved in the production of this edition.
  • Downloads gives access to the tables of language codes that are made available for free download.
  • Ethnoblog is a place where the Ethnologue Editor and others talk about language in general, news items regarding language and languages, and developments, products, and projects being worked on by the Ethnologue staff (and others).
  • FAQ provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Language of the Day highlights a different language of the world every day; it may be subscribed to via RSS feed.
  • Archives of all previous editions back to the 13th are still accessible online.

How references are cited

Because the Ethnologue is produced by extracting data from a database, there is a great deal of uniformity, and some stiffness and repetition in the wording and phrases used. Frequently the data is maintained using a set of predetermined categories and labels. These are explained in Country information and Language information . Because of this, the Ethnologue rarely quotes any source verbatim. Sources are acknowledged wherever specific statements or facts can be directly attributed to them.

Three kinds of source citations are used:

  • Published works are identified using standard in-text citations enclosed in parentheses. These consist of the author’s or editor’s surname followed by the year of publication. Up to two authors are listed in the citation. Published works authored or edited by three or more persons are cited using the first author’s surname followed by “et al” and the year of publication. Citations do not distinguish between multiple works by the same person published in the same year. Neither are persons with the same surname distinguished in the citations. Generally, the corresponding references identified by such ambiguous citations can be identified clearly based on the language entry in which the citation is made and the title of the work in the Bibliography where full bibliographic details of all cited published works are included.
  • Unpublished sources are also acknowledged when specific statements or facts are attributed to them. Unpublished works may include personal communications, manuscripts, unpublished reports, many websites, and other materials submitted to us. They are identified using in-text citations enclosed in parentheses in which the year of the communication is given first, followed by the source’s first initial and surname. Unpublished sources with multiple authors are handled in the same way as published source citations, except for the inversion of the order of the citation elements as just described. Websites, blogs, and other ephemeral electronic sources are frequently considered to be unpublished and may be cited with only the name of the web page if no human author can be identified. Unpublished sources are not further described in the bibliography but details can be provided upon request.
  • Census data are cited like unpublished sources with the year first followed only by the word “census”. It should be assumed that this refers to the national census of the country in the year indicated. Though there may be electronic or print publications where such data can be accessed, we treat them this way in order to avoid swelling the bibliography beyond a manageable size.

We have made strenuous efforts to track and identify all the sources cited in the text and we are happy to supply additional details upon request. Any missing attributions will be corrected upon notification.