Why are there so many more living languages listed in the 17th edition (7106) than there are in the 16th (6909)?

This is a result of the introduction of EGIDS in the 17th edition. The 188 languages that have been placed in the Dormant category (EGIDS 9) were counted as extinct in the previous edition, but are now being distinguished from Extinct (EGIDS 10) and counted as living. In many cases there are revitalization efforts underway to preserve and even revive these languages as part of the heritage of living ethnic communities.  While there may be no fully proficient speakers, these languages cannot be accurately identified as extinct.

What is the difference between a dormant language and an extinct language?

Both extinct languages and dormant languages no longer have any fully-proficient L1 users.  The Ethnologue makes a distinction between the two, however, to reflect the differences that exist in the sociolinguistic status of these languages without users. Although a dormant language is not used for daily life, there is an ethnic community that associates itself with a dormant language and view the language as a symbol of that community's identity.  Though a dormant language has no proficient users, it retains some social uses.

What are the 10 largest / most spoken languages in the world?

See for data on the most spoken languages of the world.

What is the largest language family? In terms of languages? In terms of speakers?

For number of languages, Niger-Congo with 1524 living languages.  For number of speakers, Indo-European with nearly 3 billion speakers.

How many language families are there?

There are 141 language families

Which language is spoken in the most countries? How many countries?

English [eng].  It is spoken in 129 countries, as an indigenous language or by a substantial immigrant group.

How can I learn to speak language X? Can you send me a dictionary or language learning materials?

We do not teach specific languages such as Spanish, Turkish, Mohawk, or Tok Pisin. Rather, we teach linguistics (how to analyze a language) and language learning techniques (how to learn a language on your own).

How many languages are there in the world?


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