How many languages in the world are unwritten?

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The exact number of unwritten languages is hard to determine. Ethnologue (23rd edition) has data to indicate that of the currently listed 7,117 living languages, 3,982 have a developed writing system. We don't always know, however, if the existing writing systems are widely used. That is, while an alphabet may exist there may not be very many people who are literate and actually using the alphabet. The remaining 3,135 are likely unwritten.

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