Introducing Ethnologue Guides

Map of the living languages of the world

How many languages are there in the world?

If you're familiar with the Ethnologue, you already know that the answer is in the thousands. But what does that really look like? Where are these languages? How many people speak them? What does it mean to live in a world with thousands of languages?

Today we're launching "Guides,” which will explore questions just like this. Each guide uses a combination of text, maps, and charts to unpack a specific topic that’s important to understanding how language fits in our world today.

Our first guide deals with the question that opened this blog: How many languages are there? We walk you through the topic in a single place, covering everything from the one-sentence answer ("7,097 languages are spoken today") to a detailed look at related statistics. We hope you find them useful!

We'll be releasing new guides over time, as well as updating them with new statistics every year. As with our data pages, viewing each guide counts toward your seven free pages on (Want more data? Simply subscribe here.)

Take a look, share them with your friends, and let us know what you think! We'd also love to hear which topics you'd be interested in reading about in future guides.


Submitted by David Jakuja on Thu, 2016-12-22 23:56
This is a great tool for informing and updating our knowledge, I got a question. is hebrew an african language or Europe language?
Submitted by Chuck Fennig on Fri, 2016-12-23 09:24
Thanks, David, for your comment. Actually, Hebrew [heb] is neither an African language nor a European language. For the Ethnologue, the primary country for Hebrew is Israel, which is located in Asia. So, in terms of continental location, Hebrew is an Asian language.
Submitted by Reginald Padilla on Thu, 2017-01-19 11:03
Hebrew is of a group of languages called "Semitic". Semitic languages are Afro-Asiatic. Semitic languages are Hebrew, Aramaic and all of it's dialects, Arabic and all of it's dialects, Amharic, Tigrinya, Maltese, et cetera... All of which are found Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Submitted by Andy Weathers on Sun, 2017-11-19 15:55
I love the new map of Living Languages of the World, but it would be great if it was made with a Hammer (1892) equal area projection or Robinson (1963) projection map. It looks like the one used here is a Mercator (1569) projection map, which has quite distorted sizes. Where we care about languages of the world, we should also encourage a more realistic view of the world's map.