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
CountPercentTotalPercentMeanMedian
Afro-Asiatic 366 5.16 444,845,814 6.70 1,215,426 20,150 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 1,224 17.24 324,883,805 4.89 265,428 3,500 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 440 6.20 3,077,112,005 46.32 6,993,436 166,000 Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Egypt, Faroe Islands, 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 1,526 21.50 458,899,441 6.91 300,720 29,000 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 452 6.37 1,355,708,295 20.41 2,999,355 15,000 Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Viet Nam
Trans-New Guinea 478 6.73 3,553,780 0.05 7,435 1,500 East Timor, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Totals 4,486 63.19 5,665,003,140 85.28

Table 6. Other language families of the world

Language familyLiving languagesNumber of speakersCountries
Count Percent Total Percent Mean Median
Algic 41 0.58 217,478 5,304 850 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 193 2.72 40,071 208 26 Australia
Austro-Asiatic 166 2.34 104,993,793 1.58 632,493 10,000 Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam
Aymaran 3 0.04 1,702,740 0.03 567,580 213,000 Bolivia, Peru
Barbacoan 3 0.04 27,360 9,120 9,390 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 10,270 5,135 5,135 Peru
Cariban 29 0.41 66,776 2,303 600 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 0.28 303,120 15,156 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 0.10 114,860 16,409 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 2,384 265 170 Mexico, United States
Constructed language 1 0.01 1,000 1,000 1,000 Poland
Coosan 1 0.01 0 0 0 United States
Creole 88 1.24 41,026,575 0.62 466,211 37,100 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
Dravidian 85 1.20 228,108,690 3.43 2,683,632 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 0.56 205,129 5,128 85 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 2,220 1,110 1,110 Peru
Hmong-Mien 38 0.54 9,331,720 0.14 245,572 65,500 China, Laos, Viet Nam
Huavean 4 0.06 14,670 3,668 1,585 Mexico
Iroquoian 9 0.13 16,439 1,827 100 Canada, United States
Jabutian 2 0.03 3 2 1 Brazil
Japonic 12 0.17 129,204,210 1.94 10,767,018 5,000 Japan
Jean 13 0.18 44,335 3,410 1,535 Brazil
Jicaquean 1 0.01 350 350 350 Honduras
Jivaroan 4 0.06 135,450 33,862 32,110 Ecuador, Peru
Karajá 1 0.01 2,670 2,670 2,670 Brazil
Kartvelian 5 0.07 4,113,630 0.06 822,726 62,600 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 0.17 277,547 23,129 1,735 Botswana, Namibia, South Africa
Kiowa-Tanoan 5 0.07 7,230 1,446 1,500 United States
Koreanic 2 0.03 77,238,270 1.16 38,619,135 38,619,135 South Korea
Kwomtari 3 0.04 2,850 950 750 Papua New Guinea
Kx’a 4 0.06 109,860 27,465 25,100 Botswana, Namibia
Lakes Plain 19 0.27 9,655 508 300 Indonesia
Language isolate 77 1.08 854,180 0.01 11,093 51 Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, 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 0.76 683,009 0.01 12,648 650 Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Honduras, Peru, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Venezuela
Mairasi 3 0.04 4,385 1,462 1,000 Indonesia
Mapudungu 2 0.03 260,410 130,205 130,205 Chile
Mascoyan 6 0.08 13,998 2,333 1,355 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 6,512,723 0.10 210,088 54,200 Belize, Guatemala, Mexico
Maybrat 2 0.03 25,000 12,500 12,500 Indonesia
Misumalpan 4 0.06 152,050 38,012 4,525 Nicaragua
Miwok-Costanoan 8 0.11 19 2 0 United States
Mixe-Zoquean 17 0.24 163,704 9,630 8,000 Mexico
Mixed language 23 0.32 796,905 0.01 34,648 1,000 Armenia, Australia, China, Ecuador, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Ireland, Micronesia, Niger, Norway, Philippines, 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 7,155,590 0.11 550,430 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 16,489 2,748 395 United States
Nambikwara 6 0.08 1,068 178 10 Brazil
Nilo-Saharan 201 2.83 50,326,960 0.76 250,383 44,000 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 6,603,775 0.10 200,114 6,180 Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russian Federation
Otomanguean 176 2.48 1,681,257 0.03 9,553 4,060 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 38,284 1,823 500 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 0.18 113,001 8,692 0 Australia, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Nauru, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Suriname, United States, Zambia
Pomoan 7 0.10 49 7 1 United States
Puinavean 7 0.10 6,205 886 500 Brazil, Colombia
Quechuan 44 0.62 7,767,820 0.12 176,541 27,500 Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
Ramu-Lower Sepik 32 0.45 66,180 2,068 1,040 Papua New Guinea
Sahaptian 5 0.07 225 45 25 United States
Salish 25 0.35 1,826 73 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 0.77 162,829 2,961 700 Papua New Guinea
Sign language 140 1.97 13,158,282 0.20 93,988 8,000 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, Czechia, 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, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, 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
Siouan-Catawban 14 0.20 10,249 732 117 Canada, United States
Skou 8 0.11 5,855 732 530 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 4,950 825 670 Bolivia
Tai-Kadai 90 1.27 80,886,958 1.22 898,744 71,800 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 0.80 113,505 1,991 750 Papua New Guinea
Totonacan 12 0.17 282,120 23,510 3,135 Mexico
Tsimshian 3 0.04 1,388 463 350 Canada
Tucanoan 23 0.32 30,248 1,315 642 Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
Tungusic 11 0.15 55,452 5,041 150 China, Russian Federation
Tupian 66 0.93 6,244,802 0.09 94,618 230 Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Paraguay, Peru
Turkic 39 0.55 172,371,468 2.59 4,419,781 331,000 Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Russian Federation, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
Tuu 2 0.03 2,505 1,252 1,252 Botswana, South Africa
Unclassified 46 0.65 360,449 7,836 23 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 20,611,268 0.31 557,061 2,000 Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden
Uto-Aztecan 58 0.82 1,925,793 0.03 33,203 5,255 El Salvador, Mexico, United States
Wakashan 6 0.08 698 116 98 Canada, United States
West Papuan 23 0.32 269,425 11,714 3,310 Indonesia
Wintuan 3 0.04 38 13 19 United States
Witotoan 7 0.10 15,897 2,271 194 Colombia, Peru
Yaguan 1 0.01 5,000 5,000 5,000 Peru
Yanomaman 5 0.07 32,100 6,420 5,070 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 2,613 36.81 978,034,375 14.72
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