Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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FYI: New Edition of Ethnologue Released Online

Author: Gary Simons

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

FYI Body: SIL International is pleased to announce the release of the 17th edition of Ethnologue at:


This on-line work features country-by-country listings of 7,105 known living languages, including nearly 60,000 updates over information in the previous edition (published 2009).

Newly introduced in this edition is an estimate of the level of development versus endangerment for every language listed. These estimates use the EGIDS, or Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (which is based on the GIDS developed by Joshua Fishman in his 1991 book, Reversing Language Shift). For every country, a profile of language status is given as a bar graph of the EGIDS levels of all its languages. Summary graphs are also given to give an overvie of the language situation in the 22 UN regions, 5 major world areas, and the world at large.

The overall finding is that of 7,105 known living languages:

* 10% have reached the relative safety of institutional transmission of a standardized form
* 22% are in vigorous use with standardization underway
* 35% are in vigorous use with no development efforts
* 21% are in trouble because they are losing speakers but are still used in the child-bearing generation
* 13% are dying with the only fluent users (if any) being older than the child-bearing generation

In addition, this edition of Ethnologue lists 375 languages that were known to be in use in 1950 and which are extinct today.

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