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How many languages exist in the world?

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The actual number of languages spoken in the world is difficult to calculate. One of the problems is that of the definition of what constitutes a language. This leads to the following range in answers:
  • According to the National Virtual Translation Center, there are about 6,900 languages in the world. For more information, see external Related Link below.
  • The Ethnologue organization's current catalog includes 6,809 distinct languages. See related links below for more information.
  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language says that estimates of total living languages in the world vary from 3,000 to 10,000.
  • Voegelins' Classification and Index of the World's Languages (1977) lists 20,000 languages and dialects, grouped into about 4,500 living languages.
  • No exact figure exists, and we are losing languages every year, as only living speakers die. But a good estimate is about 6,800 languages, according to the Linguistic Society of America.



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