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Producer Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (Germany)

Glottolog is a bibliographic database of the world's lesser-known languages, developed and maintained first at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany (between 2015 and 2020 at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany). Its main curators include Harald Hammarström and Martin Haspelmath.



Sebastian Nordhoff and Harald Hammarström created the Glottolog/Langdoc project in 2011. [1] [2] The creation of Glottolog was partly motivated by the lack of a comprehensive language bibliography, especially in Ethnologue. [3]

Glottolog provides a catalogue of the world's languages and language families and a bibliography on the world's less-spoken languages. It differs from the similar catalogue Ethnologue in several respects:

The language names used in the bibliographic entries are identified by ISO 639-3 code or Glottolog's own code (Glottocode); apart from a single point-location on a map at its geographic centre, no ethnographic or demographic information is provided. External links are provided to ISO, Ethnologue and other online language databases

The latest version is 4.6, released under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License in May 2022.

It is part of the Cross-Linguistic Linked Data project hosted by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. [4]

Language families

Glottolog is more conservative in its classification than most online databases in establishing membership of languages and groups within families but more liberal in considering unclassified languages to be isolates. Edition 4.6 lists 419 oral-language [note 2] families and isolates as follows: [5]

List of Glottolog genealogical families
NameRegion [note 3] Languages
Atlantic-Congo Africa1,406
Austronesian Africa, Eurasia, Oceania, South America1,271
Indo-European Africa, Australia, Eurasia, North America, Oceania, South America583
Sino-Tibetan Eurasia501
Afro-Asiatic Africa, Eurasia379
Nuclear Trans New Guinea Oceania317
Pama-Nyungan Australia, Oceania250
Otomanguean North America181
Austroasiatic Eurasia158
Tai-Kadai Eurasia95
Dravidian Eurasia82
Arawakan North America, South America77
Mande Africa75
Tupian South America71
Uto-Aztecan North America69
Central Sudanic Africa63
Nilotic Africa56
Nuclear Torricelli Oceania55
Uralic Eurasia48
Algic North America46
Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit North America46
Pano-Tacanan South America45
Turkic Eurasia44
Quechuan South America43
Cariban South America42
Hmong-Mien Eurasia39
Kru Africa38
Sepik Oceania36
Nakh-Daghestanian Eurasia34
Mayan North America33
Lower Sepik-Ramu Oceania30
Nuclear-Macro-Je South America30
Chibchan North America, South America27
Tucanoan South America26
Salishan North America25
Timor-Alor-Pantar Oceania23
Dogon Africa20
Lakes Plain Oceania20
Mixe-Zoque North America19
Ta-Ne-Omotic Africa19
Yam Oceania19
Siouan North America18
Anim Oceania17
Mongolic-Khitan Eurasia17
Border Oceania15
Japonic Eurasia, Oceania15
North Halmahera Oceania15
Khoe-Kwadi Africa14
Angan Oceania13
Eskimo-Aleut Eurasia, North America13
Miwok-Costanoan North America13
Ndu Oceania13
Nubian Africa13
Tor-Orya Oceania13
Totonacan North America13
Tungusic Eurasia13
Chapacuran South America12
Gunwinyguan Australia12
Cochimi-Yuman North America11
Iroquoian North America11
Sko Oceania11
Surmic Africa11
Western Daly Australia11
Geelvink Bay Oceania10
Great Andamanese Eurasia, Oceania10
Heibanic Africa10
Ijoid Africa10
Maban Africa10
Nyulnyulan Australia10
Saharan Africa10
Songhay Africa10
Worrorran Australia10
Chocoan South America9
Dagan Oceania9
South Bougainville Oceania9
Tuu Africa9
Greater Kwerba Oceania8
Kiowa-Tanoan North America8
Koiarian Oceania8
Mailuan Oceania8
Narrow Talodi Africa8
Bosavi Oceania7
Chukotko-Kamchatkan Eurasia7
Dajuic Africa7
Huitotoan South America7
Matacoan South America7
Muskogean North America7
Pomoan North America7
Arawan South America6
Baining Oceania6
Barbacoan South America6
Chumashan North America6
East Strickland Oceania6
Goilalan Oceania6
Kadugli-Krongo Africa6
Kiwaian Oceania6
Left May Oceania6
Lengua-Mascoy South America6
Nambiquaran South America6
South Bird's Head Family Oceania6
Wakashan North America6
Yanomamic South America6
Zaparoan South America6
Abkhaz-Adyge Eurasia5
Arafundi Oceania5
Caddoan North America5
Eleman Oceania5
Guahiboan South America5
Guaicuruan South America5
Kartvelian Eurasia5
Keram Oceania5
Koman Africa5
Kxa Africa5
Mirndi Australia5
Misumalpan North America5
Nimboranic Oceania5
Pauwasi Oceania5
Sahaptian North America5
South Omotic Africa5
West Bird's Head Oceania5
Xincan North America5
Yareban Oceania5
Yeniseian Eurasia5
Yuat Oceania5
Aymaran South America4
Blue Nile Mao Africa4
Chicham South America4
Chinookan North America4
Chonan South America4
Eastern Jebel Africa4
Eastern Trans-Fly Oceania4
Huavean North America4
Iwaidjan Proper Australia4
Kamakanan South America4
Maiduan North America4
Mangarrayi-Maran Australia4
Maningrida Australia4
Naduhup South America4
North Bougainville Oceania4
Sentanic Oceania4
Shastan North America4
Suki-Gogodala Oceania4
Tamaic Africa4
Tangkic Australia4
Turama-Kikori Oceania4
Walioic Oceania4
Yokutsan North America4
Yukaghir Eurasia4
Ainu Eurasia3
Bororoan South America3
Bulaka River Oceania3
Charruan South America3
Dizoid Africa3
East Bird's Head Oceania3
Giimbiyu Australia3
Gumuz Africa3
Jarrakan Australia3
Kalapuyan North America3
Kamula-Elevala Oceania3
Katla-Tima Africa3
Kawesqar South America3
Kayagaric Oceania3
Kolopom Oceania3
Kresh-Aja Africa3
Kuliak Africa3
Kwalean Oceania3
Lepki-Murkim-Kembra Oceania3
Mairasic Oceania3
Peba-Yagua South America3
Saliban South America3
Tequistlatecan North America3
Tsimshian North America3
West Bomberai Oceania3
Yangmanic Australia3
Zamucoan South America3
Amto-Musan Oceania2
Araucanian South America2
Baibai-Fas Oceania2
Bayono-Awbono Oceania2
Bogia Oceania2
Boran South America2
Bunaban Australia2
Cahuapanan South America2
Chimakuan North America2
Chiquitano South America2
Coosan North America2
Doso-Turumsa Oceania2
East Kutubu Oceania2
Eastern Daly Australia2
Furan Africa2
Garrwan Australia2
Haida North America2
Harakmbut South America2
Hatam-Mansim Oceania2
Hibito-Cholon South America2
Huarpean South America2
Hurro-Urartian Eurasia2
Inanwatan Oceania2
Jarawa-Onge Eurasia2
Jicaquean North America2
Kakua-Nukak South America2
Katukinan South America2
Kaure-Kosare Oceania2
Keresan North America2
Konda-Yahadian Oceania2
Koreanic Eurasia2
Kwomtari-Nai Oceania2
Lencan North America2
Limilngan-Wulna Australia2
Manubaran Oceania2
Marrku-Wurrugu Australia2
Mombum-Koneraw Oceania2
Namla-Tofanma Oceania2
Nivkh Eurasia2
North-Eastern Tasmanian Australia2
Northern Daly Australia2
Nyimang Africa2
Otomaco-Taparita South America2
Pahoturi Oceania2
Palaihnihan North America2
Piawi Oceania2
Puri-Coroado South America2
Rashad Africa2
Senagi Oceania2
Somahai Oceania2
South-Eastern Tasmanian Australia2
Southern Daly Australia2
Tarascan North America2
Taulil-Butam Oceania2
Teberan Oceania2
Temeinic Africa2
Ticuna-Yuri South America2
Uru-Chipaya South America2
Western Tasmanian Australia2
Wintuan North America2
Yawa-Saweru Oceania2
Yuki-Wappo North America2
Abinomn Oceania1
Abun Oceania1
Adai North America1
Aewa South America1
Aikanã South America1
Alsea-Yaquina North America1
Andaqui South America1
Andoque South America1
Anem Oceania1
Arutani South America1
Asabano Oceania1
Atacame South America1
Atakapa North America1
Bangime Africa1
Basque Eurasia1
Beothuk North America1
Berta Africa1
Betoi-Jirara South America1
Bilua Oceania1
Bogaya Oceania1
Burmeso Oceania1
Burushaski Eurasia1
Camsá South America1
Candoshi-Shapra South America1
Canichana South America1
Cayubaba South America1
Cayuse North America1
Chimariko North America1
Chitimacha North America1
Chono South America1
Coahuilteco North America1
Cofán South America1
Comecrudan North America1
Cotoname North America1
Cuitlatec North America1
Culli South America1
Damal Oceania1
Dem Oceania1
Dibiyaso Oceania1
Duna Oceania1
Elamite Eurasia1
Elseng Oceania1
Esselen North America1
Etruscan Eurasia1
Fasu Oceania1
Fulniô South America1
Gaagudju Australia1
Guachi South America1
Guaicurian North America1
Guamo South America1
Guató South America1
Gule Africa1
Guriaso Oceania1
Hadza Africa1
Hattic Eurasia1
Hoti South America1
Hruso Eurasia1
Iberian Eurasia1
Irántxe-Münkü South America1
Itonama South America1
Jalaa Africa1
Jirajaran South America1
Kaki Ae Oceania1
Kanoê South America1
Kapori Oceania1
Karami Oceania1
Karankawa North America1
Kariri South America1
Karok North America1
Kehu Oceania1
Kenaboi Eurasia1
Kibiri Oceania1
Kimki Oceania1
Klamath-Modoc North America1
Kol (Papua New Guinea) Oceania1
Kujarge Africa1
Kunama Africa1
Kungarakany Australia1
Kunza South America1
Kuot Oceania1
Kusunda Eurasia1
Kutenai North America1
Kwaza South America1
Laal Africa1
Lafofa Africa1
Laragia Australia1
Lavukaleve Oceania1
Leco South America1
Lule South America1
Máku South America1
Maratino North America1
Marori Oceania1
Massep Oceania1
Matanawí South America1
Mato Grosso Arára South America1
Mawes Oceania1
Maybrat-Karon Oceania1
Meroitic Africa1
Mimi-Gaudefroy Africa1
Minkin Australia1
Mochica South America1
Molale North America1
Molof Oceania1
Mor (Bomberai Peninsula) Oceania1
Mosetén-Chimané South America1
Movima South America1
Mpur Oceania1
Muniche South America1
Mure South America1
Nara Africa1
Natchez North America1
Nihali Eurasia1
Odiai Oceania1
Omurano South America1
Ongota Africa1
Oti South America1
Oyster Bay-Big River-Little Swanport Australia1
Páez South America1
Pankararú South America1
Papi Oceania1
Pawaia Oceania1
Payagua South America1
Pele-Ata Oceania1
Pirahã South America1
Puelche South America1
Puinave South America1
Pumé South America1
Puquina South America1
Purari Oceania1
Pyu Oceania1
Ramanos South America1
Salinan North America1
Sandawe Africa1
Sapé South America1
Sause Oceania1
Savosavo Oceania1
Sechuran South America1
Seri North America1
Shabo Africa1
Shom Peng Eurasia1
Siamou Africa1
Siuslaw North America1
Sulka Oceania1
Sumerian Eurasia1
Tabo Oceania1
Taiap Oceania1
Takelma North America1
Tallán South America1
Tambora Oceania1
Tanahmerah Oceania1
Taruma South America1
Taushiro South America1
Timote-Cuica South America1
Timucua North America1
Tinigua South America1
Tiwi Australia1
Tonkawa North America1
Touo Oceania1
Trumai South America1
Tunica North America1
Tuxá South America1
Umbugarla Australia1
Urarina South America1
Usku Oceania1
Vilela South America1
Wadjiginy Australia1
Wageman Australia1
Waorani South America1
Warao South America1
Washo North America1
Wiru Oceania1
Xukurú South America1
Yale Oceania1
Yámana South America1
Yana North America1
Yele Oceania1
Yerakai Oceania1
Yetfa Oceania1
Yuchi North America1
Yuracaré South America1
Yurumanguí South America1
Zuni North America1

Creoles are classified with the language that supplied their basic lexicon.

In addition to the families and isolates listed above, Glottolog uses several non-genealogical families for various languages: [6]


  1. See for example the bookkeeping section for ISO languages that Glottolog has deemed to be spurious distinctions.
    This discrimination does not apply to dialects, many of which have been inherited from MultiTree or other sources without verification.
  2. Sign languages are listed together, including those grouped typologically as village sign languages, as are pidgins and unclassified languages, but without a claim that they are necessarily related.
  3. Geographic regions include "Papunesia" (a portmanteau of Papua (New Guinea) and Austronesia), which refers to the islands of Insular Southeast Asia and Oceania, excluding Australia. Here it is replaced with 'Oceania'.

Related Research Articles

<i>Ethnologue</i> Database of the worlds languages published by SIL International

Ethnologue: Languages of the World is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living languages of the world. It is the world's most comprehensive catalogue of languages. It was first issued in 1951, and is now published by SIL International, an American Christian non-profit organization.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Papuan languages</span> Indigenous language families of New Guinea and neighboring islands

The Papuan languages are the non-Austronesian and non-Australian languages spoken on the western Pacific island of New Guinea in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, as well as neighbouring islands, by around 4 million people. It is a strictly geographical grouping, and does not imply a genetic relationship. The concept of Papuan (non-Austronesian) speaking Melanesians as distinct from Austronesian-speaking Melanesians was first suggested and named by Sidney Herbert Ray in 1892.

An unclassified language is a language whose genetic affiliation to other languages has not been established. Languages can be unclassified for a variety of reasons, mostly due to a lack of reliable data but sometimes due to the confounding influence of language contact, if different layers of its vocabulary or morphology point in different directions and it is not clear which represents the ancestral form of the language. Some poorly known extinct languages, such as Gutian and Cacán, are simply unclassifiable, and it is unlikely the situation will ever change.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Worrorran languages</span> Family of Aboriginal Australian languages of northern Western Australia

The Worrorran (Wororan) languages are a small family of Australian Aboriginal languages spoken in northern Western Australia.

This page is a list of lists of languages.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eleman languages</span> Language family of Papua New Guinea

The Eleman languages are a family spoken around Kerema Bay, Papua New Guinea.

The Ngbandi language is a dialect continuum of the Ubangian family spoken by a half-million or so people in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the Central African Republic. It is primarily spoken by the Ngbandi people, which included the dictator of what was then known as Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Extinct languages of the Marañón River basin</span>

The Marañón River basin, at a low point in the Andes which made it an attractive location for trade between the Inca Empire and the Amazon basin, once harbored numerous languages which have been poorly attested or not attested at all. Those of the middle reaches of the river, above the Amazon basin, were replaced in historical times by Aguaruna, a Jivaroan language from the Amazon which is still spoken there. The languages further upriver are difficult to identify, due to lack of data. The region was multilingual at the time of the Conquest, and the people largely switched to Spanish rather than to Quechua, though Quechua also expanded during Colonial times.

Manta is a Grassfields language of Cameroon.

Senara (Niangolo), one of a cluster of languages called Senari, is a Senufo language of Burkina Faso and Mali.

Kĕnaboi is an extinct unclassified language of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia that may be a language isolate or an Austroasiatic language belonging to the Aslian branch. It is attested in what appears to be two dialects, based on word lists of about 250 lexical items, presumably collected around 1870–90.

Dek is a purported but unattested alleged language of northern Cameroon. There is no data on whether it exists. Both Glottolog and Ethnologue list it as a Niger-Congo language.

Parsi has been used as a name for several languages of South Asia and Iran, some of them spurious:

Spurious languages are languages that have been reported as existing in reputable works, while other research has reported that the language in question did not exist. Some spurious languages have been proven to not exist. Others have very little evidence supporting their existence, and have been dismissed in later scholarship. Others still are of uncertain existence due to limited research.

Atta is an Austronesian dialect cluster spoken by the Aeta (Agta) Negritos of the northern Philippines.

There have been a number of Arabic-based pidgins throughout history, including a number of new ones emerging today.

Harald Hammarström is a Swedish linguist. He is currently an Associate Senior Lecturer at Uppsala University. Hammarström is especially known for his extensive work on curating Glottolog, a bibliographic database of the world's languages.


  1. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald (May 2012). "Glottolog/Langdoc:Increasing the visibility of grey literature for low-density languages" (PDF). Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'12). Istanbul: European Language Resources Association (ELRA): 3289–3294.
  2. "About". Glottolog 4.6. Retrieved 2022-11-23.
  3. Hammarström, Harald (2015). Kuzmin, E. (ed.). "Glottolog: A Free, Online, Comprehensive Bibliography of the World's Languages". Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace: 183–188.
  4. "Cross-Linguistic Linked Data" . Retrieved 2020-02-22.
  5. "Glottolog Families". Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  6. "Glottolog: About Languoids". Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  7. "Glottolog Language: Hawai'i Pidgin Sign Language". Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  8. "Glottolog Subfamily: Auxiliary Sign Systems". Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  9. "Glottolog Subfamily: Unclassified Deaf Sign Language". Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  10. "Glottolog Family: Bookkeeping". Retrieved 2021-05-21.