Living Languages Translations

Living Languages
Living Languages Translations

Ethnologue defines a living language as, “One that has at least one speaker for whom it is their first language.” There are an estimated 7,097 languages in use today. On the map below, each language is indicated just once as a pin in its primary country.  We hope you enjoy this post on Living Languages Translations.


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Language Families of the World

Language families consisting of Living Languages, also known as World Languages, are groupings of languages that have common origins. Although linguists can identify hundreds of language families, most are categorized into the largest families which we have listed below.

Indo-European Family

The largest language family of the world, the Indo-European group is also comprised of the most speakers, an estimated 46% of the global population. This family includes:

  • English

  • Hindustani

  • Russian

  • Spanish

Sino-Tibetan Family

The second largest language family, these languages of East Asia are spoken by 20% of the world’s population. Examples include:

  • Cantonese

  • Hakka

  • Mandarin Chinese

Niger-Congo Family

Third in line is the Niger-Congo language family. 6.9% of the world’s population, mostly located in Africa, speaks these languages which include:

  • Shona

  • Swahili

  • Yoruba

Afroasiatic Family

The fourth family, spoken by about the same amount of people, is the Afroasiatic group, which includes:

Semitic Languages

  • Arabic

  • Hebrew

Sahara Languages

  • Berber

  • Hausa

Austronesian Family

This family is spoken by 5.5% of the world’s population and includes:

  • Malagasy

  • Māori

  • Samoan

Dravidian Family

  • Tamil-Kannada

  • Telugu

Language Isolates

Additionally, there also are numerous language isolates, languages that have yet to be connected to other languages, so they do not belong to a language family. A few examples include:

  • Ainu (Japan)

  • Basque (Europe)

  • Burushaski (Pakistan)

  • Purépecha (Mexico)

  • Zuni (New Mexico)

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