7,299 Languages and Counting

According to Ethnologue, a printed and online reference that catalogs all the known living languages and is regarded as the most comprehensive and authoritative listing of world languages, there are more than 7,000 living languages in the world today. Even though the current edition of Ethnologue provides an exact number – 7,299 languages (listed under no less than 39,491 distinct names) – such a number can be only an approximation, because languages come and go. Unfortunately, they more often go than come.

Interestingly, even though the number of languages that become extinct every year is alarmingly high, the number of languages known to us is growing every year because research keeps identifying new languages that were either unknown to us in the past or were previously considered dialects. Because of this, the absolute number of languages cannot be determined, just as we cannot determine the absolute number of people living on Earth.

See the entire article at https://www.cetra.com//publications/Alert_11_08.pdf.