|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 former Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and since 2015 at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany.
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: it attempts to only accept languages which the editors have been able to confirm both exist and are distinct (varieties which have not been confirmed, but are inherited from another source, are tagged as "spurious" or "unattested"); it attempts only to classify languages into families which have been demonstrated to be valid; bibliographic information is provided, especially for lesser-known languages; and, to a limited extent, alternative names are listed according to the sources which use them. 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.
Edition 2.2 was published online in 2013 and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License. Edition 2.4 was published in 2015 and edition 3.0 in 2017.
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 2.4 lists 425 oral-language families, including isolates, and 75 sign-language families and isolates, as follows.
Creoles are classified with the language that supplied their basic lexicon.
In addition to languages classified into families, Glottolog recognizes 79 pidgins (including one sign pidgin), 24 mixed languages, 8 artificial languages, 9 speech registers (including 3 auxiliary sign systems), 118 attested but unclassifiable languages (including 2 sign languages), 61 unattested languages, and 270 spurious languages (such as retired ISO entries, and including 3 sign languages) kept for bookkeeping purposes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Geographic regions include "Papunesia" (a portmanteau of Papua (New Guinea) and Austronesia), which refers to the islands of Insular Southeast Asia and Oceania.
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