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What are the largest language families?
Of the 142 different language families, these six stand out as the major language families of the world. They can be found throughout the world, spreading uniquely to different regions and countries. See the map below to picture where each language family is found – countries are colored if they are the primary country
for at least one language in the family.
Each of these families has at least 5% of the world’s languages, and together account for two-thirds of all languages. Niger-Congo
are the two largest from this perspective, each with over 1,000 languages due to the incredible language diversity in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, respectively.
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This web edition of the Ethnologue may be cited as: Eberhard, David M., Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2021. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Twenty-fourth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com.