Language Classification in The Ethnologue and its Consequences

  • Sarah E. Cornwell University of Western Ontario

Abstract

The Ethnologue is a widely used classificatory standard for the world’s 7000+ natural languages. However, the motives and processes used by The Ethnologue’s governing body, SIL International, have come under criticism by linguists. This paper investigates how The Ethnologue answers the question “What is a language?” through the theoretical lens presented by Bowker and Star in Sorting Things Out (1999) and presents some consequences of those classificatory decisions.

Published
2019-07-18
Issue
Section
Articles