The Linguasphere Register

of the world’s languages and speech communities

The linguascale


Geosector 0= AFRICA

Phylosector 1= AFRO-ASIAN

Geosector 2= AUSTRALASIA

Phylosector 3= AUSTRONESIAN

Geosector 4= EURASIA

Phylosector 5= INDO-EUROPEAN

Geosector 6= NORTH-AMERICA

Phylosector 7= SINO-INDIAN

Geosector 8= SOUTH-AMERICA

Phylosector 9= TRANSAFRICAN



Total number of voices covered by the languages of each zone (or of each part of a divided zone) :

  • More than 100 million
  • More than 10 million
  • More than 1 million
  • More than 100 thousand
  • Less than 100 thousand
PDF - 516.9 kb
Téléchargez l’ensemble du secteur au format pdf. Extrait de l’édition 2000 du répertoire Linguasphère.

This phylosector covers 43 sets of languages (276 outer languages, comprising 683 inner languages) spoken by communities across the northern half of the African continent and in western Asia, constituting the "Afro-Asiatic" or "Hamito-Semitic" intercontinental affinity. The component phylozones are numbered in approximate clockwise order, beginning in Northwest Africa.

Zones 10= and 11= cover 2 sets (and nets) of languages spoken or formerly spoken in northern Africa, otherwise known as "Berber" and "Egyptian". Zone 12= covers one set of languages spoken over an extensive area from northwest Africa to southwest and central Asia and northeast Africa.

Zones 13= to 16= cover 16 sets of languages spoken in northeast Africa, formerly classified together as "Cushitic". There is now evidence to suggest that the languages of Zone 13= (formerly "North Cushitic") and =16 (formerly "West Cushitic"), and probably also Zone 15= (formerly "South Cushitic" or "Paracushitic"), are more safely treated as separate components of the Afro-Asiatic affinity, and the term "Cushitic" is here restricted to the Central and Eastern languages (in Zone 14=) of a "wider Cushitic" hypothesis.

Zones 17= to 19= cover 24 sets of languages spoken in parts of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, constituting three groupings within a wider "Chadic" affinity, which itself forms the most complex component of the Afro-Asiatic intercontinental affinity.

Languages in zones 11= and 12=, and also 10=, were of particular importance in the early development of writing.

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