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

This phylosector comprises 22 sets of languages spoken by communities in eastern Asia, from the Himalayas to Manchuria (Heilongjiang), constituting the Sino-Tibetan (or Sino-Indian) continental affinity.

This continental affinity is composed of two major parts: the disparate Tibeto-Burman affinity (zones 70= to 77=), spoken by relatively small communities (with the exception of 77=) in the Himalayas and adjacent regions; and the closely related Chinese languages of the Sinitic set and net (zone 79=), spoken in eastern Asia. The Karen languages of zone 78=, formerly considered part of the Tibeto-Burman grouping, are probably best regarded as a third component of Sino-Tibetan affinity.

Zone 79=Sinitic includes the outer-language with the largest number of primary voices in the world, representing the most populous network of contiguous speech-communities at the end of the 20th century ("Mainstream Chinese" or so-called ’Mandarin’, standardised under the name of Putonghua).

This phylosector is named 7=Sino-Indian (rather than Sino-Tibetan) to maintain the broad geographic nomenclature of all ten sectors of the linguasphere, composed of the names of continental or sub-continental entities. The future nomenclature of the Sino-Tibetan affinity itself remains a matter for public debate and consensus, although it should be observed that languages from 8 of 10 zones in this phylosector are currently spoken in geographic India. More important, however, is the need for further geographic surveying and comparative analysis in this phylosector, which in Southeast Asia includes a number of geographically fragmented and interspersed speech communities.

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