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


Geosector LS-2010 Updated

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 - 543.8 kb
Téléchargez l’ensemble du secteur au format pdf. Extrait de l’édition 2000 du répertoire Linguasphère.

This geosector covers 63 sets of languages (= 336 outer languages, comprising 978 inner languages) spoken or formerly spoken by traditional "Amerindian" (plus Inuit-Aleut) communities across North America and northern Meso-America (since before the arrival of speakers of Indo-European languages, principally [52] English, and [51] Español and Français).

The first six zones of this sector (4 phylozones and 2 geozones) cover the northern and central regions of North America, which have been characterised in recent centuries by the wide geographic distribution of a relatively small number of sets of languages. These six zones together comprise a total of only 13 sets (including a southward extension as far as Honduras of related languages in zone 65=).

The last four zones of this sector (all geozones) cover the linguistically more complex western and southern regions of North America, including northern Central America. They together comprise a total of 50 sets. Geozone 66=Farwest covers 26 sets of languages spoken on the west-coast and hinterland regions of Canada and the USA, from Alaska to California. Geozone 67=Desert covers 5 sets of languages spoken in the area between New Mexico and the Bay of California (in Mexico). Geozone 68=Gulf covers 8 sets of languages spoken around the periphery of the Gulf of Mexico, from Mexico (Tamaulipas) to USA (Florida); and geozone 69=Mesoamerica covers 11 sets of languages spoken between northern Mexico and northern Costa Rica.

The greatest impact on the geography of the linguasphere has resulted during the last 500 years from the ethnic clearance and repopulation of two continents (North America and Australia) by sea-borne invaders from Europe, predominantly speakers of [52] English - together with speakers of [51] Español and Français in the case of North America. In North America, these invaders were accompanied by forced immigrants transported from among hundreds of speech communities in Africa, who were themselves impelled to create new speech communities under conditions of slavery and segregation based on pigmentation of the skin. The variety of their own African languages (from sectors 0=, 1= and 9=) was abandoned in favour of new (creolised) forms of European languages (from zones 51= and 52=), but there were also some linguistic contacts and influences between African immigrants and speakers of American "Indian" languages: cf. [51] Louisianais (Houma) and perhaps [62] Lumbee. Lands "reserved" by the invaders for the use of indigenous American speech communities, sometimes far from their original homelands, are referred to in USA as "reservations" or "agencies" or "nations", and in Canada as "reserves" (see column 3, below).

Updated phylosector in LS-2010. See older LS-2000 version NORTH-AMERICA.

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