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Most folks who try to make a taxonomy of all the world's languages separate them into language families, within each of which all the languages are in some way related. Three such taxonomies are produced by Ethnologue, Linguasphere and the Dictionary of Languages.

Not long ago, Ethnologue divided the Languages of the World into 5 groups (more or less by continent) and 99 Families. In their latest revision, they dropped the groups and reafactored to 108 families. The number following each family is a count of the distinct languages within that family.

Afro-Asiatic (375)  Alacalufan (2)            Algic (44)               Altaic (66)           Amto-Musan (2)
Andamanese (13)     Arauan (8)                Araucanian (2)           Arawakan (64)         Artificial language (3)
Arutani-Sape (2)    Australian (263)          Austro-Asiatic (169)     Austronesian (1268)   Aymaran (3)
Barbacoan (7)       Basque (3)                Bayono-Awbono (2)        Caddoan (5)           Cahuapanan (2)
Cant (1)            Carib (32)                Chapacura-Wanham (5)     Chibchan (22)         Chimakuan (2)
Choco (12)          Chon (2)                  Chukotko-Kamchatkan (5)  Chumash (7)           Coahuiltecan (1)
Creole (86)         Deaf sign language (121)  Dravidian (73)           East Bird's Head (3)  East Papuan (36)
Eskimo-Aleut (11)   Geelvink Bay (33)         Guahiban (5)             Gulf (4)              Harakmbet (2)
Hibito-Cholon (2)   Hmong-Mien (35)           Hokan (28)               Huavean (4)           Indo-European (449)
Iroquoian (11)      Japanese (12)             Jivaroan (4)             Kartvelian (5)        Katukinan (3)
Keres (2)           Khoisan (27)              Kiowa Tanoan (6)         Kwomtari-Baibai (6)   Language Isolate (40)
Left May (6)        Lower Mamberamo (2)       Lule-Vilela (1)          Macro-Ge (32)         Maku (6)
Mascoian (5)        Mataco-Guaicuru (12)      Mayan (69)               Misumalpan (4)        Mixed Language (21)
Mixe-Zoque (17)     Mura (1)                  Muskogean (6)            Na-Dene (47)          Nambiquaran (3)
Niger-Congo (1514)  Nilo-Saharan (204)        North Caucasian (34)     Oto-Manguean (174)    Panoan (28)
Peba-Yaguan (2)     Penutian (33)             Pidgin (18)              Quechuan (46)         Salishan (27)
Salivan (3)         Sepik-Ramu (100)          Sign language (3)        Sino-Tibetan (403)    Siouan (17)
Sko (7)             Subtiaba-Tlapanec (5)     Tacanan (6)              Tai-Kadai (76)        Tarascan (2)
Torricelli (53)     Totonacan (11)            Trans-New Guinea (564)   Tucanoan (25)         Tupi (76)
Unclassified (78)   Uralic (39)               Uru-Chipaya (2)          Uto-Aztecan (61)      Wakashan (5)
West Papuan (26)    Witotoan (6)              Yanomam (4)              Yeniseian (2)         Yukaghir (2)
Yuki (2)            Zamucoan (2)              Zaparoan (7)

Linguasphere (www.linguasphere.org) divides the totality of the world's languages into ten Sectors, and each of those into ten zones :


Mandic     Songhaic   Saharic     Sudanic   Nilotic
East-Sahel Kordofanic Rift-Valley Khoisanic Kalahari
Tamazic Coptic Semitic Bejic    Cushitic
Eyasic  Omotic Charic  Mandaric Bauchic
Arafura     Mamberamo    Mandangic    Owalamic        Transirianic
Cendrawasih Sepik-Valley Bismarck-Sea North-Australia Trans-Australia
Taiwanic Hesperonesic Mesonesic Halmayapenic Neoguineic
Manusic  Solomonic    Kanakic   West-Pacific Transpacific
Euskaric  Uralic     Caucasus Siberia Transasia
East-Asia South-Asia Daic     Mienic  Dravidic
Celtic  Romanic  Germanic Slavic Baltic
Albanic Hellenic Armenic  Iranic Indic
Arctic  Nadenic Algic  Saint-Lawrence Mississippi
Aztecic Farwest Desert Gulf           Meso-America
Tibetic  Himalayic Garic      Kukic   Miric
Kachinic Rungic    Irrawaddic Karenic Sinitic
Caribic    Inter-Ocean Arawakic Pre-Andes Andes
Chaco-Cone Mato-Grosso Amazon   Tupic     Bahia
Atlantic Voltaic Adamawic Ubangic Melic
Kruic    Aframic Deltic   Benuic  Bantuic

In his book Dictionary of Languages (1998), Andrew Dalby doesn't impose an artificial hierarchy upon the world's languages, but instead sets the roots of the tree to be those groups of languages (or isolated languages) which have not yet been convincingly shown to be related to one another. In theory, once everything is known about every language ever spoken, this list will be of length one. Here are the 42 unrelated roots.

Afroasiatic                     Ainu                          Altaic*
Amerind*                        Angan                         Australian
Austroasiatic                   Austro-Tai*                   Burushaski
Central and South New Guinean   Chukotko-Kamchatkan           Dani-Kwerba
Dravidian                       East New Guinea Highlands     Eskimo-Aleut
Great Andamanese                Hadza                         Huon-Finisterre
Indo-European                   Kartvelian or South Caucasian Ket
Khwe                            Little Andamanese             Na-Dene
Nakh or North Central Caucasian Niger-Congo                   Nihali
Nilo-Saharan                    Nivkh or Gilyak               North East Caucasian
Northern San                    North West Caucasian          Sepik-Ramu
Sino-Tibetan                    Southern San                  Tasmanian
Timor-Alur-Pantar               Uralic                        West Papuan
Wissel Lakes-Kemandoga          Yukaghir                      Basque

* "These family groupings are still in the waiting room between inspired guesswork and established fact."

Altaic probably includes Turkic, Mongolian and Tungusic, and perhaps Korean and Japanese.

Amerind may perhaps include Algonquian, Araucanian, Aymara, Iroquoian, Mayan, Quechua, Uto-Aztecan and many others.

Austro-Tai probably includes Austronesian, Miao-Yao and Kadai.

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