Languages are an integral part of cultural diversity, freedom of expression and universal access to information and knowledge. But, do we have an accurate count of the number of languages and users across the world? The UIS, in collaboration with UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector, has just launched the Survey of World Languages to collect a wide range of data on the number of languages spoken in countries and information about each language’s users and use.

The information collected will serve to better promote and safeguard linguistic diversity, empowering governments to develop protective policies based on evidence and in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and UNESCO’s Recommendation Concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace.

To display the results, UNESCO will produce a report and develop a new interactive World Atlas of Languages, to be released in 2019. By capturing as many official and non-official languages as possible through the survey, the project will scale up the existing version of the Atlas of Languages in Danger.  

The survey was sent to statistical offices and language institutions in 193 UN Member States. The questionnaires are available in four languages:
UNESCO Questionnaire on Spoken Languages: English, French, Spanish and Russian.
UNESCO Questionnaire on Sign Languages: English, French, Spanish and Russian.
Instruction Manual: English, French, Spanish and Russian

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