The Ethnologue: Languages of the World is a web and print publication of SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics), a Christian linguistic service organization which studies lesser-known languages primarily to provide the speakers with native language biblical texts. It contains statistics for 6,809 languages (2000 edition) and gives the number of speakers, location, dialects, linguistic affiliations, availability of the Bible, etc. It is currently the most comprehensive existing language inventory, along with the Linguasphere Register.
What counts as a language depends on socio-linguistic evaluation: see Dialect.
The Ethnologue provides a three-letter code, called SIL code, for each language it describes, the number of which significantly exceeds those of ISO 639 and RFC 3066.
The neutrality of Ethnologue as a scientific institution is sometimes disputed, particularly in areas of language classification associated with the Bible and Abrahamic religion.
In addition to choosing a primary name for the language, it also gives some of the names by which a language is called by its speakers, by the government, by foreigners, by neighbors, etc., and how it has been named and referenced historically, regardless of which designation is considered official, politically correct, or offensive, or by whom. This selection of "alternative names" is extensive, but often incomplete.
As is inevitable in an enterprise so enormous, the Ethnologue contains some errors, some of which it fixes at every edition; for instance, en route to the 14th edition, some languages such as Chenoua were added, and some rumoured "languages" such as Nemadi or Wutana were removed. Some possible remaining errors are discussed at Imraguen language, Senhaja de Srair language, Ghomara language, Kwavi language, Molengue language, Yauma language, Fer language, Yeni language, Hwla language, and Ofayť.