language families

World Atlas of Lang. Structures

The World Atlas of Language Structures

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WALS (the World Atlas of Language Structures, available at is, to use its own words, “a large database of structural (phonological, grammatical, lexical) properties of languages gathered from descriptive materials (such as reference grammars) by a team of 55 authors (many of them the leading authorities on the subject).”

Essentially, it lets you easily answer questions like “Hmm… I wonder what the ratio of Adj-N languages is to N-Adj. languages, and where, in the world, the N-Adj. languages are spoken.”  It has nifty features involving maps, useful information about language groups and families, and tons of references (its own, or outside ones) that you can check out for more information.