Genetic Language (Classification) a language family with descendants

Genetic Language is a term in Comparative Linguistics that commonly means "a language family with descendants." (See also: ISO 639-3 Collective Language Types). This term belongs mainly to the broader category called Classification.

Staff notes

Type: Concern

Lack of documentation on ISO 639-3 website about collective language types Posted September 18, 2023 by SUDO

The ISO 639-3 website provides descriptions for types of individual languages, but not for collective languages; e.g., genetic, genetic-link, geographic, etc. Morey, Post, and Friedman briefly discussed this in a 2013 conference presentation [1]. It was also mentioned in footnote 21 of Gillam's 2004 article [2]. There is also some mention of extra work done with respect to genetic relationships in ISO 639-5, which is not the current release as of this writing.

  • Links: Link 1 · Link 2
  • Applies to: ISO 639 , ISO 639-3 , ISO 639-3 Collective Language Types , ISO 639-3



PsychLing Contributors. "Genetic Language." PsychLing, OMNIKA Foundation, 18 Sep. 2023, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.


PsychLing (2023, September 18). Genetic Language. Retrieved from

CMS 16

PsychLing Contributors. "Genetic Language." Las Vegas, NV: OMNIKA Foundation. Created September 18, 2023. Modified September 20, 2023. Accessed December 10, 2023.


APA Dictionary

APA Contributors. "APA Dictionary of Psychology." Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Accessed September 14, 2023. [Visit]


Crystal, David, ed. A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. 6ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2011.

ISO 639-3

SIL International Contributors. "ISO 639-3 Registration Authority: International Standard for Language Codes." Dallas, TX: SIL International. Accessed July 28, 2023. [Visit]

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