We are pleased to announce the release of PHOIBLE Online, a repository of cross-linguistic phonological inventory data:

The 2014 edition includes 2155 segment inventories that contain 2160 segment types found in 1672 distinct languages. These inventories have been extracted from source documents and tertiary databases and compiled into a single searchable convenience sample. The combined data set includes additional genealogical and geographical information about each language from the Glottolog (Hammarström et al 2014). A bibliographic record is provided for each source document.

Two principles guide the development of PHOIBLE:

- Be faithful to the language description in the source document
- Encode all character data in a consistent representation in Unicode IPA

In addition to phoneme inventories, PHOIBLE includes distinctive feature data for every phoneme in every language in the sample. The feature system used was created by the PHOIBLE developers to be descriptively adequate cross-linguistically; the system is loosely based on the feature system in Hayes 2009 with some additions drawn from Moisik & Esling 2011.

For a detailed description of PHOIBLE, see Moran 2012a:

For a brief overview, see the 10-page dissertation abstract:

For examples of some of the research we are doing with PHOIBLE, see Cysouw et al 2012, Moran 2012b, Moran et al 2012, McCloy et al 2013, and Moran & Blasi forthcoming.


Cysouw, Michael, Dediu, Dan and Moran, Steven. 2012. Still No Evidence for an Ancient Language Expansion From Africa. Science, 335, 657–b. Online:

Hammarström, Harald, Forkel, Robert, Haspelmath, Martin and Nordhoff, Sebastian. Glottolog 2.3. Online:

Hayes, Bruce. 2009. Introductory Phonology. Wiley-Blackwell.

McCloy, Daniel R., Moran, Steven and Wright, Richard. 2013. Revisiting 'The role of features in phonological inventories'. Paper presented at the CUNY Conference on the Feature in Phonology and Phonetics, January 16-18. New York, NY.

Moisik, Scott R. and Esling, John H. 2011. The 'Whole Larynx' Approach to Laryngeal Features. In Proceedings of the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS XVII), 1406-1409.

Moran, Steven. 2012a. Phonetics Information Base and Lexicon. PhD thesis, University of Washington.

Moran, Steven. 2012b. Using Linked Data to Create a Typological Knowledge Base. In Linked Data in Linguistics: Representing and Connecting Language Data and Language Metadata, Christian Chiarcos, Sebastian Nordhoff and Sebastian Hellmann (eds). Springer, Heidelberg.

Moran, Steven, McCloy, Daniel R. and Wright, Richard. 2012. Revisiting Population Size vs. Phoneme Inventory Size. Language, 88(4): 877–893.

Moran, Steven and Blasi, Damián. Forthcoming. Cross-linguistic Comparison of Complexity measures in Phonological Systems. In Frederick J. Newmeyer and Laurel Preston (eds), Measuring Grammatical Complexity.

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