Humans used to communicate through hand gestures and rudimentary spoken noises before civilizations, kingdoms, and social standards were established. Language is what has moved the human race ahead and carried us to this point. Though the genesis of the first language is a passionately debated topic all across the world, some ancient texts and cave drawings show some of the world’s earliest languages.
The language dates back around 150,000 years. All linguistic evidence, however, dates back to roughly 6000 years ago, when writing originated. As a result, the primary history of language is revealed through educated assumptions and written evidence that is considerably newer than the era studied by linguists.
Earlier hominids may have had a language with a more limited range of consonants and vowels, and alterations in the vocal tract may have just made speaking quicker and more expressive. Some experts even argue that language started as sign language and subsequently (gradually or abruptly) transitioned to vocal mode, leaving the current gestures as a relic.
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Language is what propelled the human race forward and brought us to where we are now. Though the origin of the first language is hotly discussed across the world, some ancient texts and cave drawings show some of the world’s earliest languages.
Around 7,000 languages are currently spoken around the world. While some are ancient, many are modern languages that arose from older roots. Human language can be traced back to ancient times and has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years.
|1. Egyptian: 2690 BC – Present (circa. 4700 years old)||2. Sanskrit: 1500 BC – Present (circa. 3500 years old)||3. Greek: 1450 BC – Present (circa. 3500 years old)|
|4. Chinese: 1250 BC – Present (circa. 3300 years old)||5. Hebrew: 1000 BC–200 CE, 1800 – Present (circa. 3000 years old)||6. Tamil: 300 BC – Present (circa. 2300 years old)|
|Bonous- Aramaic: 1100 BC – Present (circa. 3100 years old)||Bonous- Farsi: 522 BC – Present (circa. 2500 years old)||Bonous- Korean: no later than 57 BC – Present (circa. 2100 years old)|
|Bonous- Italian: as a descendent of Latin, 100 BC – Present (circa. 2100 years old)||Bonous- Arabic: roughly 100 CE – Present (circa. 1900 years old)|
In this post, will look at the earliest languages and learn about their histories! Keep in mind that these are the languages that have survived the test of time and are still spoken and used today, therefore it may not contain a comprehensive list of the world’s oldest languages. Here’s a look at some of the most interesting old languages, some of which may have changed in many ways yet still capture the human mind!
Egypt is regarded as one of the world’s oldest civilizations, and the oldest indigenous language in Egypt is Coptic, dating back around 4,700 years. It is Egypt’s earliest known language. The earliest complete phrase in Egyptian dates from 2690 BCE. Autobiographical inscriptions discovered on Egyptian tomb walls were thought to have been composed between 2600 BC and 2000 BC.
Coptic was Egypt’s most widely used language until the late 17th century AD, after which it was superseded by Egyptian Arabic after the Muslim invasion. Coptic is still used as the liturgical language of the Coptic Church in Egypt. Nowadays, barely a few people are knowledgeable about the language.
Linguists believed Sanskrit had a significant impact on various European languages, including Farsi. They also claim that the language originated in Tamil. Sanskrit, which is 3,500 years old (some estimate 6,000), was the language of the classics in India. In contrast to Tamil, which is still commonly used today, Sanskrit began to fade around 1500 B.C. It is now a liturgical language, as well as a holy language found in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain literature. The oldest written record of Sanskrit is the Rigveda, a series of ancient Sanskrit hymns produced in the early second millennium B.C.
The Greek language is significant in history because of its rich literature, which includes epic works such as the Iliad and Odyssey.
The Greek language is historical and had an important part in the evolution of Indo-European languages. The epic poems Odyssey and Iliad were originally composed in Greek. Many key publications in Western philosophy, such as Aristotle’s and Plato’s works, logic and mathematics, astronomy, and other disciplines of science, were initially written in Greek. The Christian Bible’s rendition of the New Testament was written in Koiné Greek.
Modern Greek is the national language of Cyprus and Greece, as well as one of the European Union’s official languages. It is also an official language of the European Union and the major language of Greek populations worldwide, as well as Turkey, Albania, and Italy.
When it comes to old and useful languages, Chinese has to be at the top of the list. The parent of all present varieties of Chinese is Old Chinese, the oldest recorded stage of Chinese. The oldest traces of Chinese are divinatory writings on oracle bones from the late Shang period, circa 1250 BC. Chinese is spoken by around 1.2 billion people worldwide. Chinese is a member of the Sino-Tibetan language family. There are several dialects of the language. The hieroglyphs may be dated back to the 16th – 11th centuries BC Shang Dynasty. However, the written form was recently reduced for ease of comprehension in 1956.
The language dates back over 3,000 years. The intriguing aspect of Hebrew is that it ceased to be a widely spoken language between 200 and 400 AD. It was then adopted as the language of Jewish ritual, rabbinic literature, and poetry throughout the mediaeval period. With the emergence of Zionism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Hebrew had a renaissance and became the official language of Israel. Despite differences between the Biblical and Modern Hebrew versions, natural language speakers may fully grasp what is stated in the older writings. In many respects, modern Hebrew is influenced by other Jewish languages.
Tamil is the world’s oldest language, with 78 million speakers, and is the state language of Sri Lanka and Singapore. By appearance order, the Tamil language (part of the Dravidian language family) is the world’s oldest living language, dating back almost 2300 years, with its earliest grammar book appearing around 300 BC. This Dravidian language is likely the world’s oldest surviving language, as well as the oldest written language.
The literary collection in Tamil, a classical language, is quite large. Tamil literature and script are very diverse. Tamil is the oldest modern language, and it is still very much a living language, with hundreds of newspapers produced in it. Also Read: Interpreter vs Translator!
It is difficult to identify which languages are the most ancient. Several linguists bemoan the scarcity of data to draw firm judgments. Finding the one language that outdates them all may appear to be an endless search. But understanding more about the origins of human language is enthralling!
We believe it is past time for researchers to reveal the greatest solution here! Since the invention of the first language, many other languages have emerged. Many of them have perished with the passage of time and can only be traced in folklore; others have survived and are still used in various parts of the world.