If you want to learn one of the oldest languages in the world in 2022, you’d be wise to choose one of the oldest languages still spoken today.
According to an estimate, the total number of languages in the world is about 6809, out of which the number of speakers of 90 per cent of the languages is less than 100000. There are about 200 to 150 languages that are spoken by more than 1 million people. There are about 357 languages that only 50 people speak. Not only this, but there are also 46 languages whose number of speakers is only one.
But do you know which is the oldest language in the world? If you are not aware of the answer to this question then after reading this article you will know which is the oldest language in the world, because in this article we are giving the details of the oldest languages of the world according to the origin.
Oldest Languages In The World
Tamil (Sri Lanka, Singapore, India) – 300 BC
One of the official languages of Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India, Tamil is another wonderful language with a long and storied history.
For those who don’t know, Tamil is the Oldest Living Language of the World. It is a language spoken by nearly 78 million people! It is widely spoken in Sri Lanka, Singapore and India and is a part of the Dravidian language family. Likewise, it is also the official language of the state of Tamil Nadu. Inscriptions in Tamil from the 3rd century have been discovered by the researchers, which proves how ancient it is!
Sanskrit (INDIA) – 1500 BC
With its oldest texts dating back to around 1500 BCE, Sanskrit is probably the oldest language in the world still being used today. Sanskrit, though alive today, fell out of common usage back in 600 BC. Today, Sanskrit is a liturgical language found in the revered scriptures of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Rig Veda is the first written record of Sanskrit, written in the 2nd millennium BC.
Like Coptic, Sanskrit is largely used in religious texts and ceremonies that persist today, with a place in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, as well as its use in prayer and meditation, it’s also in use in modern literature and music, and in conversation through loan words that have made their way into other languages around the world.
However, Sanskrit words and phrases are also frequently used by bureaucratic institutions – from missile names to school mottos – in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and other parts of South and Southeast Asia.
Interestingly, several thousand people report Sanskrit as their first language on India’s census each time it’s performed, though it’s believed no one speaks it as their first language today.
Chinese (China, Hong Kong, Singapore)– 1250 BC
Another competitor for both oldest written language and oldest spoken language still in use today, Chinese is definitely both useful and backed by a long, rich history.
The first attested Old Chinese goes back to a set of inscriptions on oracle bones dated to roughly 1250 BCE. most spoken ancient language in the world is Chinese, which is spoken by some 1.2 billion people in the world. Belonging to the Sino-Tibetan group of languages, the language has several complex dialects. The language is widely spoken in China, Tibet, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand, among others.
Hebrew (Israel)– 1000 BC
Speaking of the Hebrew alphabet, Hebrew was first attested only around 100 years after Aramaic, in 1000 BCE, making it another member of the ‘Oldest Language Still in Use’ Club.
Hebrew is, perhaps, unique on this list as a language that ceased to be a common mother tongue for some time, but was eventually successfully revived as a living language. Hebrew was primarily used for religious texts, correspondence and communications between Jewish people who otherwise did not share a language from around the second century CE onwards.
Hebrew is among the most well-preserved languages in the world. It was the language for Jews across the world and in the 19th and 20th centuries; it went through a revival process and became the official language of Israel.
Farsi (Iran, Afghanistan) – 522 BC
While not the earliest known language in the Indo-Iranian language family, Farsi is the longest surviving spoken language of the Iranian family of languages. It takes its roots from Old Persian, which was first attested somewhere between 522 and 486 BCE.
Farsi, is spoken in modern-day Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Farsi is a language that is a direct descendant of Old Persian, and is more or less similar to Persian language.
According to the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at UNC Chapel Hill, there are roughly 70 million native Farsi speakers and 110 million speakers of the language total around the world today. There are communities of native Farsi speakers in Iran still today, but also in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – as well as in Persian diaspora communities worldwide.
Arabic (Middle East and North Africa)
Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world spoken by some 270 million people across the globe. It is an official language of 26 states today! The language originated on the Arabian Peninsula and soon reached the Middle East and North Africa.
Italian (as descendant of Latin) – 100 BC
Last, but certainly not least, we have Italian. As you may have gathered, it can be tough to determine the oldest language still in use without getting into the lineage of a language – where do you draw the line between historical and modern languages, if one begat the other?
Early Latin was used in the Roman Republic, certainly by 75 BCE, but possibly much earlier (the Roman Republic was formed in 509 BC). After some deliberation, Italian made it’s way on to the list as the most direct modern descendant of Latin – though any of the Romance languages could have made it, really.
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