According to the latest (2018) data from Ethnologue, there are 7,099 living languages today in the world. The number of living languages is, however, decreasing as the years pass; this is because many languages are declared extinct each year as the native speakers die. Curious to know about endangered languages? Have a look at this one – click here
Languages can be said to be as old as humanity. It is difficult to say which the oldest languages are as there might have been many languages without a script, leaving no traces behind. It won’t be wrong to say that languages are carried forward as legacies from generations to generations. They certainly evolve with humans and die with them. Preserving languages can be done by teaching them to your next generations and promoting it as much as possible. Technically, the languages created by our ancestors, only the recorded ones, are considered as the ancient languages – some still spoken, some endangered and rest extinct.
Here are the 6 oldest languages in the world, of which you probably speak or hear people around you speak even TODAY. Don’t be surprised to see how some of these languages are still surviving!
- A 3000 years old language, which was stopped being used around 400 CE, but it still survives and is not even close to being endangered. It was preserved and used by Jews around the world as a liturgical language and is the official language of Israel.
- Basque is believed to be one of the oldest Western European languages. Not even close to being a romantic language, it is one of its kind, isolated languages in the world. Currently spoken in some parts of France and Spain.
- Yes, Tamil is one of the 8 oldest languages in the world. It is 2,200 years old and belongs to the Dravidian language family (Southern India). Some inscriptions in Tamil were discovered by researchers that were from the 3rd century BCE. It is spoken in Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and India.
- The first traces found of Lithuanian were in the 16th century. It belongs to the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. Lithuanian has a lot in common with Greek, Latin and Sanskrit. It is spoken in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and has about 3 million speakers from these countries.
- Farsi, also known as Persian, was spoken in the Persian Empire. The modern form of Farsi came into being about 800 CE. It has changed much over the decades and can be still read by the modern speakers. The language is spoken in modern-day Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Iran and some other places.
- Just like Lithuanian, Icelandic retained many of the features of the Indo European languages. The oldest preserved Icelandic texts date back to 1100 CE. Icelandic has about 314,000 speakers today from some areas in the United States, Canada and Denmark..
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