The world has different languages. These languages have a rich history. Almost 40% of these languages are on the verge of extiction. Among all these extinct languages, we bring you the list of the top 10 oldest languages in the world.
Humans speak different languages. The spoken languages change in each region of the world. There are almost 7,151 spoken languages in the world. Some date back to the early centuries when humans were evolving into societies.
In this article, we will learn about the world’s top 10 oldest languages.
So, let’s get started!
This is the oldest language in the world. The Egyptian language dates back to 2690 BC, 4,700 years ago. It was a proto-language in the African continent. The Egyptian language originates from Nigeria.
- This language is also considered the origin of the Arabic language.
- The Egyptian language is now known as Coptic.
- Almost 56 million people speak this language.
- The Egyptian language has gone through five stages. Old Egyptian, Middle Egyptian, late Egyptian, the Demotic phase, and the Coptic phase.
It is the second oldest language in the world. South Asian people mostly use this ancient Indo-European language. Sanskrit dates back to over 1500 BC, which is 3,500 years old. You can still find people who speak, write and understand this language.
- Sanskrit is mostly used in religious texts and ceremonies. It is used in the religions in India, which are: Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.
- The pre-classical scripture of Sanskrit is in the Vedas and Upanishads.
- It is said to be the primary language of India till around 600 BC.
- Currently, almost 7,000 people claim to speak Sanskrit as their first language.
It is ranked as the third oldest language in the world but could be the first language that people speak daily. The Greek language dates back to 1450 BC, 3,500 years ago. The modern version of this language has evolved a lot throughout the years.
- It belongs to the Hellenic branch of an Indo-European language.
- The first written evidence of this language was in Mycenae. The script was known as Linear B.
- Homer was a legendary author who wrote the Odyssey. It is considered the basis of Greek education and evidence of the ancient Greek language.
- Almost 13.5 million people speak the Greek language in Greece and Cyprus.
It is also one of the world’s oldest and currently spoken languages. The Chinese language dates back to 1250 BC, 3,300 years ago. It has a rich history of religion and culture.
- Chinese is also known as the Sinitic language.
- This language has several dialects, also considered separate languages by Chinese officials.
- The modern Chinese language is one of the six official languages in the United States.
- 1.1 billion people speak this language.
This language dates back to 1100 BC, 3,100 years ago. The people in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria don’t accept this language to be on the list of the oldest languages.
- The Aramaic language has Ugaritic, Phoenician, Hebrew, and other Canaanite dialects.
- It originates in northern Syria and Mesopotamia.
- It has the Hebrew and Arabic alphabet.
- Almost 8 to 10 lakh people speak this language.
It dates back to 1000 BC, 3,000 years ago. The Hebrew language has been a mother tongue for a long time. Now, it is alive in the regional languages. Jewish people used the language for communication and religious texts.
- Hebrew is considered the ‘holy’ language which people mostly use for prayers.
- The United States has the second largest population of Hebrew-speaking people.
- The alphabet in this language are written right to left, whereas the numbers are written left to right.
- Almost 5 million people speak Hebrew as their first language.
It is one of the oldest languages in the Indo-Iranian family. The Farsi language dates back to 522 BC, 2,500 years ago.
- Farsi is also known as the Persian language.
- People from Iran, Afghanistan, and East India mostly speak this language.
- The Farsi language is considered the cursive form of the Arabic language.
- Almost 70 million people speak Farsi as their native language.
It is also known as the ancient language. The Tamil language dates back to 300 BC, 2,300 years ago. It originated in the southern part of India.
- Tamil is the official language of Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the state in India, Tamilnadu.
- It is said to be a descendant of the proto-Dravidian language.
- You can find its traces in literature and carvings in the caves.
- Almost 75 million people still speak the Tamil language.
It is currently the most popular language among the younger generation. The Korean language dates back to around 57 BC, 2,100 years ago.
- It is a primary language in South Korea and North Korea. They both have different dialects.
- The oldest Korean writing system was known as Hanja. The Chinese characters were the base of it.
- In the 15th century, people first used the Hangul phonetic alphabets.
- Almost 77 million people speak this language.
It is one of the oldest and most romantic languages in the world. The Italian language dates back to 100 BC, 2,100 years ago.
- It is considered derived from the vulgar Latin the Romans spoke.
- The Italian language is a part of the romance branch of the Indo-European language family.
- People in 29 countries still speak this language.
- Over 67 million people speak this language as their native language.
- There are only 23 languages that occupy most of the world’s population.
- Arabic is also considered one of the oldest languages.
- All these languages are still alive in one way or another.
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Q1. How did English emerge?
Answer: English emerged from the dialects and vocabulary of Germanic people.
Q2. Which is the top language in the world?
Answer: English is considered the top language in the world, with over 1,132 million speakers.
Q3. Is Tamil taught in China?
Answer: Tamil has been a part of the Chinese education system since 1959.