Currently, there are about 7,000 languages spoken around the globe. All of them belong to distinct language categories whose origins date back several years ago. Researchers are still trying to figure out the oldest one. That notwithstanding, the earliest written languages recorded are cuneiform scripts discovered in Mesopotamia believed to have been written on the 8th millennium BC. Read more about languages at Document and Website Translation – LUNA360.com.
Oldest languages in the world
Hebrew despite falling out of widespread usage about 400 CE and was subsequently reserved as Jews’ Liturgical language across the world. However, following the rise of Zionism around nineteenth and twentieth century’s, the language was revived and accorded the status of official language in Israel. So, even though the modern version is quite different from the biblical one, speakers fully understand writings in the old version.
The Basque language poses the best linguistic mystery. Spoken natively by a section of Basque people in France and Spain, the language is entirely unrelated to any other Romance language or even any other language anywhere in the world. French and Spanish are related to Romance. Linguists, over the years, have tried unsuccessfully to associate the language with other languages. All the theories have failed for one reason or another. One thing is for sure, though: the Basque language existed in the region way before the emergence of Romance languages.
Tamil is spoken by over 78 million people. Besides being the official language in Singapore and Sri Lanka, Tamil takes the prize as the only language to have survived to the present world. It forms part of the Dravidian language that comprises certain native eastern and southern Indian languages. Tamil is widely spoken in Tamil Nadu besides being among the official languages in India. Some of the oldest recorded inscriptions in Tamil date back to the third century BC.
Unlike other ancient languages that are still spoken to date, Sanskrit fell out of widespread usage way back in 6000BC and is currently merely a liturgical language. Manuscripts in this language were found in some of the scriptures of Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism, making it one of the oldest languages on earth. The first ever written record of the language is available in Rigveda, an assortment of hymns in Vedic Sanskrit, believed to have been written around second millennium BC. According to researches, this ancient language forms the basis for several European languages besides still being considered one of the official languages in India.
With about 16 percent of all the people on earth speaking one form of Chinese, it is undoubtedly the most widely spoken language all over the world. It dates back to more than 3,000 years ago. While Old Chinese (the oldest form of the language) fell out of us a while ago, many dialects have emerged from it. Examples of dialects that have branched out of Old Chinese include Cantonese, Mandarin, Wu, Yue, and Min. While all these dialects are still spoken in one part or another, Cantonese and Mandarin, in particular, are the most extensively spoken variations.
The above oldest languages are opulent with history and culture. The importance of these languages cannot be overemphasized. This is particularly the case because, with the arrival of technology and globalization, people who can speak more than one language are a step ahead of those who can only speak one language.