What is the Oldest Language in the World - The Spanish Group (2024)

What is the Oldest Language in the World - The Spanish Group (1)

Imagine living in a world without verbal or written communication; doesn't it sound odd? Places, where people would congregate and discuss lively events of the community, would be silent eerie dens.

We rely heavily on verbal and non-verbal communication to pass information across, and that is why we have thousands of languages globally. There are over 7,000 languages in the world, and there are more languages in the making; it is a never-ending cycle.

With millions of business and other transactions taking place daily on a global scale, the need for translation agencies to work on legal documents is on the rise. From courthouses to offices, official translation services provideaccurate translationsthat are in tune with the jargon and without grammatical errors that alter the message's meaning.

Before the world needed translation services, could there have been a time on the earth that we all spoke one language? If so, what is the oldest language in the world? The answer to this is a little detailed; hence, we will cover this in the section below:

The World's Language History

So what was the first language? Discovering the first language that people spoke is difficult because so many languages died and were considered lost in history. However, ancient languages still survive until today; these languages may have morphed a little, but their origins are traceable.

Written languages existed as far as the Sumerian and the Egyptian civilizations, but this does not denote how long people spoke those recorded languages. In fact, in terms of other written languages, the Chinese and Greek records indicate that they existed as far back as 1500BC.

Written languages aside, there are spoken languages that have survived the sands of time. In the next section, we look at the oldest languages in the world and the little history behind them.

The Sanskrit v. Tamil

There was a fierce debate online as to whether Sanskrit or Tamil was the first language spoken. People went into a frenzy trying to answer the questions: What was the first language ever spoken? How old is Sanskrit? As far as the world knew, Sanskrit stood as the first spoken language because it dated as back as 5000 BC. New information indicates that although Sanskrit is among the oldest spoken languages, Tamil dates back further.

Tamil dates as far back as 350 BC—works like the 'Tholkappiyam,' an ancient poem, stand as evidence. Many language experts believe that the 5,000-year-old language might be the mother of all languages as it influenced other languages like Latin and Greek.

Tamil, unlike Sanskrit, is still spoken by over 70 million people worldwide. In 2011, Indian reports estimated that there were over 2.3 million speakers of Sanskrit, but only around 20,000 used it as a first language. By now, these numbers have increased, as there are efforts from governments globally looking to revive the language.

Therefore, to answer: what was the first language on earth? Or What is the oldest language? Recent evidence points to Tamil.

Surviving the 21st century

1. The Roman Originals
Another old language is Latin, which is synonymous with the Roman religion and the great Roman Empire. So, how old is Latin? It can be traced as far back as 75 BC, and in as much as it is an old language, it is not the correct answer to the question, What was the first language spoken?

Over the centuries, its influence has permeated other languages like French and Spanish. Many consider the language dead; however, there are hundreds of Latin speakers across the world. Hopefully, more effort will be directed to reviving Latin as well as other dying languages.

2. Risen From the Dead
While Hebrew now stands as the official language of Israel, there was a time in history when people stopped using it as their daily language. After the Second World War, the need to revive the 3,000-year-old language was evident because Zionism was on the rise. The government reinstated Hebrew as a literary language, and so far, it has over 9 million speakers within Israel and millions more globally.

3. Ancient Coptic Egyptian
The Coptic Egyptian language is an old language that is dying, but a few speakers keep it alive. This language was first spoken in ancient Egypt, and experts believe it is about 5,000 years old.

The Afroasiatic language, whose decline began with the Islamic conquest of Egypt, is now typically used in churches. Fewer people speak Coptic Egyptian since literary Arabic is the national language of the country.

4. The Language of Philosophers
With over 13 million speakers today, people worldwide identify Greek as the language of scholars and philosophers. This language has been around since 1500 BC, and it has the highest number of written records spanning over 3,500 years. The language is acknowledged as amongst the oldest languages in Europe, as it is native to Greece, the Black Sea, Albania, Cyprus, and the eastern Mediterranean region.

5. Mandarin Chinese
Apart from English, Mandarin is the most spoken language globally, with over 918 million native speakers as of 2020. Experts traced the roots of this language and discovered it dates from 1250 BC thanks to inscriptions found on oracle bones. Mandarin is increasingly popular worldwide as more people study it daily, raising the number of global speakers to billions.

6. Quran's Official Language
Arabic is recognized as one of the official UN languages and over 1.8 billion Muslims use it as a liturgical language worldwide. According to language experts, the language was present as far as 512 CE, and because it is the official language of the Quran, it has no signs of extinction any time soon. There are estimated 25-Arab speaking countries globally, but not all use it as a primary language.

Online Translations Services Save the Day

Are you looking to translate the world's first language? Finding a translator in person might be a lot of work, depending on where you reside. Instead of getting frustrated, you can seek the help of reliable online translation services where it is easy to access a foreign language translator familiar with the language that needs translation.

Online translation services offer a decent rate that permits you to translate hundreds of legal documents without breaking the bank. These translation services are crucial as a simple mistake in legal documents can result in major consequences like business deals gone wrong or creating mass confusion.

To avoid any unnecessary headaches, find a reliable translation service and let business carry on as usual.

What is the Oldest Language in the World - The Spanish Group (2024)


Which is 1 oldest language? ›

Sanskrit (5000 years old) - World's Oldest Language

Source Unlike Tamil, which is still a widely spoken language, Sanskrit is the oldest language in the world but fell out of common usage around 600 B.C. It is now a liturgical language - the holy languages found in the scriptures of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Which language is older Spanish or Latin? ›

The language known today as Spanish is derived from spoken Latin, which was brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Romans after their occupation of the peninsula that started in the late 3rd century BC.

What are the 3 oldest languages? ›

Historians and linguists generally agree that Sumerian, Akkadian and Egyptian are the oldest languages with a clear written record. All three are extinct, meaning they are no longer used and do not have any living descendants that can carry the language to the next generation.

Which is the first language in the world? ›

As far as the world knew, Sanskrit stood as the first spoken language because it dated as back as 5000 BC. New information indicates that although Sanskrit is among the oldest spoken languages, Tamil dates back further. Tamil dates as far back as 350 BC—works like the 'Tholkappiyam,' an ancient poem, stand as evidence.

What language did Adam and Eve speak? ›

Traditional Jewish exegesis such as Midrash says that Adam spoke the Hebrew language because the names he gives Eve – Isha and Chava – only make sense in Hebrew. By contrast, Kabbalism assumed an "eternal Torah" which was not identical to the Torah written in Hebrew.

Who is the mother of all languages? ›

In the beginning, Sanskrit stood as mother of all languages and encouraged all languages and was the reason for their growth and prosperity.

Is Spanish or Portuguese older? ›

The Spanish language, a sort of older sibling to Portuguese, developed from Latin first. Portuguese then evolved from the Galician-Portuguese dialect of Spanish in the 1100's and became a separate tongue. Portuguese explorers and colonizers carried their language to other parts of the world beginning in the 1400's.

How old is Spanish as a language? ›

The oldest Latin texts with traces of Spanish come from mid-northern Iberia in the 9th century, and the first systematic written use of the language happened in Toledo, a prominent city of the Kingdom of Castile, in the 13th century.

Did Spanish or Italian come first? ›

Italian and Spanish are sister languages with roots in Latin, thus they appeared at about the same time. Languages in general are continuosly evolving and they do not have a specific date of creation. It is not possible to say in a precise way which language is older.

What language did Jesus speak? ›

Aramaic is best known as the language Jesus spoke. It is a Semitic language originating in the middle Euphrates. In 800-600 BC it spread from there to Syria and Mesopotamia.

What is the hardest language to learn? ›

1. Mandarin Chinese. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. Mandarin Chinese is challenging for a number of reasons.

What is the oldest advanced language? ›

Sumerian: one of the earliest known written languages, dating back to the 4th millennium BCE in the region of Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). The language was used by the Sumerian people, who were one of the first civilizations to develop a system of writing.

What's the oldest language still spoken? ›

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.

What is the first language in history? ›

Sumerian language, language isolate and the oldest written language in existence. First attested about 3100 bce in southern Mesopotamia, it flourished during the 3rd millennium bce.

Which is the 5 oldest language in the world? ›

The 10 Oldest Languages still spoken in the World Today
  • Tamil. ...
  • Arabic. ...
  • Farsi/ Persian. ...
  • Greek. Year: the earliest written evidence dates back to 1450-1350 BCE. ...
  • Chinese. Year: 1250 BCE. ...
  • Lithuanian. Year: Assumed to be 1500 AD. ...
  • Icelandic. Year: oldest preserved texts were written around 1100 AD. ...
  • Irish Gaelic. Year: 4 Century AD.
Jan 11, 2019

What was the first first language? ›

The most widespread theory proposes the proto-sapiens language as the first language spoken by humankind and from which all other languages were derived.

Which is the 4 oldest language in the world? ›

Survival of the fittest: 10 oldest languages in the world
  • Chinese (6,000 years old) ...
  • Sanskrit (4,000 years old) ...
  • Egyptian (4,000 years old) ...
  • Sumerian (3,200 years old) ...
  • Hebrew (3,000 years old) ...
  • Greek (3,000 years old) ...
  • Farsi (3,000 years old) ...
  • Tamil (2,300 years old)
May 10, 2024

Is Tamil or Sanskrit older? ›

Tamil is an older language than Sanskrit. Records of the Tamil language date to the third century BCE and records of the Sanskrit language date to the second century BCE. Tamil is still in everyday use today, but Sanskrit died out around 600 BCE and is used for mainly religious and literature purposes today.

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