Language, the way we communicate with each other is always evolving. Some languages are at risk of becoming extinct due to fewer people speaking them. Some languages, from ancient times still endure, earning the title of oldest languages still spoken.
Hebrew: A Roller Coaster Ride through Time
Hebrew has had a roller coaster ride over the centuries. Over 3,000 years old, it was first used by religious leaders, eventually becoming the everyday language, and almost became a dead language. The rise of Zionism breathed life back into the language and it is now the official language of Israel.
Sanskrit: The Ancient Language with Lingering Influence
Sanskrit also dates back over 3,000 years and rose from religion. Today, it is spoken mainly by Hindu priests during ceremonies. While few people speak it today, its influence on other languages like English, French, Portuguese, and many other European languages can be seen.
Tamil: An Ancient Language Thriving in Modern Times
Dating back to 300 BCE, Tamil is spoken by approximately 80 million today in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India.
Greek: A Language Steeped in History
Greek, has been around since 1300 BCE, evolving over time. Socrates spoke one of the oldest forms of Greek, the Attic dialect, though this may be hard for Greek speakers today to understand.
Arabic: Language of Islam and Cultural Identity
Arabic, dating back to the eighth century BCE, is the primary language of an estimated 371 million people. Religion can be credited for its endurance as it is the main language of Islam.
Chinese: A Language of Enduring Variations
Chinese dates back to 1123 BCE and is a language of many variations based on the regions where people settled. While some of these variations are extinct or endangered, the Chinese language endures. Mandarin Chinese is the official dialect of China, while there are a few other major dialects in use today.
Latin: The Language of Foundations
Latin dates back to 750 BCE and has evolved over time. It is the foundation of the Romance languages, and while no longer spoken as a lingua franca, it has survived the centuries, partly due to its use in science.
Euskera: A Unique Language in Western Europe
Euskera is spoken today in the Basque Country by approximately 700,000 people. It is considered one of the oldest languages in Western Europe and has the unique distinction of not being related to any other current language.
Language, its evolution, and its differences as you traverse regions are fascinating.
To read more please visit What’s The Oldest Language Still Spoken Today? | IFLScience.