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The Ancient Languages That Have Endured the Test of Time

The World's Oldest Languages Still in Use Today

By Abdul Hannan SaifPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

Legend has it that the world used to speak a single language and everyone understood each other. But when the people of the world decided to wreck the Tower of Babel, it was struck down by the heavens. As a result, the nations of the world were divided by different languages. Today, there are close to 7,000 languages spoken in the world, and many of the modern languages that we know of have splintered from older languages because of varying cultures, conquests, and invasions. However, they haven't all changed. In this article, we'll count down the 7 oldest languages in the world that are still being used today and have, in more ways than one, influenced the modern languages we use around the world.

7. Finnish

Finnish has a history that stretches back earlier than the 16th century. A member of the Finno-Ugric language family, Finnish, together with Estonian and Hungarian, shares common traits that include long words that were adopted into the language as is all borrowing from Germanic and Gothic languages. Finnish has retained meaning of these long words to this day while many Germanic languages have evolved and done away with old words. Finnish, however, over the centuries, has managed to survive and preserve other older languages by simulating them into its own.

6. Georgian

Georgian is the only Caucasian language with an ancient literary tradition. Since the Caucasus region, composed of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, is a goldmine for linguists, Georgian has lured historians and scholars alike due to its unique and elegant alphabet that predates Latin. The language has been in use since the 3rd century AD.

5. Farsi

Also known as Persian, Farsi is a language less widely spoken in modern-day Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. The language is a direct descendant of the old Persian language of its once-mighty empire, taking form at around 800 AD. Farsi remains relatively unchanged, saying still carries meaning of its grammar and syntax to this day. Even more remarkable is that speakers of modern-day Persian can still read a piece of writing from around 900 AD with considerably less difficulty than an English speaker reading text from the 14th or 15th century, or even Shakespeare.

4. Basque

Basque is a linguistic mystery. It is only spoken by a handful of people in the region known as Basque, near the borders of Spain and France. While it is a language unlike any other that's similar to Georgian, it is completely unrelated to any language, most especially Romance languages to which French and Spanish belong. Linguists and language experts have thought of several theories about the language's origin, but can't even come close to a glimmer of an answer. What is known is that Basque existed long before the Romans arrived in the region with Latin, which would eventually evolve and develop into French and Spanish.

3. Hebrew

Hebrew is a special case, but is nonetheless one of the oldest languages in this list. At around 400 AD, the language actually fell out of use and was only employed and preserved as a liturgical language for Jews across the world. However, around the 19th and 20th century, along with the Zionist movement, the language was revived and restored as the official language of Israel.

2. Tamil

Tamil is one of the oldest languages in the world, with a history that stretches back thousands of years. It is also one of the few classical languages that are still in use today. Tamil is the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and is spoken by millions of people in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Malaysia.

1. Sanskrit

Sanskrit is considered the mother of all Indian languages, including Hindi, Bengali, and Marathi. It is also one of the oldest languages in the world, with a history that stretches back over 3,000 years. Sanskrit is still used today in religious ceremonies, and many of its texts have been translated into various modern languages. It is also one of the official languages of India.

World HistoryModernGeneralDiscoveriesAncientAnalysis

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Abdul Hannan Saif

Blogger | Writer | Explorer | wish to inspire, inform and help others to see fascinating discoveries and live a fulfilled life!

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