Hebrew, Tamil, Persian, Basque and Georgian, are just some of the languages that have a very distant origin that even today have speakers in many corners of the planet.
We are more than accustomed to meet people who have mastered English, French, German and Spanish, and in recent times, it is also common to see many that have started learning Arabic and Chinese. According to experts, these will be the languages that will dominate the world in the coming decades.
But, have you ever met someone who speaks one of the oldest languages in the world? If you ever wanted to learn to speak a very old language, take a glimpse at this list and choose your favorite.
The Hebrew is a language that fell into disuse around the year 400 AD. But with the emergence of the Jewish community in the nineteenth century, the language began to gain importance until it came to be converted in the official language of Israel.
Although the modern Hebrew version is quite different from the biblical version, Hebrew speakers can understand and interpret all the Old Testament texts of the Bible.
Although little known in the West, Tamil currently has about 798 million speakers, mostly from Sri Lanka and Singapore. Another outstanding curiosity about Tamil is that, moreover, it is the only classical language that survived into the modern world.
Linguistic experts have confirmed that Lithuanian is one of the Indo-European languages (equal to English, German, Italian) that are least distant from their Indo-European roots, and is considered one of the most archaic Indo-European languages.
Persian is spoken today in some Middle Eastern countries such as Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
The Persian is the most significant of the Iranian branch, sub-family of Indo-Iranian languages, that belong to the Indo-European set. It is the language of Iran (formerly Persia), also spoken in Afghanistan and, in its archaic form, in Tajikistan and the Pamir region.
The modern Persian (or Iranian) employs the Arabic alphabet and has a rich and extensive literature.
It is another Indo-European language that has been practically intact from its roots to the present day. The Icelandic concretely proceeds from the Germanic branch of Indo-European, but it’s remained virtually unchanged since the time of the ancient Norse settlers.
It is the language that is most closely linked with the ancient and Slavic religion of Macedonia. It currently has over 2 million speakers, mainly from the Republic of Macedonia as well as Europe, North America and Australia. It’s written with characters from the Cyrillic alphabet.
Spain also has one of the oldest languages in the world, Basque or Euskera in the local language. It is a language completely isolated from any other language in the world, the only thing we know about it is that it was spoken in the Basque Country and in the south of France even before the arrival of the Romance languages.
It is said that the official language of Finland is one of the oldest in the world that was only an oral language until the medieval ages. It contains many words borrowed from languages such as the Finno-Ugric languages.
Georgian is the largest Kartvelian language and the only Caucasian language with an ancient literary tradition. Its beautiful and singular alphabet is also very ancient, and it is believed to be an adaptation of the ancient Aramaic of the third century AD.
You would be surprised to know how many Irish people still continue to study and learn Irish Gaelic. It is currently one of the compulsory subjects in Irish schools.
It is a language derived from the Celtic language branch, which was spoken throughout present-day Britain before these islands fell into the hands of the Germanic empire. In addition, Irish Gaelic has the oldest vernacular literature of all the languages of Western Europe.
Japanese is a bilingual language spoken by more than 120 million people living in Japan and more than 400 million people spread around the world. There are similarities in the lexicon with the languages of East Asia, such as Tibetan-Burmese and Austro-Asiatic.
The Japanese language has been heavily influenced by the Chinese language for a period of at least 1,500 years. Much of their vocabulary was imported from the Chinese language or created based on Chinese models. Their grammar is similar to that of the Korean language and there are indications that they are correlated.
What is usually called the Chinese language is, in fact, a linguistic family that belongs to the Sino-Tibetan linguistic trunk.
The transliteration of the Chinese characters for the languages that use the Latin alphabet can be done with the Wade-Giles system, created by two American missionaries.
The Chinese language presents a great variety of dialects, the difference being so great that many are incomprehensible to each other:
- Mandarin, considered the official language of the Beijing region and, theoretically, spoken throughout China, including Taiwan (also being spoken in Singapore);
- Cantonese, spoken in Canton, Hong Kong, Macao and southeast;
Hindi is an Indo-Aryan language, derived from Sanskrit and spoken by 70% of Indians, mainly in north, central and western India. It is part of a dialectal continuity of the Indo-Aryan family strongly associated with the Hindu religion.
The Hindi is one of the official languages of India at the federal level. The Indian Constitution further states that the Hindi should be written with the alphabet devanagari. Among the various official languages of India, the Hindi enjoys, along with English, more prestige within Indian society.