The oldest language


April 9, 2008
Blog Entry

Linguists debate whether all languages are descended from a common ancestor. This can’t be completely true, since many sign languages have been invented out of whole cloth in modern time (Nicaraguan sign is a famous example), as was, to a meaningful extent, Hawaiian Pidgin.

However, students of history know from the ancient Greek historian Herodotus that Phrygian is the first language. According to his writings, an Egyptian king by the name of Psammetichus ordered that two children “of the ordinary sort” be raised in an isolated cabin without exposure to language. At the age of two or so, the children began to speak Phrygian, which was taken as proof that Phrygian, not Egyptian, is the world’s earliest language.

This study is a great example of why experiments need to be replicated before they are taken too seriously.


2,593 Responses to The oldest language

  1. hariharan March 3, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    I’m sure that tamil is the world language and 40000 years old . It is not a funny . B
    ecoz it is the language which contains more ‘one letter word’ . The pre-historic people only spoke ‘one letter word’.also lemurian continent and africa were joined in 50000 years were tamil was spoken

  2. woot December 7, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    I am an identical twin. When my brother and I were little, we developed our own language — not uncommon for twins whether identical or fraternal. We continued to use our language even as we were learning English from our peers and parents. As English predominated, we lost the need and desire to babble amongst ourselves only, as in order to get along with the rest of the world, we needed to speak their language. However, we never lost our use of our own language between us. Even today, decades later, we still use a few of our own terms and phrases when talking about things, of course, not to strangers but just to ourselves.

  3. Alexander F. October 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    When you want to determine what the oldest language is, it really depends whether the age of the language is measured in terms of either the first language spoken by humans or the first language that also had a fully developed writing system.

    If you are searching for the oldest language in terms of the oldest spoken language, then you would want to start of your search on the African continent, the birth-place of humans.

    If you are looking for the oldest language in terms of evidence in written form, then you might want to consider Sumerian.

    It is important to determine whether you think a language without a writing system to be an official language or not. As an example, it is said that Albanian has been spoken for probably a few thousand years, however its writing system has only been in use for about 500 years today.

    Check out http://www.language-united.com/oldest-language.html if you want to know more concerning this topic.

  4. Poor people and Poverty October 19, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    desh ko aage badaane mein competition ho raha hai ya lootne mein? mujhe nahi lagta india kabhi sudhregi..sirf 15th, august ya.. 2nd october jaise dino mein hi “me an indian” waali hoti hai phir baad mein to struggle likha hai logon ki zindagi mein..agar isi tarha aage bhi desh ko lootne mein politicians rahe to bas gaye kaam se. kuch nahi kehna..ek politician ko desh ki gharib log aur unke poverty ko dekh kar dukhi hona chahiye… par aisa kabhi hota hai kya?? tabhi to india mein kabhi France jaise country mein jo sadke hai us tarah ki sadke nahi hai..na kabhi “disney land” koi idhar dekh paata..koi swiss choclate kha nahi paata…paisa haath mein rahega tabhi to yeh sab sapna poora hoyega…bas kuch nahi karna…bas ab to koi “chamatkaar” hi is desh ko bacha sakta hai.

  5. Harsha October 19, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    yes there are scripts available to prove Kannada is older than many languages which are thought to be old. I’m debating with Tamil but Kannada did evolve from Tamil.

  6. landminded October 19, 2012 at 1:15 am #

    who is singing this song “samay bada balwaan” congress or bjp?..they never sing the song “dukh se mat gabraana panchi” because they have money power. we own neither a hut nor a bit…. all are written for politicians. Roti aur kapda to hai…what about “makaan” (land) :) all about destiny…kismet ka maara..

  7. competition October 19, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    They are actually ruling the country but looting is side business. When we are indulging in matters like rape case, murder case, robbery case, entertainment matters, the competition starts…”unity is the best policy”…”silence is golden”.

  8. werewolf October 19, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    About “Sexual Abuse” the criminals rapists touch the untouchable. Shameless india and its “casteism pride”…sinners..wolves in form of humans. Junglee jaanwar. uncivilised

  9. slang October 19, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    but ur pronounciation “thing” tells me that you are not telugu but “malayali” or “maduraite” :) stop cheating.

  10. Time October 19, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    Samay bada balwaan re…samay bada balwaan.

  11. Talent October 19, 2012 at 12:28 am #

    In 2012 we see Malala, what kind of situation it was before 2000 years…i dont want to study. I can understand.

  12. OM October 19, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    “OM KAARAM” (omkaara) means the heat of SUN…we dont use “kaaram” for heat in tamizh these days but use it for spicy masala full of chillies or pepper. “Om” here is SUN. I dont know who were those first ever guy and girl sent to this earth but tamizhan heard this sound “om”. “Antham” the ball of fire..egg shaped.? I dont want myself to be operated…there should be purpose.

  13. OM October 19, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    The first word was “om”..the sound

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