The oldest language


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 thoughts on “The oldest language

  1. 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. 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. 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.

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