The Oldest Languages in the World

The Oldest Languages . . .
in the World . . .

Please pass the brocolli! I very much doubt that was even close to the first use of language – written or spoken!

But it does pose some interesting questions that have puzzled researchers for many years – what IS the oldest language – written and/or spoken? There are over 7000 currently spoken in the world today. But how many have existed, historically and which one is the oldest?

Currently, about 7,000 languages are spoken around the world. They belong to different language families and their origins date back thousands of years ago. Researchers are still finding it difficult to determine which language is the oldest. However, the earliest written languages on record are the cuneiform script that was discovered in Mesopotamia that dates back to 8th millennium BC. The Sumerian script that started in the 3rd millennium BC was developed for funerary inscriptions because the Sumerians were concerned about their afterlife.

In a previous post, I suggested that MATH is actually the ‘The Original and Universal Language‘ and that is true.

Now I want to consider spoken and/or written languages. A great conversation would have been with Pythagoras and his famous theory, but …. I am angling for a different post topic! Fun Fact – there are over 367 unique proofs of a² + b² = c² ! More than one a day for a year! WOW! There is even a TED Talk too!

My first guess would have been Latin, and it IS considered one of the oldest. And then, maybe, Egyptian, with beautiful heiroglyphics. Nope. Definitely the oldest in Egypt itself though!

Surely  Greek,  ranks right up there too? Nope, but definitely one of the oldest spoken languages in Europe! My coffee buddy, Nik from Folegandros, would certainly argue it is the oldest, but again, nope!

Okay, I am running out of guesses – thus displaying my woeful lack of Archeological Linguistics – even though I did pass Linguistics 100 at the University of Calgary in 1977!

My last guess … it has to be right … is …  CHINESE, ! Ah, close, but still not the oldest language!

Okay, I give up … the oldest language is …. TAMIL! And it is still spoken today!


By order of appearance, Tamil would be considered the world’s oldest language as it is over 5,000 years old, having made its first appearance in 3,000 BC. The literature collection in Tamil, which is a classical language, is very vast. It is also varied. Tamil is very much a living language and thousands of newspapers are still published in the language.

It is believed that Tamil started around 2500 BC.

It is still widely spoken and an official language in Singapore, Sri Lanka. In India, first language speakers live in some 34 territories and states, including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry, Kerala, Delhi, Gujarat, Goa and Assam

And many other candidates do make the list of oldest known languages, including, but not limited to: Latin, Armenian, Korean, Hebrew, Aramic, Sanskrit, Arabic and Lithuanian.

Each workday (at home!) during this pandemic, I pick a quasi-random topic, usually language related or perhaps math or even computers and I surprise myself each day with what I find out!

I am also slowly adding a few new future topics to discover and one fun topic might be ‘Top 10 Words that are Misunderstood … or … The Princess Bride Inconceivability!” Another future topic might be the exact OPPOSITE of The Oldest Words, the NEWEST WORDS!

Here are a few more very interesting sites about more ‘oldest languages’:

  1. What are the World’s Oldest Languages?
  2. What Is The Oldest Language Ever Discovered?
  3. What are the world’s oldest languages?
  4. 10 Oldest Written Languages in The World
  5. 10 of the World’s Oldest Languages Still Used Today
  6. The 10 Oldest Languages Still Spoken in the World Today
  7. The 10 Oldest Languages still spoken in the World Today
  8. These are the 10 oldest jokes in human history

And who knows, maybe the oldest language is really …  DOLPHIN, .. Carl Sagan might have thought so!

As long as there are words out there, there will be interesting topics! 

ENJOY!                TTFN!



Is Tamil the Oldest Language
in the World?

5 Oldest Languages
in the World

What’s the World’s Oldest Language?

What are the World’s
Oldest Languges?

What is the World’s Oldest Language
Still Spoken Today

List of Top 10
Oldest Languages in the World

Homer Simpson
The Pythagorean Theorem



“It seems to be a grant application!”