Humans have been able to communicate using language for at least 50,000 years, although anthropologists aren’t sure exactly when ancient humans picked up this very important skill. Today’s blog from Akorbi highlights the world’s oldest languages still in use today.
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The record holder for the world’s oldest language still in use today goes to Tamil. Around 78 million people speak Tamil, mostly in Sri Lanka (an island nation southeast of India), southern India, and Singapore. Tamil is one of 170 languages Akorbi works in for translation and interpretation services.
Egyptian traces its roots back to one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Written records date to 3,400 B.C. Many speakers of Coptic reside in modern-day Northeastern and Eastern Africa. Estimates vary, but somewhere between 5 and 20 million people speak fluent Coptic as their everyday language. Modern Egyptians in Egypt speak the Egyptian dialect of Arabic, mostly.
Lithuanian, although located in between Russia and Sweden in Western Europe, traces its roots back to Sanskrit, Latin, and Ancient Greek. It’s around 5,000 years old. Linguists believe Lithuanian influenced early speakers of German, Italian, and even English.
Ancient Hebrew goes back to 3,000 years ago. Some of the earliest known uses of written Hebrew include Biblical and religious texts. Modern Hebrew differs in pronunciation from Ancient Hebrew, but the letters remain the same as they did from ancient times. Hebrew is mostly used in religious ceremonies as a liturgical text, while there are around 7 million people in the world today who speak Hebrew fluently. It’s one of the languages we are familiar with at Akorbi!
Greek came to prominence 2,900 years ago along the Mediterranean Sea. More than 15 million people speak Greek, mostly, as you may have guessed, in Greece. Greek is one of the oldest Indo-European languages still in use today.
Farsi is the predominant language of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. It’s a direct descendant of Ancient Persian, and it’s around 2,500 years old. Around 110 million people speak Farsi, making it an important language for us to know at Akorbi.
Basque is a region in Spain, and its rich language originated about 2,200 years ago. It’s a completely unique language that is unrelated to any other in the world. Just 750,000 people speak Basque, making it a rare language to learn.
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