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Which is the oldest living language?

 
 
Reply Sat 29 Mar, 2008 08:10 pm
Latin?
Sanskrit?
Tamil?
English?
Hebrew?
German?
 
dadpad
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Mar, 2008 08:20 pm
The answer depends on what your definition of living language is.

Some of the australian aboriginal languages would be in the order of 40,000 years old.

http://coombs.anu.edu.au/WWWVLPages/AborigPages/LANG/WA/wahbk.htm
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Mar, 2008 08:30 pm
If you include pidgin language, then it all started in Africa, some 100,000
years BC. From there, people spread into other continents, including Australia.

Language containing syntax and grammar was either Chinese or Greek,
some time 1500 BC.
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Mar, 2008 09:23 pm
Pidgin is (i thought) a cross between English and an indigenous language. CJ.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Mar, 2008 09:26 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwQRMQrU7sU

Cool
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Mar, 2008 09:43 pm
dadpad wrote:
Pidgin is (i thought) a cross between English and an indigenous language. CJ.


No, not really, dadpad. This term was used for a much more primitive communication form, like the Aboriginals would have had 40,000 years
ago.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Mar, 2008 12:56 am
A pidgin is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common, in situations such as trade. Pidgins are not the native language of any speech community, but are instead learned as second languages. Pidgins usually have low prestige with respect to other languages.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Mar, 2008 01:08 am
What's the "oldest language"?

If you're counting absolute oldest, probably Sumerian or Egyptian wins because they developed a writing system first (both start appearing in about 3200 BC). If you're counting surviving languages, Chinese is often cited (first written in 1500 BC), but Greek is a possible tie because it was written in Linear B beginning ca. 1500 BC.

But all of this is irrelevant, because writing is not equal to speaking.

Albanian has probably existed for several millennia, but has only been written down for 500 years. With a twist of fate, Albanian might be considered very "old" and Greek pretty "new".


Longest in the Region
Basque is considered very old because the evidence is that there have been Basque speakers in Spain and France since at least the 2nd century BC and probably longer than that. Similary, Welsh is considered the "oldest language in Britain" because its speakers were there first.


Age of Sister Languages
Many linguists do date languages to when they split from their parent tongue. For instance, French and Spanish are both descended from Latin, so their age is determined by when they evolved into separate languages (between 400-700 AD). Some languages like Greek and Basque are considered older because they never "split" into daughter languages
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  0  
Reply Sun 30 Mar, 2008 07:25 pm
I was under the impression that the oldest living language is Latin( Popes's sprache)
But i am sure that Tamil will concur with Sanskrit..

In Brazil some speak a lnguage which none of us can understand
0 Replies
 
husker
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Mar, 2008 07:33 pm
what about the primal noises make when having sex? those might be universal?
0 Replies
 
SkeptikosExaminer
 
  0  
Reply Tue 1 Apr, 2008 06:29 pm
Re: Which is the oldest living language?
Ramafuchs wrote:
Latin?
Sanskrit?
Tamil?
English?
Hebrew?
German?


From those examples you gave Sanskrit is the oldest I believe. Sanskrit is definitely one of the oldest of the more complex and developed languages, one of the first languages that made poetry and philosophy possible. It's also the most likely source from which the other Indo-European languages developed.

English and German are both rather young languages btw.
Ramafuchs
 
  0  
Reply Sat 12 Apr, 2008 05:01 pm
Namaskar.
I was born in india where all the languages are omnipotent.
Both Latin and Sanskrit are not the oldest living language.
I am just curious to know about the living langauge which is old
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Apr, 2008 05:06 pm
Quote:
Tamil is the oldest living language of India and the world. It belongs to the Dravidian group of languages. Tamil is the official language of the state of Tamil Nadu, and also has official status in Sri Lanka and Singapore. Tamil ranks 17th amongst the top twenty of the world's most spoken languages. Tamil has a literary tradition of over two thousand years. Tolkappiyam, the oldest known literary work in Tamil, has been dated variously between second century BC and fifth century AD


http://www.thecolorsofindia.com/interesting-facts/literature/oldest-living-language-of-india.html
0 Replies
 
dontmsg
 
  2  
Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2010 03:25 pm
@Ramafuchs,
tamil .
You might wonder how tamil could have been the oldest language and if it were the oldest , probably the world should have proclaimed that it's the oldest and you can simply conclude that it's not the oldest just because you've known nothing about it though you know something about sumerian and Hebrew and such equally older languages but not tamil. .
Tamil is not known to all just because it's predominantly spoken in the country where the other equally older language sanskrit has the control over it. The people ruling india are descendants of "sanskrit", and tamil is just a language of minority, so the richness of the divine language is being suppressed by the people supporting the dead language ( sanskrit ) .
In short The truth that tamil is the oldest language in the world is concealed by indians or they might overlook its specialty .

dontmsg
 
  2  
Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2010 03:26 pm
tamil .
You might wonder how tamil could have been the oldest language and if it were the oldest , probably the world should have proclaimed that it's the oldest and you can't simply conclude that it's not the oldest just because you've known nothing about it though you know something about sumerian and Hebrew and such equally older languages but not tamil. .
Tamil is not known to all just because it's predominantly spoken in the country where the other equally older language sanskrit has the control over it. The people ruling india are descendants of "sanskrit", and tamil is just a language of minority, so the richness of the divine language is being suppressed by the people supporting the dead language ( sanskrit ) .
In short The truth that tamil is the oldest language in the world is concealed by indians or they might overlook its specialty .

0 Replies
 
Ramkey
 
  4  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2010 04:13 am
Certainly Tamil. Tamil is the oldest language that is still in use today without loosing its identity. It is proved that tamil is older than Sanskrit and used in Indus script.
The researcher Caldwell discovered that there are more than twenty Tamil words in the Vedas. From this we learn that Tamil had an existence prior to Sanskrit. In Valmiki’s The Ramayana there are references to the three kings who ruled South India and Kapatapuram, the capital of the Pandyas. This is understood to refer to the Kapatapuram of Lemuria continent where the second Tamil Sangam was held. Chanakya, the courtier of Chandragupta of the fourth century BC, who wrote Arthasastra, refers to pearl-diving expeditions in Kapatapuram. The Sanskrit linguist Kaatyayana who lived in 350 BC makes a reference to Chera, Chola, Pandyas. In Purananuru there is a reference to the war between the fi ve Pandavas and the one hundred Kauravas in which Udayancheralathan fed both the armies. Hence
he came to be known as Cheeran Perunchoorruthiyan Cheeralathan. The Mahabharatha war is believed to have taken place in 1500 BC. We may conclude thereby that this Cheran’s rule was during 1500BC. All these reveal the ancient origin of the Tamil race and the hoary tradition of Tamil. Wise scholars John Marshall, Rev. Father Heras, Sir Martin Wheeler, Kamil Zvelebil and others have laid emphasis on the truth that Dravidians are the creators of Indus Valley civilisation
and that the language of the people of Indus Valley was Dravidian. Indus Valley civilisation is Dravidian culture. It is closely associated with the ancient culture of the family of Dravidian languages. Dr. Iravatham Mahadevan who has been conducting research on Indus Valley civilisation for the last forty years claims that it is possible to understand the Indus Valley script from the myths recorded in
ancient Tamil literary works. The recipient of this year’s 2010 ‘Kalaignar
M. Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award’, Professor Asko Parpola of Finland, pursues research based on the hypothesis that the script and language of Indus Valley civilisation belonged to the Dravidian family. He has demonstrated with authoritative proof that the inhabitants of the Indus Valley spoke the Dravidian language, close to Old Tamil.
Source: From Hindu News paper , World Tamil Conference function at Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, 23rd June-2110

Speech from Asko Parpola, Finland recipient of the Kalaignar M. of the World Classical Tamil Conference. Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award, at the inauguration
The Government of India has rightly recognized Tamil as a classical language, a status that it fully deserves in view of its antiquity and its rich literature that in quality and extent matches many other classical traditions of the world. Yet, Tamil is not alone in possessing such a rich heritage in India, which is really a very exceptional country with so many languages having old and remarkable literatures, both written and oral. Sanskrit with its three thousand years old tradition has produced an unrivalled number of literary works.
Sanskrit goes back to Proto-Indo-Aryan attested in a few names and words related to the Mitanni kingdom of Syria between 1500 and 1300 BCE, and to earlier forms of Indo-Iranian known only from a few loanwords in Finno-Ugric languages as spoken in central Russia around 2000 BCE. But none of these very earliest few traces is older than the roots of Tamil. Tamil goes back to Proto-Dravidian, which in my opinion can be identified as the language of the thousands of short texts in the Indus script, written in 2600-1700 BCE. There are, of course, different opinions, but many critical scholars agree that even the Rigveda, collected in the Indus Valley about 1000 BCE, has at least half a dozen Dravidian loanwords.
Old Tamil texts constitute the only source of ancient Dravidian linguistic and cultural heritage not yet much contaminated by the Indo-Aryan tradition. Without it, it would be much more difficult if not impossible to penetrate into the secrets of the Indus script and to unravel the beginnings of India's great civilization. In my opinion the Tamils are entitled to some pride for having preserved so well the linguistic heritage of the Indus Civilization. At the same time, it must not be forgotten that, though their language has shifted in the course of millennia, people of North India too are to a large extent descended from the Harappan people, and have also preserved cultural heritage of the same civilization.
Nanri! Tamizh vaazka!
It is regret to say that this oldest living language is recognised as classical language by Indian government only recently. Always Indian govt is late like patenting pasmati rice and tumeric etc.

Ramkey,
vinsan
 
  -2  
Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2010 10:41 pm
@Ramkey,
A few corrections in you article Ramkey ...

Firstly Tamil or any Indo Aryan - Dravidian languages are not the oldest languages in the world.

We must understand that the evolution of languages happens thru a concept called Proto Languages.

Proto Languages provide the infrastructure for modern languages using

1. Read and Learned methods.
2. Written Script.
3. Grammatical rules.
4. Literature.
5. Influence.

Proto-languages are, by definition, are hypothetical languages reconstructed by linguists on the basis of above 5 point, and hence no proto-language has any historical record of existnace. So is the case with Proto-Dravidian languages.

Proto-North Dravidian, Proto-Central Dravidian and Proto-South Dravidian languaes are estimated to be around 500 BC using the earliest mentions in more than 3 of the above 5 points. But due to a dearth of comparative linguistic research into the Dravidian languages, not many details as to the grammar, epoch, or location of Proto-Dravidian are known. Simply becoz the lack of the proofs supporting the existance of them using above 5 points.

But Vedic Sanskrit scores all 5 and was found to be existed in all the above means since around 1500 BC!

Also I am skeptical about claims that tamil existed before Sanskrit. Although Tamil words were found in the Vedas they were originally vedic sanskrit and not other way round.

So does that mean

Vedic Sanskrit predates Tamil? Most likely.
Vedic Sanskrit prediats Modern Sanskrit? Ofcourse.
Tamil predates Modern Sanskrit? Least likely although .

Oldest books which cover all the Dravidian languages which can point to Proto-Dravidian forms is Dravidian Etymological Dictionary still consist only of lists of related words without further explanation; therefore for a talented linguist Proto-Dravidian offers large possibilities.

Further researches in Proto-Dravidian may surprise with sufficient proofs that they may be oldest forms in Indian subcontinent.

Sadly only little is known and only researchers can do is speculate about proto dravidian hiostory.

Till then Vedic Sanskrit and thus arguably Sanskrit are assumed to be older than Dravidian languages.

Further proof to this claim can be made using this article about the script and grammer based evolution of languages where Saskrit stands before Tamil (although interestingly Tamil is the only indian languages placed neck to neck with Sanskrit indicating about its ancient-ness)...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_first_written_accounts
glitterbag
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2010 11:06 pm
I think it would be a mistake to leave out Anglo-Saxon, my Dad was fluent, and pretty inventive and creative. Sadly none of the words can be printed here, at least not as long as we still have a profanity block.
0 Replies
 
SIVA 1971
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 08:21 am
@Ramafuchs,
The richest old language till living is tamil,german.
0 Replies
 
arunmurali
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 May, 2011 11:00 pm
@Ramafuchs,
tamil
 

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