Monday, 5 January 2015

What Is The Oldest Spoken Language In The World?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to find out about the oldest language in the world today.

All languages which are spoken today result from the slow and gradual evolution spanning from the first grunts humans used. There is no point where a language is not the same language, and should language X still be referred to as X over 2,000 years later, it's only for historical, cultural or other reasons, and not for linguistic ones. The actual answer to which is the oldest language, is there is none, because all languages are nearly as old.

But, should you ask which languages have a slower rate of evolution, such as a modern speaker could find texts comprehensible, then that's a whole different kettle of fish.

Firstly, there is virtually no way of knowing the pronunciation of languages which are more than a couple of centuries old. subsequently, even though modern Chinese today, could read older Chinese, it's unlikely they could understand anything should they hear it spoken today as it was then, so you have to agree to rely on written texts solely, for a better solution.

Secondly, forget about the linguistic tags which are attached to texts, such as Old Norse, this could be legible for today's Scandinavian speaker, whilst Old English will be less comprehensible for a person speaking today's English.

Lastly, it's hard to correctly understand the level of comprehension of an average person, especially should you factor in cultural differences, which could account for a population understanding older texts which otherwise display a similar amount of variation. For example, should a modern Arab speaker of a dialect would be able to understand texts from the 8th century, it's only due to the fact these texts were part of their education. Are Chinese children shown and taught ancient dialects? Tamil speakers? Icelandic speakers? We have no idea, however, it probably plays a serious role with their level of understanding.

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