What's the Oldest Language We Still Use

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Determining the oldest language still spoken today involves navigating the complexities of linguistic evolution and historical documentation. Language changes over time, leading experts to consider written records to estimate continuity. Tamil, primarily spoken in India and Sri Lanka, emerges as a candidate with potential written records dating back 2,800 to 7,000 years. However, debates persist regarding whether it has undergone significant transformation. Greek, with texts from the 14th century BC, boasts a linguistic history of at least 3,400 years, although Ancient Greek differs markedly from its contemporary form. Chinese, with evidence of writing 3,300 years ago, introduced characters later adopted by over 1 billion people. Hebrew and Arabic showcase 3,000-year-old written records, with Classical Arabic experiencing shifts in everyday usage. Sanskrit, with texts dating back 3,500 years, is considered by some as the oldest still-used language, primarily employed by Hindu priests in India.


1- What factor leads to debates about whether Tamil is the oldest language still spoken today?

2- Despite having texts dating back to the 14th century BC, what significant difference exists between Ancient Greek and its modern counterpart?

3- Which language, primarily used by Hindu priests in India, is considered by some as the oldest still-used language?


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Parts of this lesson are based on: An article Engoo Daily News..