The 11 oldest languages still spoken today in the world.
The 11 oldest languages still spoken today in the world.

Which 11 of the world’s oldest languages are still spoken today? It depends on what you mean by a language that is still spoken. The problem with putting a timeline on languages that are still spoken today is that written records of the root languages are almost always needed. Because of this, some regional or native languages are left out because it’s hard to know how long they’ve been around.

But there are some old languages that are very close to languages that are still used today. In this piece, “living languages” are described as those that have been used for a long time but can still be recognized by most skilled users. We’ll look at a few of these languages that are still spoken today.

11. Ojibwe: One Thousand Years Old

Ojibwe: One Thousand Years Old
Ojibwe: 1000 Years Old

The Ojibwe language is spoken by North American natives. It is the second most popular language spoken by First Nations people. People who speak it live in and around the Great Lakes. There are also diasporas that came from this area.

Only 57 thousand people speak Ojibwe as their first language, making it an endangered language. Most of these native speakers are older, but there are efforts to keep the language from going out.

Ojibwe is about a thousand years old, but it’s hard to say exactly when it started because it wasn’t written down until Europeans came to the area. There are many different ways to speak Ojibwe, but almost everyone who speaks it can understand each other. But even though there are written forms, different languages use very different writing systems that aren’t easy for everyone to understand.

10. Nahuatl: 1300 Years Old

Nahuatl: 1300 Years Old
Nahuatl: 1300 Years Old

There are more than 1.5 million people who speak Nahuatl as their first language. Most of them live in Central Mexico. Nahuatl is the only Aztec language that has survived, and many words we use every day come from it. Tomato, avocado, peyote, chili, chipotle, wolf, and chocolate are some of these things.

Even though not all languages can be understood by all speakers, most can be understood by anyone who knows the language. There is proof that early Nahuatl was used 1300 years ago, but it may have been used even earlier.

9. Kannada


Two Thousand YearsKannada is the first language of 44 million people, but another 15 million people speak it as a second or third language. It is spoken by most of its native people in the southwest of India.

Even though written Kannada is mostly the same everywhere it is spoken, there are about 20 different ways to speak it. But people who speak any form of Kannada can almost always understand each other.

8. Icelandic: Two Thousand Years Old

A little more than 300,000 people know Icelandic, and almost all of them are from Iceland. Icelandic hasn’t changed much, so people who speak it now can easily read works from a thousand years ago.

Its language is controlled by people who make sure that stolen words aren’t used in everyday speech. This keeps the language clean because new words are made from existing root words instead of having words from other languages seep into Icelandic and change it over time. For example, the word for “meteorology” comes from the Icelandic words for “weather” and “science.” Instead of taking a name from another language, it was made up from the words for “weather” and “science.”

7. Persian: 2500 Years Old

Persian: 2500 Years Old
Persian: 2500 Years Old

In Tajikistan, it is called Tajik. In Afghanistan, it is called Dari, and in Iran, it is called Farsi. Even though each of these types of Persian is different, they are all understandable languages that everyone who speaks them today can understand.

People who don’t know either language might think that the Persian script looks a lot like Arabic writing, but they are not the same. The way Persian is written now changed after Arabic came into use, but in the past, it was written in different ways.

Tablets written in Persian cuneiform show that the language was used 2500 years ago. There are about 62 million people in the world who know Persian. Most of them live in Central Asia and the Middle East.

6. 2500 Years Old in Arabic

2500 Years Old in Arabic
Arabic: 2500 Years Old

Arabic was the major language used by scientists and thinkers from the 700s to the 1100s. Today, Islam uses it as its main language. It is the official language of 24 countries, and more than 420 million people speak it as their first language.

5. In Tamil: 2500 Years Old

In Tamil: 2500 Years Old
Tamil: 2500 Years Old

People speak Tamil in some parts of India, South Asia, and other places. Singapore and Sri Lanka also use it as their official language. It comes from a tongue that has been lost for at least 5,000 years.

Tamil is spoken by more than 80 million people. In Hinduism, Tamil came to the world through the god Shiva, who had made it. It was spread by a wise person named Agastya.

4. 3000 Years Old in Chinese

Over a billion people speak Chinese right now. This makes it the language that most people know around the world. Even though there are about six different kinds of Chinese spoken today, Mandarin Chinese is by far the most common.

Even though different Chinese languages sound very different when spoken, almost all Chinese speakers can write to each other. This is because the characters that link these languages still look a lot alike.

About 3000 years ago, the first hard proof of the Chinese language was found, but it could be much older. Archaic Chinese writing is written on bones from the Shang Dynasty that were used as oracles.

3. 3000 Years Old in Hebrew

3000 Years Old in Hebrew
3000 Years Old in Hebrew

Hebrew has been spoken for at least 3000 years, but it almost died out. For about 2000 years, only experts and holy people kept it alive.

But the rise of Zionism a few hundred years ago brought Hebrew back to life. It is now Israel’s national language. Today, about 9 million people speak Hebrew all over the world.

2. 3300 Years Old in Greek

3300 Years Old in Greek
3300 Years Old in Greek

Even though the way Greek was spoken 3500 years ago has changed a lot, its roots are still alive and well. It has changed over the years, but its main inspirations have stayed the same.

Today, there are about 12 million people who know Greek. Most Greek speakers live in Cyprus and Greece, but a few million are born and raised in other countries.

  1. Basque: Four Thousand Years Old
Basque: Four Thousand Years Old
Basque: Four Thousand Years Old

Even though the Basque language is over 4000 years old, it’s hard to say exactly when it started because many countries tried to kill it off. Despite this, the Romans were not able to wipe out the Basque.

It is now the oldest language in Europe that is still spoken. In some parts of France and Spain, about 750 thousand people speak Basque well. The language is different from any other language still spoken on Earth, and it’s not clear where it came from.

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