First Words: A Timeline of Language
There are 6,909 languages listed around the world. Language is one of the most important aspects of our lives, wherever we are around the world, but do you ever wonder where it all began?
In our new project First Words, we have researched the introduction of major languages around the world and created a timeline of when each language was first introduced.
The results of our research are fascinating, and we have certainly learned a lot.
It is believed that the first ever language to be discovered was Egyptian, the first written account of which originates from 2690 BC.
Following Egyptian, other ancient languages included Sumerian from the 26th century BC, Mycenaean Greek in 1450 BC, and Old Chinese in 1200 BC.
The first account of Old English is believed to have originated thousands of years later in 700 AD, while Early Modern English only came into fruition in the 1470s. Other languages discovered around the same time as Old English include Japanese around 711 AD, Persian circa 750 AD and Old Hindi in 769 AD. Vietnamese, Albanian and Maltese all originated around the same era as Modern English.
Some of the most modern languages to be founded include Gooniyandi – a language spoken by aboriginal people in Australia; Southern Ndebele – a language native to South Africa; and Kamoro – a language used in parts of New Guinea.
We also looked at other modern languages which included the fictional languages such as Klingon from Star Trek, Quenya from Lord of the Rings, and most recently Dothraki from Game of Thrones, and logical languages such as Loglan and Lojban, which were invented to make international communication easier.
You can view the full timeline of when languages originated, based on their first written accounts, in the graphic below.
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