What is the oldest language in the world?

The topic of ancient languages and what we know about them came up in another thread recently, so I thought it might be relevant to share this video that covers the linguistic issues rather nicely.

The bottom line is that it is almost impossible to know anything about ancient languages, and ever more nearly impossible to know anything about ancient and prehistoric human consciousness.

The significance of this is that since we don’t know the past, we have no reference by which to say the present is different or better.

6 thoughts on “What is the oldest language in the world?

  1. What is the point?

    Without writing, it is probably impossible to know any details of communication among ancient peoples.

    However, archeological digs can unearth weapons, tools, bones, artifacts, etc. which can give us clues as to diet, capabilities and organization. DNA can give us information as to lineages, etc.

    There is a lot of information other than language to let us peek into ancient live styles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “There is a lot of information other than language to let us peek into ancient live styles.”

      Perhaps, but without language artifacts we have no insight into consciousness. Even with language artifacts our insights about consciousness are limited and problematic due to difficulties of interpretation.

      An example of this is Julian Jaynes’s theory that human consciousness emerged only in the Bronze Age and that prior to that the two hemispheres of the brain operated independently and without any experienced form of communication between them. Pre-Bronze Age humans may have been, literally, unconscious.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Origin_of_Consciousness_in_the_Breakdown_of_the_Bicameral_Mind

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  2. Are dogs unconscious too?

    I am unsure what you mean about delving into ancient consciousness.

    If you mean self-awareness, there are few animals that we think have that ability.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “I am unsure what you mean about delving into ancient consciousness.”

      Perhaps I can offer a better clarification.

      Homo Sapiens emerged about 300,000 years ago. In their earliest form they were biologically indistinguishable from modern humans.

      One can infer from this that the original homo sapiens must also have been similar to modern humans in non-biological ways, including social complexity and knowledge accumulation.

      This, however, is really a hypothesis that can be neither proved nor disproved. Knowing this to be the case, one can dismiss out of hand any proof or disproof of non-biological similarity between prehistoric and modern humans that may be offered.

      As stated in the introductory post, “The significance of this is that since we don’t know the past, we have no reference by which to say the present is different or better.”

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    1. Maybe so, but if you believe in evolution, it’s timescale is much longer than the period homo sapiens have existed.

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