posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 05:19 AM
I don't mean to confuse the issue for you, but the question, "what is the oldest, speakable language" is somewhat difficult to answer, since in a
sense, all languages are equally old.
Most languages in the world are grouped together into linguistic families that you are probably familiar with. One of the most well studied language
groups is the Indo-European family. This group of languages houses Sanskrit, Greek, German, English, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, and many
others. Although from an initial, superficial analysis, we would think Sanskrit and English are quite different from each other, we see upon
examining the syntax, phonology, and certain core vocabularies, that Sanskrit and English are indeed related to each other.
Most linguists posit that all Indo-European languages derived from an older, singular language often called Proto-Indo-European. Please note we do
not know what this proto language sounded like. We can only reconstruct parts of its phonetics and grammar from the way we have noticed how these
aspects of language have changed within existing Indo-European languages.
So taking this small sample of languages we can deduce that all Indo-European languages are equally "old." One very important consideration you
want to keep in mind. Do not confuse whether a language has an ancient written recording as being "more ancient." Writing is just a way of
transmitting oral aspects of a language, and really doesn't have much to do with language itself.
If we broaden our perspective to include many other language families, such as the Semitic languages (Hebrew, Arabic) Amer-Ind languages (various
languages spoken by North American Indian tribes), etc. some linguists believe that all these geographically flung languages share an even more remote
common ancestor. One popular hypothesis for this calls this proto-language Nostratic. However, and again this is important to note, the evidence for
this proto-language is very, very flimsy. It has to be. Unfortuantely given the change in languages over time, we simply cannot push the evidence
back far enough to really be sure what these earliest proto-languages might have been.
So, sorry if this didn't help you in your immediate situation, but I thought your question highlights a misunderstanding of languages that could be