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List of languages by first written account

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This is a list of languages arranged by age of the oldest existing text recording a complete sentence in the language. It does not include undeciphered writing systems, though there are various claims without wide acceptance, which, if substantiated, would push backward the first attestation of certain languages. It also does not include inscriptions consisting of isolated words or names from a language. In most cases, some form of the language had already been spoken (and even written) considerably earlier than the dates of the earliest extant samples provided here.

A written record may encode a stage of a language corresponding to an earlier time, either as a result of oral tradition, or because the earliest source is a copy of an older manuscript that was lost. An oral tradition of epic poetry may typically bridge a few centuries, and in rare cases, over a millennium. An extreme case is the Vedic Sanskrit of the Rigveda: the earliest parts of this text date to c. 1500 BC,[1] while the oldest known manuscripts date to c. 1040 AD.[2] Similarly the oldest Avestan texts, the Gathas, are believed to have been composed before 1000 BC, but the oldest Avestan manuscripts date from the 13th century AD.[3]

Before 1000 BC

Writing first appeared in the Near East at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. A very limited number of languages are attested in the area from before the Bronze Age collapse and the rise of alphabetic writing:

In East Asia towards the end of the second millennium BC, the Sino-Tibetan family was represented by Old Chinese.

There are also a number of undeciphered Bronze Age records:

Earlier symbols, such as the Jiahu symbols, Vinča symbols and the marks on the Dispilio Tablet, are believed to be proto-writing, rather than representations of language.

Date Language Attestation Notes
c. 2690 BC Egyptian Egyptian hieroglyphs constituting the earliest complete sentence known, found in the tomb of Seth-Peribsen (2nd Dynasty), Umm El Qa'ab. This sentence refers to the entombed king's father and translates as, "He has united the Two Lands for his son, Dual King Peribsen."[6] So-called "proto-hieroglyphic" inscriptions, such as those on the Narmer Palette, are known from 3300 BCE on, although these instances of written Egyptian are rebus-like and confined to semi-grammatical captions, labels, and proper names. See also, Naqada III and Abydos, Egypt.
c. 2600 BC Sumerian Instructions of Shuruppak, the Kesh temple hymn and other cuneiform texts from Shuruppak and Abu Salabikh (Fara period)[7][8] "proto-literate" period from about 3500 BC (see Kish tablet); administrative records at Uruk and Ur from c. 2900 BC.

Various texts from Ur during the Early Dynastic I–II period (c. 2800 BC) show syllabic elements with clear signs of the Sumerian language.[9]

c. 2600 BC Akkadian A hymn to the sun-god Šamaš found at Tell Abū Ṣalābīḫ.[10] Some proper names attested in Sumerian texts at Tell Harmal from about 2800 BC.[11] Fragments of the Legend of Etana at Tell Harmal c. 2600 BC.[12] A few dozen pre-Sargonic texts from Mari and other sites in northern Babylonia.[13]
c. 2400 BC Eblaite Ebla tablets[14]
24th century BC Northwest Semitic Protective spells in Pyramid Texts 235, 236, 281, 286 from the Pyramid of Unas, written in hieroglyphic script but unintelligible as Egyptian[15][16] Ugaritic is the earliest Northwest Semitic language to be unambiguously attested within its native context, c. 1300 BC.
c. 2250 BC Elamite Awan dynasty peace treaty with Naram-Sin[17][18] The Proto-Elamite script attested from c. 3100 BC remains undeciphered; the identity of the language communicated thereby is unknown. The date of c. 2250 BC is based off the advent of Linear Elamite.
21st century BC Hurrian temple inscription of Tish-atal in Urkesh[19]
c. 1700 BC Hittite Anitta text in Hittite cuneiform[20] Isolated Hittite words and names occur in Assyrian texts found at Kültepe, from the 19th century BC.[20]
16th century BC Palaic Hittite texts CTH 751–754[21]
c. 1450 BC Mycenaean Greek Linear B tablet archive from Knossos[22][23][24] These are mostly administrative lists, with some complete sentences.[25]
c. 1400 BC Luwian Hieroglyphic Luwian monumental inscriptions, Cuneiform Luwian tablets in the Hattusa archives[26] Isolated hieroglyphs appear on seals from the 18th century BC.[26]
c. 1400 BC Hattic Hittite texts CTH 725–745
c. 1300 BC Ugaritic tablets from Ugarit[27][28]
c. 1250 BC Old Chinese oracle bone and bronze inscriptions from the reign of Wu Ding[29][30][31]

First millennium BC

The Ahiram epitaph is the earliest substantial inscription in Phoenician.

The earliest known alphabetic inscriptions, at Serabit el-Khadim (c. 1500 BC), appear to record a Northwest Semitic language, though only one or two words have been deciphered. In the Early Iron Age, alphabetic writing spread across the Near East and southern Europe. With the emergence of the Brahmic family of scripts, languages of India are attested from after about 300 BC.

There is only fragmentary evidence for languages such as Iberian, Tartessian, Galatian and Messapian.[33] The North Picene language of the Novilara Stele from c. 600 BC has not been deciphered.[34] The few brief inscriptions in Thracian dating from the 6th and 5th centuries BC have not been conclusively deciphered.[35] The earliest examples of the Central American Isthmian script date from c. 500 BC, but a proposed decipherment remains controversial.[36]

Date Language Attestation Notes
c. 1000 BC Phoenician Ahiram epitaph[37]
10th century BC Aramaic royal inscriptions from Aramean city-states[38]
10th century BC Hebrew or Phoenician Gezer calendar[39] Paleo-Hebrew employed a slightly modified Phoenician alphabet, hence the uncertainty between which language is attested here.
c. 850 BC Ammonite Amman Citadel Inscription[40]
c. 840 BC Moabite Mesha Stele
c. 820 BC Urartian Inscriptions in Assyrian cuneiform script[41]
c. 800 BC Phrygian Paleo-Phrygian inscriptions at Gordion[42]
8th century BC Sabaean (Old South Arabian) mainly boustrophedon inscriptions from Yemen[43]
8th century BC Old Arabic prayer inscription at Bayir, Jordan[44] It is a bi-lingual inscription written in Old Arabic which was written in the undifferentiated North Arabian script (known as Thamudic B) and Canaanite which remains undeciphered.
c. 700 BC Etruscan proto-Corinthian vase found at Tarquinia[45]
7th century BC Latin Vetusia Inscription and Fibula Praenestina[46]
c. 600 BC Lydian inscriptions from Sardis[26]
c. 600 BC Carian inscriptions from Caria and Egypt[26]
c. 600 BC Faliscan Ceres inscription found at Falerii[47]
early 6th century BC Umbrian text painted on the handle of a krater found near Tolfa[48]
c. 550 BC Taymanitic Esk 168 and 177[49] The Taymanitic script is mentioned in an 8th century BC document from Carchemish.[50]
c. 550 BC South Picene Warrior of Capestrano[51]
mid-6th century BC Venetic funerary inscriptions at Este[52]
late 6th century BC Lemnian Lemnos Stele[53]
c. 500 BC Old Persian Behistun Inscription
c. 500 BC Lepontic inscriptions CO-48 from Pristino (Como) and VA-6 from Vergiate (Varese)[54][55] Inscriptions from the early 6th century consist of isolated names.
c. 300 BC Oscan Iovilae from Capua[56] Coin legends date from the late 5th century BC.[57]
3rd century BC Gaulish Transalpine Gaulish inscriptions in Massiliote Greek script[58]
3rd century BC Volscian Tabula Veliterna[59]
c. 260 BC Ashokan Prakrit Edicts of Ashoka[60][61] Potsherds inscribed with Brahmi letters from Anuradhapura have been dated c. 400 BC, and range from isolated letters to names in the genitive case.[62][63]
c. 200 BC Elu (Sri Lankan Prakrit) Brahmi inscription at Mihintale[64]
early 2nd century BC Old Tamil rock inscription ARE 465/1906 at Mangulam caves, Tamil Nadu[65] (Other authors give dates from late 3rd century BC to 1st century AD.[66][67]) Pottery inscribed with personal names has been found at Keeladi, a site that was occupied between the 6th century BC and 1st century AD.[68]

5th century BC inscriptions on potsherds found in Kodumanal, Porunthal and Palani have been claimed as Tamil-Brahmi,[69][70] but this is disputed.[71]

2nd century BC Meroitic graffiti on the temple of Amun at Dukki Gel, near Kerma[72]
c. 146 BC Numidian Punic-Libyan Inscription at Dougga[73]
c. 100 BC Celtiberian Botorrita plaques
1st century BC Parthian ostraca at Nisa and Qumis[74]
1st century BC Sanskrit Ayodhya Inscription of Dhana, and Hathibada Ghosundi Inscriptions (both near Chittorgarh)[75] The Junagadh rock inscription of Rudradaman (shortly after 150 AD) is the oldest long text.[76]

First millennium AD

From Late Antiquity, we have for the first time languages with earliest records in manuscript tradition (as opposed to epigraphy). Thus, Classical Armenian is first attested in the Armenian Bible translation.

The Vimose inscriptions (2nd and 3rd centuries) in the Elder Futhark runic alphabet appear to record Proto-Norse names. Some scholars interpret the Negau helmet inscription (c. 100 BC) as a Germanic fragment.

Date Language Attestation Notes
c. 150 Bactrian Rabatak inscription
c. 200 Proto-Norse inscription NITHIJO TAWIDE on shield grip from the Illerup Ådal weapon deposit Single Proto-Norse words are found on the Øvre Stabu spearhead (second half of the 2nd century) and the Vimose Comb (c. 160).
c. 292 Mayan Stela 29 from Tikal[77] A brief undeciphered inscription at San Bartolo is dated to the 3rd century BC.[78]
c. 312–313 Sogdian Ancient Letters, found near Dunhuang[79]
c. 328 Arabic Namara inscription
c. 350 Ge'ez inscriptions of Ezana of Aksum[80]
c. 350 Cham Đông Yên Châu inscription found near Tra Kiêu[81]
4th century Gothic Gothic Bible, translated by Wulfila[82] A few problematic Gothic runic inscriptions may date to the early 4th century.
c. 400 Tocharian B THT 274 and similar manuscripts[83] Some Tocharian names and words have been found in Prakrit documents from Krorän dated c. 300.[84]
c. 430 Old Georgian Bir el Qutt inscriptions[85]
c. 450 Old Kannada Halmidi inscription[86] A date of 350 has been claimed for the Tagarthi inscription found in Shivamogga district, but this is disputed.[87] Kavirajamarga (c. 850) is the oldest literary work.[86]
c. 478-490[88] Classical Armenian inscription at the Tekor Basilica[89] Mesrop Mashtots is traditionally held to have translated an Armenian Bible in 434.
5th century Frankish/Old Dutch Bergakker inscription[90] There is no consensus on the interpretation of the text, leading to the language uncertainty.
c. 510 Old Dutch formula for freeing a serf in the Malbergse Glossen on the Salic law[91] Some scholars consider the formula to be in Frankish instead.[92]
6th century Vandalic A sentence in the Collatio beati Augustini cum Pascentio ariano (Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria, MS G.V. 26)[93] Copy of a text originally written in the first half of the 5th century.
second half of 6th century Old High German Pforzen buckle[94]
mid-6th century Old Korean Mokgan No. 221[95]
c. 575 Telugu Erragudipadu inscription[86] Telugu place names are found in Prakrit inscriptions from the 2nd century AD.[86]
c. 611 Old Khmer Angkor Borei inscription K. 557/600[96]
c. 650 Old Japanese mokkan wooden tablets[97] Poems in the Kojiki (711–712) and Nihon Shoki (720) have been transmitted in copied manuscripts.
c. 650–700 Old Udi Sinai palimpsest M13
c. 683 Old Malay Kedukan Bukit Inscription[98]
7th century Bailang commentary on the Book of the Later Han by Li Xian citing the mostly lost Dongguan Hanji[99]
7th century Tumshuqese and Khotanese Saka manuscripts mainly from Dunhuang[100] Some fragments of Khotanese Saka have been dated to the 5th and 6th centuries
7th century Beja ostracon from Saqqara[101][102]
late 7th century Pyu Hpayahtaung funeral urn inscription of kings of Sri Ksetra
c. 700 Old English Franks Casket The Undley bracteate (5th century) and West Heslerton brooch (c. 650) have fragmentary runic inscriptions.
c. 732 Old Turkic Orkhon inscriptions
c. 750 Old Irish Würzburg glosses[103] Primitive Irish Ogham inscriptions from the 4th century consist of personal names, patronymics and/or clan names.[104][105]
c. 765 Old Tibetan Lhasa Zhol Pillar[106] Dated entries in the Tibetan Annals begin at 650, but extant manuscripts postdate the Tibetan occupation of Dunhuang in 786.[107]
late 8th century Breton Praecepta medica (Leyden, Codex Vossianus Lat. F. 96 A)[108] A botanical manuscript in Latin and Breton
c. 750–900 Old Frisian Westeremden yew-stick
c. 800 Old Norse runic inscriptions
c. 804 Old Javanese initial part of the Sukabumi inscription (id), found near Kediri[109]
early 9th century Old Saxon Heiland and Old Saxon Genesis, found in Palatinus Latinus 1447[110] The 9th century Old Saxon Baptismal Vow appears to be a copy from the 8th century; however, scholars dispute whether it is in Old Saxon or another Germanic language[111][112][113][114]
9th century Old Malayalam Vazhappally copper plate[115] The status of the Edakkal-5 inscriptions dating back to 3rd or late 4th century is contested.[116][117]Ramacaritam (12th century) is the oldest literary work.[115]
9th century Old Welsh Cadfan Stone (Tywyn 2)[118]
late 9th century Old French Sequence of Saint Eulalia[119] The earliest surviving manuscript with the text for the Oaths of Strasbourg (842), traditionally considered the first Old French text, dates from the 11th century.[120]
c. 882 Balinese dated royal inscription[121]
c. 900 Old Occitan Tomida femina
c. 959–974 Asturleonese Nodicia de Kesos
c. 960–963 Italian Placiti Cassinesi[122] The Veronese Riddle (c. 800) is considered a mixture of Italian and Latin.[123]
c. 986 Khitan Memorial for Yelü Yanning
late 10th century Old Church Slavonic Kiev Missal[124] Cyril and Methodius translated religious literature from c. 862, but only later manuscripts survive.
late 10th century Konkani/Marathi inscription on the Gommateshwara statue[125] The inscription is in Devanagari script, but the language has been disputed between Marathi and Konkani scholars.[126][127]
10th century Romansh a sentence in the Würzburg manuscript[128]

1000–1500 AD

Date Language Attestation Notes
c. 972–1093 Slovene Freising manuscripts
c. late 10th–early 11th century Serbian Hilandar Fragments, Temnić inscription
c. 1000 Faroese inscription at Kirkjubøur[129]
c. 1000 Old East Slavic Novgorod Codex[130]
c. 1000 Navarro-Aragonese (Aragonese) and Basque Glosas Emilianenses The first word on the Hand of Irulegi (1st century BC) has been claimed as Basque.[131][132]
c. 1028 Catalan Jurament Feudal[133]
11th century Mozarabic kharjas appended to Arabic and Hebrew poems[134] Isolated words are found in glossaries from the 8th century.[135]
c. 11th century Croatian Humac tablet (variously dated to between the 10th and 12th century), Inscription of Krk, Inscription of Župa Dubrovačka, Plomin tablet, Valun tablet
c. 1100 Ossetian Zelančuk inscription[136]
c. 1113 Burmese Myazedi inscription
c. 1114 Newar palm-leaf manuscript from Uku Baha, Patan[137]
c. 1127 Jurchen inscription found on the bank of the Arkhara River[138]
c. 1175 Galician-Portuguese Notícia de Fiadores[139] The Notícia de Torto and the will of Afonso II of Portugal, dated 1214, are often cited as the first documents written in Galician-Portuguese.[140] A date prior to 1175 has been proposed for the Pacto dos Irmãos Pais.[141]
c. 1189 Bosnian Charter of Ban Kulin
c. 1192 Old Hungarian Funeral Sermon and Prayer There are isolated fragments in earlier charters such as the charter of Veszprém (c. 1000) and the charter of Tihany (1055). Some scholars believe that the language of the Szarvas inscription (8th century) is Old Hungarian.
mid-12th century Icelandic AM 237 a fol. manuscript[142]
late 12th century Old Norwegian AM 655 IX 4to manuscript[143]
c. 1200 Spanish Cantar de mio Cid Previously the Glosas Emilianenses and the Nodicia de kesos were considered the oldest texts in Spanish; however, later analyses concluded them to be Aragonese and Leonese, respectively.[144]
c. 1200 Finnic Birch bark letter no. 292
c. 1200–1230 Czech founding charter of the Litoměřice chapter
c. 1224–1225 Mongolian Stele of Genghis Khan
early 13th century Punjabi poetry of Fariduddin Ganjshakar
early 13th century Cornish prophesy in the cartulary of Glasney College[145] A 9th century gloss in De Consolatione Philosophiae by Boethius: ud rocashaas is controversially interpreted.[146][147]
c. 1250 Old Swedish fragments of the elder Westrogothic law in Codex Holm. B 193[148]
c. 1250 Kashmiri Mahanayakaprakash ("Light of the supreme lord") by Shitikantha[149]
c. 1270 Old Polish a sentence in the Book of Henryków
c. 1272 Yiddish blessing in the Worms mahzor
c. 1274 Western Lombard Liber di Tre Scricciur, by Bonvesin de la Riva
c. 1292 Thai Ramkhamhaeng stele Some scholars argue that the stele is a forgery.
late 13th century Old Danish manuscripts AM 37 4to, AM 24 4to, SKB C 37, SKB B 74[150]
13th century Tigrinya a text of laws found in Logosarda
c. 1350 Oghuz Turkic (including Azeri and Ottoman Turkish) works of Imadaddin Nasimi
c. 1350 Old Gutnish Gutasaga and Gutalagen, found in Codex Holm. B 64[151]
c. 1369 Old Prussian Basel Epigram[152]
c. 1372 Komi Abur inscriptions
c. 1386 Slovak Rhymed sentence in Latin codex[153] Toponyms, personal names and glosses are found from 11th century.[154]
early 15th century Bengali, Assamese and other Bengali-Assamese languages poems of Chandidas[155] The 10th-century Charyapada are written in a language ancestral to Bengali, Assamese and Oriya.[155]
c. 1440 Vietnamese Quốc âm thi tập[156] List of names in Chữ nôm date from the early 13th century.[157]
c. 1462 Albanian Formula e pagëzimit, a baptismal formula in a letter of Archbishop Pal Engjëll Some scholars interpret a few lines in the Bellifortis text (1405) as Albanian.[158]
c. 1470 Finnish single sentence in a German travel journal[159] The first printed book in Finnish is Abckiria (1543) by Mikael Agricola.
c. 1470 Maltese Il Cantilena
c. 1485 Yi bronze bell inscription in Dafang County, Guizhou[160]
15th century Tulu inscriptions in an adaptation of Malayalam script[161]

After 1500

Date Language Attestation Notes
c. 1503 Lithuanian hand-written Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary and Creed[162] Katekizmas (1547) by Martynas Mažvydas was the first printed book in Lithuanian.
c. 1517 Belarusian Psalter of Francysk Skaryna
c. 1521 Romanian Neacșu's Letter Cyrillic orthographic manual of Constantin Kostentschi from 1420 documents earlier written usage.[163] Four 16th century documents, namely Codicele Voronetean, Psaltirea Scheiana, Psaltirea Hurmuzachi and Psaltirea Voroneteana, are arguably copies of 15th century originals.[164]
c. 1530 Latvian Nicholas Ramm's translation of a hymn
c. 1535 Estonian Wanradt-Koell catechism
c. 1536 Modern Portuguese Grammatica da lingoagem portuguesa by Fernão de Oliveira. by convention.[165]
c. 1549 Sylheti Talib Husan by Ghulam Husan earliest extant manuscript found using the Sylheti Nagri script.[166]
c. 1550 Classical Nahuatl Doctrina cristiana en lengua española y mexicana[167] The Breve y mas compendiosa doctrina cristiana en lengua mexicana y castellana (1539) was possibly the first printed book in the New World. No copies are known to exist today.[167]
c. 1554 Wastek grammar by Andrés de Olmos
c. 1557 Kikongo a catechism[168]
c. 1561 Ukrainian Peresopnytsia Gospel
c. 1589 Crimean Gothic 1562 letter from Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq that was published later[169] 9th century Gothic graffiti in Crimea show some Crimean Gothic influence in spelling.[170]
c. 1593 Tagalog Doctrina Cristiana
c. 1600 Classical Quechua Huarochirí Manuscript by a writer identified only as "Thomás"[171] Paraphrased and annotated by Francisco de Ávila in 1608.
c. 1600 Buginese
c. 1610 Manx Book of Common Prayer[172]
c. 1619 Pite Sami primer and missal by Nicolaus Andreaus[173] Early literary works were mainly based on dialects underlying modern Ume Sami and Pite Sami. First grammar and dictionary in 1738.
c. 1638 Ternate treaty with Dutch governor[174]
c. 1639 Guarani Tesoro de la lengua guaraní by Antonio Ruíz de Montoya
c. 1650 Ubykh, Abkhaz, Adyghe and Mingrelian Travel Book of Evliya Çelebi[175]
c. 1651 Pashto copy of Xayru 'l-bayān in the library of the University of Tübingen[176] The Pata Khazana, purporting to date from the 8th century, is considered by most scholars to be a forgery.[176]
c. 1663 Massachusett Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God Also known as the Eliot Indian Bible or the Algonquian Bible
c. 1693 Tunisian Arabic copy of a Tunisian poem written by Sheykh Hassan el-Karray[177] Before 1700, lyrics of songs were not written in Tunisian Arabic but in Classical Arabic.[177]
c. 1695 Seri grammar and vocabulary compiled by Adamo Gilg No longer known to exist.[178]
17th century Hausa Riwayar Annabi Musa by Abdallah Suka[179]
late 17th century Basque–Icelandic pidgin Vocabula Gallica[180]
18th century Língua Geral of São Paulo Vocabulário da Língua Geral dos Índios das Américas (anonymous)[181] Another source is the dictionary by Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1867) and the vocabulary (1936) by José Joaquim Machado de Oliveira. The language is now extinct.
c. 1711 Swahili letters written in Kilwa[182]
c. 1718 Sranan Tongo Herlein fragment[183]
c. 1728 Northern Sami Catechism An early wordlist was published in 1589 by Richard Hakluyt. First grammar in 1743
c. 1736 Greenlandic Grönländische Grammatica by Paul Egede[184] A poor-quality wordlist was recorded by John Davis in 1586.[185]
c. 1743 Chinese Pidgin English sentence recorded in Macau by George Anson[186]
c. 1747 Borgarmålet Beskrifning öfwer Sweriges Lapmarker by Pehr Högström[187]
c. 1757 Haitian Creole Lisette quitté la plaine by Duvivier de la Mahautière[188][189]
c. 1788 Sydney language notebooks of William Dawes[190][191]
c. 1795 Afrikaans doggerel verses[192]
c. 1800 Inuktitut "Eskimo Grammar" by Moravian missionaries[184] A list of 17 words was recorded in 1576 by Christopher Hall, an assistant to Martin Frobisher.[184][185]
c. 1806 Tswana Heinrich LictensteinUpon the Language of the Beetjuana The first complete Bible translation was published in 1857 by Robert Moffat.
c. 1819 Cherokee Sequoyah's Cherokee syllabary
c. 1820 Maori grammar by Thomas Kendall and Samuel Lee Kendal began compiling wordlists in 1814.
c. 1820 Aleut description by Rasmus Rask A short word list was collected by James King in 1778.
c. 1823 Xhosa John Bennie's Xhosa reading sheet Complete Bible translation 1859
c. 1833 Vai Vai syllabary created by Momolu Duwalu Bukele.
c. 1833 Sotho reduced to writing by French missionaries Casalis and Arbousset First grammar book 1841 and complete Bible translation 1881
c. 1837 Zulu Incwadi Yokuqala Yabafundayo First grammar book 1859 and complete Bible translation 1883
c. 1839 Lule Sami pamphlet by Lars Levi Laestadius Dictionary and grammar by Karl Bernhard Wiklund in 1890-1891
c. 1845 Santali A Santali Primer by Jeremiah Phillips[193]
c. 1849 Solombala English Ocerki Arxangel'skoj Gubernii by Vasilij Vereščagin[194]
c. 1851 Sakha (Yakut) Über die Sprache der Jakuten, a grammar by Otto von Böhtlingk Wordlists were included in Noord en Oost Tartarije (1692) by Nicolaas Witsen and Das Nord-und Ostliche Theil von Europa und Asia (1730) by Philip Johan von Strahlenberg.
c. 1854 Inari Sami grammar by Elias Lönnrot Primer and catechism published in 1859.
c. 1856 Gamilaraay articles by William Ridley[195] Basic vocabulary collected by Thomas Mitchell in 1832.
c. 1864 Français Tirailleur letter by P. Durpatz[196]
c. 1872 Venda reduced to writing by the Berlin Missionaries First complete Bible translation 1936
c. 1878 Kildin Sami Gospel of Matthew
c. 1882 Mirandese O dialecto mirandez by José Leite de Vasconcelos[197] The same author also published the first book written in Mirandese: Flores mirandezas (1884)[198]
c. 1884 Skolt Sami Gospel of Matthew in Cyrillic
c. 1885 Carrier Barkerville Jail Text, written in pencil on a board in the then recently created Carrier syllabics Although the first known text by native speakers dates to 1885, the first record of the language is a list of words recorded in 1793 by Alexander MacKenzie.
c. 1885 Motu grammar by W.G. Lawes
c. 1886 Guugu Yimidhirr notes by Johann Flierl, Wilhelm Poland and Georg Schwarz, culminating in Walter Roth's The Structure of the Koko Yimidir Language in 1901.[199][200] A list of 61 words recorded in 1770 by James Cook and Joseph Banks was the first written record of an Australian language.[201]
c. 1891 Galela grammatical sketch by M.J. van Baarda[202]
c. 1893 Oromo translation of the New Testament by Onesimos Nesib, assisted by Aster Ganno
c. 1900 Qaqet grammar by Matthäus Rascher[203]
c. 1903 Lingala grammar by Egide de Boeck
c. 1905 Istro-Romanian Calindaru lu rumeri din Istrie by Andrei Glavina and Constantin Diculescu[204] Compilation of Istro-Romanian popular words, proverbs and stories.[204]
c. 1940 Kamoro materials by Peter Drabbe[202] A Kamoro wordlist recorded in 1828 by Modera and Müller, passengers on a Dutch ship, is the oldest record of any of the non-Austronesian languages of New Guinea.[202][205]
c. 1968 Southern Ndebele small booklet published with praises of their kings and a little history A translation of the New Testament of the Bible was completed in 1986; translation of the Old Testament is ongoing.
c. 1984 Gooniyandi survey by William B. McGregor[206]

By family

Attestation by major language family:

Constructed languages

Date Language Attestation Notes
1879 Volapük created by Johann Martin Schleyer
1887 Esperanto Unua Libro created by L. L. Zamenhof
1907 Ido based on Esperanto
1917 Quenya created by J. R. R. Tolkien
1921 Interlingue (as Occidental) Transcendent Algebra by Estonian linguist Jacob Linzbach.[207] created by Edgar de Wahl
1928 Novial created by Otto Jespersen
1935 Sona Sona, an auxiliary neutral language created by Kenneth Searight
1943 Interglossa Later became Glosa created by Lancelot Hogben
1951 Interlingua Interlingua–English Dictionary created by the International Auxiliary Language Association
1955 Loglan created by James Cooke Brown
1984 Klingon Star Trek III: The Search for Spock created by Marc Okrand
1987 Lojban based on Loglan, created by the Logical Language Group
1999 Slovio created by Mark Hučko
2001 Atlantean Atlantis: The Lost Empire created by Marc Okrand
2005 Na'vi Avatar created by Dr. Paul Frommer and James Cameron
2009 Dothraki created by George R. R. Martin and David J. Peterson for Game of Thrones
2013 Kiliki Baahubali: The Beginning, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion created by Madhan Karky for Baahubali: The Beginning

See also


  1. ^ Jamison, Stephanie W. (2008). "Sanskrit". In Woodward, Roger D. (ed.). The Ancient Languages of Asia and the Americas. Cambridge University Press. pp. 6–32. ISBN 978-0-521-68494-1. pp. 6–7.
  2. ^ Witzel, Michael (1997). "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" (PDF). In Witzel, Michael (ed.). Inside the Texts, Beyond the Texts. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies. pp. 257–348. ISBN 978-1-888789-03-4. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-08-04. Retrieved 2018-10-04. p. 259.
  3. ^ Hale, Mark (2008). "Avestan". In Woodward, Roger D. (ed.). The Ancient Languages of Asia and the Americas. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101–122. ISBN 978-0-521-68494-1.
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