What Languages We Teach
Latin is part of the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is ancestral to modern Romance languages. This classical language of the Roman empire was widely used as a language of scholarship and administration for centuries.
The Greek language belongs to the Indo-European language family. The language was used in ancient Greece and subsequently spread to other areas. It was a polycentric language consisting of many dialects, including Attic and Ionic, Doric, Aeolic, and others.
Aramaic language is an endangered language that was originally spoken by the Aramaeans in the ancient region of Syria. It is a member of the North-western Group of the Semitic language family. The language had widespread use in public life, administration, divine worship, and religious studies.
Hebrew is the oldest surviving language. It is the only example of a dead language that has been successfully revived. Hebrew belongs to the Northwest Semitic language group of the Afroasiatic language family. Classical Hebrew or Biblical Hebrew was used between the 10th century BCE and 1st century CE.
Learn Ancient and Dead Languages
Do you know?
Language is the most important tool for communication. It shapes societies and their culture.
7,151 languages are identified that are spoken today
40% of them are considered endangered, with less than 1000 speakers
More than half of the world’s population speaks 23 languages
Everything You Need to Know About Ancient and Dead Languages
Language is like a flowing river. It evolves, transforms, and sometimes gets replaced. Languages that once dominated the world slowly became obscured while new languages took their place.
Political aggression, cultural assimilation, globalization, and global power politics; all have their roles to play in the history of languages. UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger estimates that around 230 languages went extinct between 1950 and 2010.
However, we must remember that ancient and dead languages are not the same as extinct languages. A language becomes extinct when it no longer has any speaker. It is usually a result of cultural dominance when the native speakers are forced to speak another language. Native American languages are classic examples of extinct languages.
On the other hand, a dead language is a language that is still in use in some capacity but is not spoken by any community as a native language. These languages often go through common and divergent changes. Their phonology, syntax, lexicon, and morphology continue to evolve, and they give birth to new languages.
These ancient languages are still well understood by scholars. These languages also hold historical importance. Latin, Ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, Ancient Greek, Sanskrit, and Old High German are some of the examples of dead languages. The truth is these languages never really died. They ceased to be used in daily life. However, their evolved forms are widely used by millions of speakers.
Learning dead languages offers you a greater insight into the modern languages that stemmed from them. It also helps you understand the history and culture better.
Why Learn Ancient Languages?
Is it Hard to Learn Ancient Languages?
Learning an ancient dead language can be pretty challenging. However, the whole drill becomes a little easier when you already know a language that is a descendant of the ancient language you are attempting to learn.
What Makes it Challenging to Learn Ancient Languages?
Learning a dead ancient language can be incredibly hard because the language doesn’t have any native speakers. One of the best ways to become fluent in a language is to immerse yourself in the culture and practice speaking it with native speakers. Both are not possible when you try to learn a dead language.
Difficulties may also arise from the fact that the grammar rules of these languages are often far more complex than that of modern languages. These languages lack many characteristics of modern languages. Moreover, the morphology and syntax of these languages may seem too distant from the languages we speak today.