Top 6 Lost Languages


Every language as a human creation has a cycle and with times it extinct. Like the Latin language that was once spoken as a world language, many of the languages of today will extinct or will blend into each other and create a whole new language. For instance Italian, Spanish and French are “children” of the Latin, with too many root words of it. Not every language had a chance to “survive”. Most languages were forever forgotten as nations of the world were disappearing. This list contains some of the long lost languages during time.

#1. Proto-Indo-European

English, Russian, Farsi, Bengali, Albanian, and Kurdish, among many others, all lead roots from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language, which has been reconstructed by tracing the history of its descendants. It helps that those descendants comprise the most prolific linguistic family in the world. PIE is so ancient that it predates writing. A lot of the knowledge about its phonetics and lexicon are based on educated guesses. There are sounds not present in most other Indo-European languages, so the most accepted hypotheses link them to certain phonemes present in Arabic. PIE remains an influential language as the common heritage of all who speak modern Indo-European languages.


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#2. Hattic

This language of uncertain affiliation and the scientist don’t even know what the Hattians called it. It is called “Hattic” because of the way the Bible refers to the people. It is probably a term of Egyptian or Assyrian origin. The Hattians were inhabitants of the Anatolian plateau, which today is in Turkey. Their language was probably lost after they were assimilated with the Indo-European people who invaded Anatolia. There were attempts to link Hattic to Caucasian languages like Abkhaz, Ubykh, and even Georgian, but evidence remains elusive, mainly due to the scarcity of texts written in the language.


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#3. Iberian

This language was spoken by inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula (today in Spain and Portugal) before the Roman conquest of the area. Some link them to Berber languages, others to modern-day Basque, other believe that it was Celtic. Some linguists are linking Iberian to Etruscan or even Caucasian languages. This language was written in not just one alphabet but three variants of a Phoenician-derived script. Iberian died with the Roman takeover of the country, but some place names and words are thought to have survived in the modern Spanish language.

#4. Etruscan

The last alleged fluent speaker of the Etruscan language was Caesar Claudius. The language that had dominated central Italy for centuries in fierce competition with Latin completely disappeared just like the Latin did. Much of the difficulty of reconstructing Etruscan is its isolation and the scarcity of texts longer than short inscriptions. The only one found so far is a linen book that was reused as wrappings for a mummy. Etruscans developed their own alphabet based on Euboean Greek and had an elaborate literary tradition, but these acknowledgments were simply speculation because it disappeared quite earlier than the Latin. This language gave the world place names like Rome.


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#5. Hunnic

Unfortunately, the Huns never put their language into writing. Only a few words survive, and they were collected by Roman scholars. There is an ongoing debate about how to reconstruct the language spoken by the Huns. The hypotheses link the Huns to the Xiongnu nomads that were the northern neighbors of the Han Chinese. Like the Huns, the Xiongnu were probably illiterate, and all the world knows about them was recorded by their settled neighbors, who were terrified of them. It is still not known whether the Hunnic was a Turkic, Altaic, Indo-European, or even an isolate language, despite the popular opinion among Hungarians that they are related to the Huns.


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#6. Eteocretan

The Minoans of Crete who lived on the island which today is divided to Greece and Turkey, spoke their Linear A language. Eteocretan was most likely the language of the people who wrote the Linear A and the Cretan hieroglyphics. Linguists believe that it was a direct descendant of Old Minoic. Since there have been no successful attempts to decipher the Eteocretan alphabet, no relations to modern languages can be established. There have been attempts to link the Phaistos disk to Eteocretan, but they were unsuccessful.


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1 Response

  1. Michael Boone says:

    Crete is not divided between Greece and Turkey. It is Greek alone. Cyprus is the island divided between Greece and Turkey.