I have found that Adam and Eve spoke Adamic language. But for that there is no X-English dictionary. Then in the Tower of Babel they said that the first one was Hebrew, which is my guess here.

Thank you.

  • According to Wikipedia: "The Roman Emperor Claudius (10 BCE – 54 CE) is known to have compiled an Etruscan-Latin dictionary, now lost." Dec 3 '21 at 16:21
  • Much older: Sumerian-Akkadian lexical lists, see languagelearning.stackexchange.com/a/2379/172 – but those don't contain English as well. Dec 3 '21 at 16:28
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    While the question in the title is answerable and OK, the presuppositions in the body of the question aren't shared by professional linguists around the world. Note that English did not exist at all 2000 years ago, the Antecessors of the Anglo-Saxons where still dwelling on the continent and England was populated by speakers of Celtic languages and some Romans. Dec 3 '21 at 16:31
  • I meant a language for which today exists a dictionary between that language and English, i.e. between a language that doesn't exist and a language that exists today.
    – Jan
    Dec 3 '21 at 16:34
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    It's quite hard to understand what you are really asking for, so it is not the age of dictionary (as I first assumed) but the age of the language X you are aiming for? I guess, the answer will be Sumerian, and some people more experienced than me will even be able to quote good Sumerian-English dictionaries in their answers. Dec 3 '21 at 16:39

Sumerian and Egyptian are the two languages we have the oldest understandable written texts from. Which one counts as "older" is a difficult question to answer, because we can't make dictionaries based on just the oldest attested artifact for each—a lot of the information needed to really document the language comes from much later sources. Akkadian could also perhaps lay claim here; the oldest Akkadian records may be younger than the oldest Sumerian and Egyptian ones, but they're older than the bulk of the corpus needed to properly document those languages.

I have found that Adam and Eve spoke Adamic language.
Then in the Tower of Babel they said that the first one was Hebrew

Note that these beliefs are not common among modern scientific linguists. The origin of language in the first place is still a matter of much debate, but it's widely accepted that Hebrew descended from Canaanite descended from Northwest Semitic descended from Proto-Semitic descended from Proto-Afro-Asiatic.


One interpretation of the question is, what was the first language X for which there is an X-English dictionary? The dictionary of syr Thomas Eliot knyght (1538) is probably the first such dictionary: X is Latin. For the other direction (from English to some language) the first bilingual dictionary is Promptorium parvulorum, ca 1440, which is English to Latin.

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