Ancient Indian Languages: In the South in the 5th and 6th centuries, written language flourished. This was because the language took a more spherical shape as in Tulu, Kannada, and Telugu or the angular Tamil.

Sanskrit was a historical Indo-Aryan language. This was the primary spoken language of the Hindus, Jains so also of the Buddhists. Today, in western classical linguistics, Sanskrit occupies a pre-eminent position.

Ancient Indian Languages

This is closely followed by Greek and Latin in Indo-European studies. Classical Sanskrit, on the other hand, was the standard register as laid out in the grammar of Panini, around the 4th century BCE.

Its position in the cultures of Greater India was similar to that of Latin and Greek in Europe. Further, it has significantly also influenced most modern languages of the Indian subcontinent, particularly in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

Vedic Sanskrit

The pre-Classical form of Sanskrit is known as Vedic Sanskrit. Rigveda is the oldest and most archaic stage preserved. Rigveda’s oldest core dates back to as early as 1500 BCE. This qualifies Rigvedic Sanskrit as one of the oldest attestations of any Indo-Iranian language. Also, it becomes one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family. This Indo-European language family includes English and most European languages.

The corpus of Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of poetry and drama. It also incorporates scientific, technical, philosophical and Hindu religious texts. Sanskrit continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals.

Ancient Indian Languages
Ancient India Vedas

These are in the forms of hymns and mantras. Spoken Sanskrit is still in use in a few traditional institutions in India. Additionally, there have been many attempts to revive it as well.

Ancient Indian Languages

Sanskrit is a member of the Indo-Iranian sub-family of the Indo-European family of languages. Its closest ancient relatives are the Iranian languages old Persian and Avestan.

Many scholars have proposed migration hypotheses in order to explain the common features shared by Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages. This hypothesis asserts that the original speakers of what became Sanskrit arrived in what is now India and Pakistan from the north-west. This took place sometime during the early second millennium BCE.

There have been several pieces of evidence for such a theory. These include the close relationship of the Indo-Iranian tongues with the Baltic and Slavic languages, vocabulary exchange with the non-Indo-European Uralic languages, and the nature of the attested Indo-European words for flora and fauna.

Ancient Indian Languages
Sanskrit Alphabet

The earliest attested Sanskrit texts were the ancient Hindu texts of the Rigveda. The Rigveda dates back to the mid-to-late second millennium BCE. No written records from such an early period survive. However, scholars are confident that the oral transmission of the texts is reliable. This was because they were ceremonial literature whose correct pronunciation was considered crucial to its religious efficacy.

Development of Sanskrit Language

The development of the Sanskrit language may be observed in other Vedic texts: the Samaveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda, Brahmanas, and Upanishads. The time span of all these literary ranged from the Rigveda until the time of Panini which is around the 4th century BCE.

During this time, the prestige of the language, its use for sacred purposes, and the importance attached to its correct enunciation all served as powerful conservative forces resisting the normal processes of linguistic change.

However, there was a clear, five-level linguistic development of Vedic from the Rigveda to the language of the Upanishads. This also included the earliest Sutras like the Baudhayana.