HOME
The Info List - Germanic Languages


--- Advertisement ---



Pontic Steppe

Domestication of the horse Kurgan Kurgan
Kurgan
culture Steppe cultures

Bug-Dniester Sredny Stog Dnieper-Donets Samara Khvalynsk Yamna

Mikhaylovka culture

Caucasus

Maykop

East-Asia

Afanasevo

Eastern Europe

Usatovo Cernavodă Cucuteni

Northern Europe

Corded ware

Baden Middle Dnieper

Bronze Age

Pontic Steppe

Chariot Yamna Catacomb Multi-cordoned ware Poltavka Srubna

Northern/Eastern Steppe

Abashevo culture Andronovo Sintashta

Europe

Globular Amphora Corded ware Beaker Unetice Trzciniec Nordic Bronze Age Terramare Tumulus Urnfield Lusatian

South-Asia

BMAC Yaz Gandhara grave

Iron Age

Steppe

Chernoles

Europe

Thraco-Cimmerian Hallstatt Jastorf

Caucasus

Colchian

India

Painted Grey Ware Northern Black Polished Ware

Peoples and societies

Bronze Age

Anatolians Armenians Mycenaean Greeks Indo-Iranians

Iron Age

Indo-Aryans

Indo-Aryans

Iranians

Iranians

Scythians Persians Medes

Europe

Celts

Gauls Celtiberians Insular Celts

Hellenic peoples Italic peoples Germanic peoples Paleo-Balkans/Anatolia:

Thracians Dacians Illyrians Phrygians

Middle Ages

East-Asia

Tocharians

Europe

Balts Slavs Albanians Medieval Europe

Indo-Aryan

Medieval India

Iranian

Greater Persia

Religion and mythology

Reconstructed

Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
religion Proto-Indo-Iranian religion

Historical

Hittite

Indian

Vedic

Hinduism

Buddhism Jainism

Iranian

Persian

Zoroastrianism

Kurdish

Yazidism Yarsanism

Scythian

Ossetian

Others

Armenian

Europe

Paleo-Balkans Greek Roman Celtic

Irish Scottish Breton Welsh Cornish

Germanic

Anglo-Saxon Continental Norse

Baltic

Latvian Lithuanian

Slavic Albanian

Practices

Fire-sacrifice Horse sacrifice Sati Winter solstice/Yule

Indo-European studies

Scholars

Marija Gimbutas J.P. Mallory

Institutes

Copenhagen Studies in Indo-European

Publications

Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture The Horse, the Wheel and Language Journal of Indo-European Studies Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch Indo-European Etymological Dictionary

v t e

The Germanic languages
Germanic languages
are a branch of the Indo-European language family spoken natively by a population of about 515 million people[nb 1] mainly in Europe, North America, Oceania, and Southern Africa. The West Germanic languages
West Germanic languages
include the three most widely spoken Germanic languages: English with around 360–400 million native speakers;[3][nb 2] German, with over 100 million native speakers;[4] and Dutch, with 23 million native speakers. Other West Germanic languages include Afrikaans, an offshoot of Dutch, with over 7.1 million native speakers;[5] Low German, considered a separate collection of unstandardized dialects, with roughly 0.3 million native speakers and assuming 6.7—10 million people who can understand it[6][7][8] (5 million in Germany[6] and 1.7 million in the Netherlands);[9] Yiddish, once used by approximately 13 million Jews in pre- World War II
World War II
Europe[10] and Scots, both with 1.5 million native speakers; Limburgish
Limburgish
varieties with roughly 1.3 million speakers along the Dutch–Belgian–German border; and the Frisian languages
Frisian languages
with over 0.5 million native speakers in the Netherlands
Netherlands
and Germany. The main North Germanic languages
North Germanic languages
are Danish, Faroese, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish, which have a combined total of about 20 million speakers. The East Germanic
East Germanic
branch included Gothic, Burgundian, and Vandalic, all of which are now extinct. The last to die off was Crimean Gothic, spoken until the late 18th century in some isolated areas of Crimea.[11] The SIL Ethnologue
Ethnologue
lists 48 different living Germanic languages, 41 of which belong to the Western branch and six to the Northern branch; it places Riograndenser Hunsrückisch German in neither of the categories, but it is often considered a German dialect by linguists.[12] The total number of Germanic languages
Germanic languages
throughout history is unknown as some of them, especially the East Germanic languages, disappeared during or after the Migration Period. Some of the West Germanic languages
West Germanic languages
also did not survive past the Migration Period, including Lombardic. As a result of World War II, the German language suffered a significant loss of Sprachraum, as well as moribundness and extinction of several of its dialects. In the 21st century, its dialects are dying out anyway[nb 3] due to Standard German gaining primacy.[13] The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic, also known as Common Germanic, which was spoken in about the middle of the 1st millennium BC in Iron Age
Iron Age
Scandinavia. Proto-Germanic, along with all of its descendants, is characterised by a number of unique linguistic features, most famously the consonant change known as Grimm's law. Early varieties of Germanic entered history with the Germanic tribes
Germanic tribes
moving south from Scandinavia
Scandinavia
in the 2nd century BC, to settle in the area of today's northern Germany
Germany
and southern Denmark.

Contents

1 Modern status

1.1 West Germanic
West Germanic
languages 1.2 North Germanic
North Germanic
languages 1.3 Statistics

2 History 3 Characteristics 4 Linguistic developments 5 Common linguistic features

5.1 Phonology

5.1.1 Table of outcomes

5.2 Morphology

5.2.1 Strong vs. weak nouns and adjectives

6 Classification

6.1 Diachronic 6.2 Contemporary

7 Writing 8 Vocabulary comparison 9 See also 10 Footnotes 11 Notes 12 Sources

12.1 Germanic languages
Germanic languages
in general 12.2 Proto-Germanic 12.3 Old Norse 12.4 Old English 12.5 Old High German

13 External links

Modern status[edit] West Germanic
West Germanic
languages[edit] English is an official language of Belize, Canada, Falkland Islands, Malta, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, Philippines, Jamaica, Dominica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, American Samoa, Palau, St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Puerto Rico, Guam, Hong Kong, Pakistan, India, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
and former British colonies in Asia, Africa
Africa
and Oceania. Furthermore, it is the de facto language of the United Kingdom, the United States
United States
and Australia. It is also a recognized language in Nicaragua[14] and Malaysia. American English-speakers make up the majority of all native Germanic speakers, including also making up the bulk of West Germanic
West Germanic
speakers. German is an official language of Austria, Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
and Switzerland
Switzerland
and has regional status in Italy, Poland, Namibia
Namibia
and Denmark. German also continues to be spoken as a minority language by immigrant communities in North America, South America, Central America, Mexico
Mexico
and Australia. A German dialect, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Dutch, is still present amongst Anabaptist populations in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
in the United States. Dutch is an official language of Aruba, Belgium, Curaçao, the Netherlands, Sint Maarten, and Suriname.[15] The Netherlands
Netherlands
also colonised Indonesia, but Dutch was scrapped as an official language after Indonesian independence
Indonesian independence
and today it is only used by older or traditionally educated people. Dutch was until 1925 an official language in South Africa
South Africa
but evolved in and was replaced by Afrikaans, a partially mutually intelligible[16] daughter language of Dutch. Afrikaans
Afrikaans
is one of the 11 official languages in South Africa
South Africa
and is a lingua franca of Namibia. It is used in other Southern African nations, as well. Low German
Low German
is a collection of very diverse dialects spoken in the northeast of the Netherlands
Netherlands
and northern Germany. Scots is spoken in Lowland Scotland
Scotland
and parts of Ulster
Ulster
(where the local dialect is known as Ulster
Ulster
Scots).[17] Frisian is spoken among half a million people who live on the southern fringes of the North Sea
North Sea
in the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. Luxembourgish
Luxembourgish
is a Moselle Franconian dialect that is spoken mainly in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, where it is considered to be an official language.[18] Similar varieties of Moselle Franconian are spoken in small parts of Belgium, France, and Germany. Yiddish, once a native language of some 11 to 13 million people, is used by some Jewish communities throughout the world, mainly in North America, Europe, Israel, and other regions with Jewish populations.[10] Limburgish
Limburgish
varieties are spoken in the Limburg and Rhineland
Rhineland
regions, along the Dutch–Belgian–German border. North Germanic
North Germanic
languages[edit] In addition to being the official language in Sweden, Swedish is also spoken natively by the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland, which is a large part of the population along the coast of western and southern Finland. Swedish is also one of the two official languages in Finland, along with Finnish, and the only official language in the Åland Islands. Swedish is also spoken by some people in Estonia. Danish is an official language of Denmark
Denmark
and in its overseas territory of the Faroe Islands, and it is a lingua franca and language of education in its other overseas territory of Greenland, where it was one of the official languages until 2009. Danish is also spoken natively by the Danish minority in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, where it is recognised as a minority language. Norwegian is the official language of Norway. Icelandic is the official language of Iceland. Faroese is the official language of the Faroe Islands, and it is also spoken by some people in Denmark. Statistics[edit]

Germanic languages
Germanic languages
by share ( West Germanic
West Germanic
in yellow-red shades and North Germanic
North Germanic
in blue shades):[nb 4]   English (69.9%)   German (19.4%)   Dutch (4.5%)    Afrikaans
Afrikaans
(1.4%)   Other West Germanic
West Germanic
(1%)   Swedish (1.8%)   Danish (1.1%)   Norwegian (1%)   Other North Germanic
North Germanic
(0.1%)

Germanic languages
Germanic languages
by number of native speakers (million)

Language Native speakers[nb 5]

English 360–400[3]

German (Deutsch) 100[19][nb 6]

Dutch (Nederlands) 23[20]

Swedish (Svenska) 9.2[21]

Afrikaans
Afrikaans
(Afrikaans) 7.1[22]

Danish (Dansk) 5.5[23]

Norwegian (Norsk) 5[24]

Yiddish
Yiddish
(ייִדיש) 1.5[25]

Scots (Scots) 1.5[26]

Limburgish
Limburgish
(Lèmburgs) 1.3[27]

Frisian (Frysk/Noordfreesk/Seeltersk) 0.5[28]

Luxembourgish
Luxembourgish
(Lëtzebuergesch) 0.4[29]

Low German
Low German
(Platt/Neddersassch/Leegsaksies) 0.3[30]

Icelandic (Íslenska) 0.3[31]

Faroese (Føroyskt) 0.07[32]

Other Germanic languages 0.01[nb 7]

Total est. 515[nb 8]

History[edit]

The expansion of the Germanic tribes
Germanic tribes
750 BC – AD 1 (after the Penguin Atlas of World History 1988):    Settlements before 750 BC    New settlements by 500 BC    New settlements by 250 BC    New settlements by AD 1

The approximate extent of Germanic languages
Germanic languages
in the early 10th century.:   Old West Norse   Old East Norse   Old Gutnish    Old English
Old English
(West Germanic)   Continental West Germanic languages
West Germanic languages
(Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Old Dutch, Old High German).    Crimean Gothic (East Germanic)

All Germanic languages
Germanic languages
are thought to be descended from a hypothetical Proto-Germanic, united by subjection to the sound shifts of Grimm's law and Verner's law. These probably took place during the Pre-Roman Iron Age
Iron Age
of Northern Europe
Europe
from c. 500 BC. Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
itself was likely spoken after c. 500 BC,[34] and Proto-Norse
Proto-Norse
from the 2nd century AD and later is still quite close to reconstructed Proto-Germanic, but other common innovations separating Germanic from Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
suggest a common history of pre-Proto-Germanic speakers throughout the Nordic Bronze Age. From the time of their earliest attestation, the Germanic varieties are divided into three groups: West, East, and North Germanic. Their exact relation is difficult to determine from the sparse evidence of runic inscriptions. The western group would have formed in the late Jastorf culture, and the eastern group may be derived from the 1st-century variety of Gotland, leaving southern Sweden
Sweden
as the original location of the northern group. The earliest period of Elder Futhark
Elder Futhark
(2nd to 4th centuries) predates the division in regional script variants, and linguistically essentially still reflect the Common Germanic
Common Germanic
stage. Vimose inscriptions
Vimose inscriptions
AD 160, are the oldest Germanic writing. The earliest coherent Germanic text preserved is the 4th century Gothic translation of the New Testament
New Testament
by Ulfilas. Early testimonies of West Germanic
West Germanic
are in Old Frankish/ Old Dutch
Old Dutch
(the 5th century Bergakker inscription), Old High German
Old High German
(scattered words and sentences 6th century and coherent texts 9th century), and Old English
Old English
(oldest texts 650, coherent texts 10th century). North Germanic
North Germanic
is only attested in scattered runic inscriptions, as Proto-Norse, until it evolves into Old Norse
Old Norse
by about 800. Longer runic inscriptions survive from the 8th and 9th centuries (Eggjum stone, Rök stone), longer texts in the Latin
Latin
alphabet survive from the 12th century (Íslendingabók), and some skaldic poetry dates back to as early as the 9th century. By about the 10th century, the varieties had diverged enough to make inter-comprehensibility difficult. The linguistic contact of the Viking
Viking
settlers of the Danelaw
Danelaw
with the Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxons
left traces in the English language
English language
and is suspected to have facilitated the collapse of Old English
Old English
grammar that resulted in Middle English
Middle English
from the 12th century. The East Germanic languages
East Germanic languages
were marginalized from the end of the Migration period. The Burgundians, Goths, and Vandals
Vandals
became linguistically assimilated by their respective neighbors by about the 7th century, with only Crimean Gothic lingering on until the 18th century. During the early Middle Ages, the West Germanic languages
West Germanic languages
were separated by the insular development of Middle English
Middle English
on one hand and by the High German consonant shift
High German consonant shift
on the continent on the other, resulting in Upper German
Upper German
and Low Saxon, with graded intermediate Central German
Central German
varieties. By early modern times, the span had extended into considerable differences, ranging from Highest Alemannic in the South to Northern Low Saxon in the North, and, although both extremes are considered German, they are hardly mutually intelligible. The southernmost varieties had completed the second sound shift, while the northern varieties remained unaffected by the consonant shift. The North Germanic
North Germanic
languages, on the other hand, remained unified until well past 1000 AD, and in fact the mainland Scandinavian languages still largely retain mutual intelligibility into modern times. The main split in these languages is between the mainland languages and the island languages to the west, especially Icelandic, which has maintained the grammar of Old Norse
Old Norse
virtually unchanged, while the mainland languages have diverged greatly. Characteristics[edit] Germanic languages
Germanic languages
possess a number of defining features compared with other Indo-European languages. Probably the most well-known are the following:

The sound changes known as Grimm's Law and Verner's Law, which shifted the values of all the Indo-European stop consonants (for example, original */t d dh/ became Germanic */θ t d/ in most cases; compare three with Latin
Latin
tres, two with Latin
Latin
duo, do with Sanskrit
Sanskrit
dha-). The recognition of these two sound laws were seminal events in the understanding of the regular nature of linguistic sound change and the development of the comparative method, which forms the basis of modern historical linguistics. The development of a strong stress on the first syllable of the word, which triggered significant phonological reduction of all other syllables. This is responsible for the reduction of most of the basic English, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish words into monosyllables, and the common impression of modern English and German as consonant-heavy languages. Examples are Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
*strangiþō → strength, *aimaitijō → "ant", *haubudan → "head", *hauzijanan → "hear", *harubistaz → German Herbst "autumn, harvest", *hagatusjō → German Hexe "witch, hag". A change known as Germanic umlaut, which modified vowel qualities when a high front vocalic segment (/i/, /iː/ or /j/) followed in the next syllable. Generally, back vowels were fronted, and front vowels were raised. In many languages, the modified vowels are indicated with a diaeresis (e.g., ä ö ü in German, pronounced /ɛ ø y/, respectively). This change resulted in pervasive alternations in related words — still extremely prominent in modern German but present only in remnants in modern English (e.g., mouse/mice, goose/geese, broad/breadth, tell/told, old/elder, foul/filth, gold/gild[35]). Large numbers of vowel qualities. English is typical in this respect, with around 11–12 vowels in most dialects (not counting diphthongs). Standard Swedish has 17 pure vowels (monophthongs),[36] standard German and Dutch 14, and Danish at least 11.[37] The Amstetten dialect of Bavarian German
Bavarian German
has 13 distinctions among long vowels alone, one of the largest such inventories in the world.[38] Verb
Verb
second (V2) word order, which is uncommon cross-linguistically. Exactly one noun phrase or adverbial element must precede the verb; in particular, if an adverb or prepositional phrase precedes the verb, then the subject must immediately follow the finite verb. This is now largely absent in modern English, except in sentences beginning with "Here is," "There is," "Here comes," "There goes," and related expressions, as well as in a few relic sentences such as "Over went the boat", "Pop Goes The Weasel", the palindrome "Able was I ere I saw Elba" or "Boom goes the dynamite", and in most if not all (if not an absolute) of the five Ws and an H questions e.g. "What has happened here?", "Who was here today?", "Where will we go?", "When did he go to the stadium?", "Why would this happen to us now?", and "How could these things get here?", but is found in all other modern Germanic languages.

Other significant characteristics are:

The reduction of the various tense and aspect combinations of the Indo-European verbal system into only two: the present tense and the past tense (also called the preterite). A large class of verbs that use a dental suffix (/d/ or /t/) instead of vowel alternation (Indo-European ablaut) to indicate past tense. These are called the Germanic weak verbs; the remaining verbs with vowel ablaut are the Germanic strong verbs. A distinction in definiteness of a noun phrase that is marked by different sets of inflectional endings for adjectives, the so-called strong and weak adjectives. A similar development happened in the Balto-Slavic languages. This distinction has been lost in modern English but was present in Old English
Old English
and remains in all other Germanic languages
Germanic languages
to various degrees. Some words with etymologies that are difficult to link to other Indo-European families but with variants that appear in almost all Germanic languages. See Germanic substrate hypothesis.

Note that some of the above characteristics were not present in Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
but developed later as areal features that spread from language to language:

Germanic umlaut
Germanic umlaut
only affected the North and West Germanic
West Germanic
languages (which represent all modern Germanic languages) but not the now-extinct East Germanic
East Germanic
languages, such as Gothic, nor Proto-Germanic, the common ancestor of all Germanic languages. The large inventory of vowel qualities is a later development, due to a combination of Germanic umlaut
Germanic umlaut
and the tendency in many Germanic languages for pairs of long/short vowels of originally identical quality to develop distinct qualities, with the length distinction sometimes eventually lost. Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
had only five distinct vowel qualities, although there were more actual vowel phonemes because length and possibly nasality were phonemic. In modern German, long-short vowel pairs still exist but are also distinct in quality. Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
probably had a more general S-O-V-I word order. However, the tendency toward V2 order may have already been present in latent form and may be related to Wackernagel's Law, an Indo-European law dictating that sentence clitics must be placed second.[39]

Roughly speaking, Germanic languages
Germanic languages
differ in how conservative or how progressive each language is with respect to an overall trend toward analyticity. Some, such as Icelandic and, to a lesser extent, German, have preserved much of the complex inflectional morphology inherited from Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
(and in turn from Proto-Indo-European). Others, such as English, Swedish, and Afrikaans, have moved toward a largely analytic type. Linguistic developments[edit] The subgroupings of the Germanic languages
Germanic languages
are defined by shared innovations. It is important to distinguish innovations from cases of linguistic conservatism. That is, if two languages in a family share a characteristic that is not observed in a third language, that is evidence of common ancestry of the two languages only if the characteristic is an innovation compared to the family's proto-language. The following innovations are common to the Northwest Germanic languages (all but Gothic):

The lowering of /u/ to /o/ in initial syllables before /a/ in the following syllable ("a-Umlaut", traditionally called Brechung) "Labial umlaut" in unstressed medial syllables (the conversion of /a/ to /u/ and /ō/ to /ū/ before /m/, or /u/ in the following syllable)[40] The conversion of /ē1/ into /ā/ (vs. Gothic /ē/) in stressed syllables.[41] In unstressed syllables, West Germanic
West Germanic
also has this change, but North Germanic
North Germanic
has shortened the vowel to /e/, then raised it to /i/. This suggests it was an areal change. The raising of final /ō/ to /u/ (Gothic lowers it to /a/). It is kept distinct from the nasal /ǭ/, which is not raised. The monophthongisation of /ai/ and /au/ to /ē/ and /ō/ in non-initial syllables (however, evidence for the development of /au/ in medial syllables is lacking). The development of an intensified demonstrative ending in /s/ (reflected in English "this" compared to "the") Introduction of a distinct ablaut grade in Class VII strong verbs, while Gothic uses reduplication (e.g. Gothic haihait; ON, OE hēt, preterite of the Gmc verb *haitan "to be called")[42] as part of a comprehensive reformation of the Gmc Class VII from a reduplicating to a new ablaut pattern, which presumably started in verbs beginning with vowel or /h/[43] (a development which continues the general trend of de-reduplication in Gmc[44]); there are forms (such as OE dial. heht instead of hēt) which retain traces of reduplication even in West and North Germanic

The following innovations are also common to the Northwest Germanic languages but represent areal changes:

Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/z/ > /r/ (e.g. Gothic dius; ON dȳr, OHG tior, OE dēor, "wild animal"); note that this is not present in Proto-Norse and must be ordered after West Germanic
West Germanic
loss of final /z/ Germanic umlaut

The following innovations are common to the West Germanic
West Germanic
languages:

Loss of final /z/. In single-syllable words, Old High German
Old High German
retains it (as /r/), while it disappears in the other West Germanic
West Germanic
languages. Change of [ð] (fricative allophone of /d/) to stop [d] in all environments. Change of /lþ/ to stop /ld/ (except word-finally).[45] West Germanic gemination of consonants, except r, before /j/. This only occurred in short-stemmed words due to Sievers' law. Gemination of /p/, /t/, /k/ and /h/ is also observed before liquids. Labiovelar consonants become plain velar when non-initial. A particular type of umlaut /e-u-i/ > /i-u-i/. The change of /b/ or /g/ to /w/ before nasal consonant.[46] Changes to the 2nd person singular past-tense: Replacement of the past-singular stem vowel with the past-plural stem vowel, and substitution of the ending -t with -ī. Short forms (*stān, stēn, *gān, gēn) of the verbs for "stand" and "go"; but note that Crimean Gothic also has gēn. The development of a gerund.

The following innovations are common to the Ingvaeonic
Ingvaeonic
subgroup of the West Germanic
West Germanic
languages, which includes English, Frisian, and in a few cases Dutch and Low German, but not High German:

The so-called Ingvaeonic
Ingvaeonic
nasal spirant law, with loss of /n/ before voiceless fricatives: e.g. *munþ, *gans > Old English
Old English
mūþ, gōs > "mouth, goose", but German Mund, Gans. The loss of the Germanic reflexive pronoun. The reduction of the three Germanic verbal plural forms into one form ending in -þ. The development of Class III weak verbs into a relic class consisting of four verbs (*sagjan "to say", *hugjan "to think", *habjan "to have", *libjan "to live"; cf. the numerous Old High German
Old High German
verbs in -ēn). The split of the Class II weak verb ending *-ō- into *-ō-/-ōja- (cf. Old English
Old English
-ian < -ōjan, but Old High German
Old High German
-ōn). Development of a plural ending *-ōs in a-stem nouns (note, Gothic also has -ōs, but this is an independent development, caused by terminal devoicing of *-ōz; Old Frisian has -ar, which is thought to be a late borrowing from Danish). Cf. modern English plural -(e)s, but German plural -e. Possibly, the monophthongization of Germanic *ai to ē/ā (this may represent independent changes in Old Saxon
Old Saxon
and Anglo-Frisian).

The following innovations are common to the Anglo-Frisian
Anglo-Frisian
subgroup of the Ingvaeonic
Ingvaeonic
languages:

Raising of nasalized a, ā into o, ō. Anglo-Frisian
Anglo-Frisian
brightening: Fronting of non-nasal a, ā to æ,ǣ when not followed by n or m. Metathesis of CrV into CVr, where C represents any consonant and V any vowel. Monophthongization of ai into ā.

Common linguistic features[edit] Phonology[edit] The oldest Germanic languages
Germanic languages
all share a number of features, which are assumed to be inherited from Proto-Germanic. Phonologically, it includes the important sound changes known as Grimm's Law and Verner's Law, which introduced a large number of fricatives; late Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
had only one, /s/. The main vowel developments are the merging (in most circumstances) of long and short /a/ and /o/, producing short /a/ and long /ō/. That likewise affected the diphthongs, with PIE /ai/ and /oi/ merging into /ai/ and PIE /au/ and /ou/ merging into /au/. PIE /ei/ developed into long /ī/. PIE long /ē/ developed into a vowel denoted as /ē1/ (often assumed to be phonetically [ǣ]), while a new, fairly uncommon long vowel /ē2/ developed in varied and not completely understood circumstances. Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
had no front rounded vowels, but all Germanic languages
Germanic languages
except for Gothic subsequently developed them through the process of i-umlaut. Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
developed a strong stress accent on the first syllable of the root, but remnants of the original free PIE accent are visible due to Verner's Law, which was sensitive to this accent). That caused a steady erosion of vowels in unstressed syllables. In Proto-Germanic, that had progressed only to the point that absolutely-final short vowels (other than /i/ and /u/) were lost and absolutely-final long vowels were shortened, but all of the early literary languages show a more advanced state of vowel loss. This ultimately resulted in some languages (like Modern English) losing practically all vowels following the main stress and the consequent rise of a very large number of monosyllabic words. Table of outcomes[edit] The following table shows the main outcomes of Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
vowels and consonants in the various older languages. For vowels, only the outcomes in stressed syllables are shown. Outcomes in unstressed syllables are quite different, vary from language to language and depend on a number of other factors (such as whether the syllable was medial or final, whether the syllable was open or closed and (in some cases) whether the preceding syllable was light or heavy). Notes:

C- means before a vowel (word-initially, or sometimes after a consonant). -C- means between vowels. -C means after a vowel (word-finally or before a consonant). Word-final outcomes generally occurred after deletion of final short vowels, which occurred shortly after Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
and is reflected in the history of all written languages except for Proto-Norse. The above three are given in the order C-, -C-, -C. If one is omitted, the previous one applies. For example, f, -[v]- means that [v] occurs after a vowel regardless of what follows. Something like a(…u) means "a if /u/ occurs in the next syllable". Something like a(n) means "a if /n/ immediately follows". Something like (n)a means "a if /n/ immediately precedes".

Development of Germanic sounds

Proto-Germanic[47][48] (Pre-)Gothic[a][49][50] Old Norse[51] Old English[52][53][54][55][56][57][58] Old High German[59][60]

a a a, ɔ(…u)[b] æ, a(…a),[c] a/o(n), æ̆ă(h,rC,lC)[d] a

a(…i)[e] e, ø(…u)[b] e, æ, ĭy̆(h,rC,lC)[d] e, a(hs,ht,Cw)

ãː aː aː oː aː

ãː(…i)[e] æː eː äː

æː eː, ɛː(V) aː æː, æa(h)[d] aː

æː(…i)[e] æː æː äː

e i, ɛ(h,hʷ,r) ja,[f] jø(…u),[b] (w,r,l)e, (w,r,l)ø(…u)[b] e, ĕŏ(h,w,rC)[d] e, i(…u)

e(…i)[e] i, y(…w)[b] i i

eː eː, ɛː(V) eː eː ie

i i, ɛ(h,hʷ,r) i, y(…w)[b] i, ĭŭ(h,w,rC)[d] i

iː iː iː iː, iu(h) iː

oː oː, ɔː(V) oː oː uo

oː(…i)[e] øː eː üö

u u, ɔ(h,hʷ,r) u, o(…a)[c] u, o(…a)[c] u, o(…a)[c]

u(…i)[e] y y ü

uː uː, ɔː(V) uː uː uː

uː(…i)[e] yː yː üː

ai ai[a] ei, ey(…w),[b] aː(h,r)[g] aː ei, eː(r,h,w,#)[h]

ai(…i)[e] ei, æː(h,r) æː

au au[a] au, oː(h) æa ou, oː(h,T)[i]

au(…i)[e] ey, øː(h) iy öü, öː(h,T)[i]

eu iu juː, joː(T)[j] eo io, iu(…i/u)[c]

eu(…i)[e] yː iy

p p p p pf-, -ff-, -f

t t t t ts-, -ss-, -s[k]

k k k k, tʃ(i,e,æ)-, -k-, -(i)tʃ-, -tʃ(i)-[l] k-, -xx-, -x

kʷ kʷ kv, -k kw-, -k-, -(i)tʃ-, -tʃ(i)-[l] kw-, -xx-, -x

b-, -[β]-[m] b-, -[β]-, -f b-, -[v]- b-, -[v]-, -f b

d-, -[ð]-[m] d-, -[ð]-, -þ d-, -[ð]- d t

[ɣ]-, -[ɣ]-[m] g-, -[ɣ]-, -[x] g-, -[ɣ]- g-, j(æ,e,i)-, -[ɣ]-, -j(æ,e,i)-, -(æ,e,i)j-[l] g

f f f, -[v]- f, -[v]-, -f f

þ þ þ, -[ð]- þ, -[ð]-, -þ d

x h h, -∅- h, -∅-, -h h

xʷ hʷ xv, -∅- hw, -∅-, -h hw, -h-

s s s-, -[z]- s-, -[z]-, -s ṣ-, -[ẓ]-, -ṣ[k]

z -z-, -s r -r-, -∅ -r-, -∅

r[n] r r r r

l l l l l

n n n-, -∅(s,p,t,k),[o] -∅[p] n, -∅(f,s,þ)[o] n

m m m m m

j[q] j ∅-, -j-, -∅ j j

w[q] w ∅-, v-(a,e,i), -v-, -∅ w w

^ a b c The Gothic writing system uses the spelling ⟨ai⟩ to represent vowels that derive primarily from four different sources:

Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/ai/ Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/eː/ and /æː/ before vowels Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/e/ and /i/ before /h/, /hʷ/ and /r/ Greek /ɛ/.

The spelling ⟨au⟩ is similarly used to represent vowels primarily deriving from the following four sources:

Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/au/ Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/oː/ and /uː/ before vowels Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/u/ before /h/, /hʷ/ and /r/ Greek /ɔ/.

It is generally agreed that the outcome of case 2 was pronounced [ɛː/ɔː] in Gothic, distinct from the vowels written ⟨e⟩ and ⟨o⟩, which were pronounced [eː/oː]. Likewise, it is generally agreed that the outcomes of cases 3 and 4 were pronounced [ɛ] and [ɔ] in Gothic. However, there is some argument over whether the outcomes of case 1 were still pronounced as diphthongs [ai/au], as in Proto-Germanic, or had merged with case 2 as monophthongs [ɛː/ɔː]. There is some historical evidence (particularly from Latin
Latin
spelling variations of Gaut- vs. Gōt-, used to represent the name of the Goths) that the Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
diphthongs had changed into monophthongs shortly before (i.e., within a century of) the time of Wulfila, who designed the Gothic alphabet
Gothic alphabet
and wrote the Gothic Bible c. 360 AD. This accords with the fact that Wulfila
Wulfila
used the same symbols ⟨ai/au⟩ to represent all the outcomes, despite the fact that the spellings ⟨aj/aw⟩ were available to unambiguously represent diphthongs (and, in fact, alternate with ⟨ai/au⟩ in a number of nominal and verbal paradigms). The use of the spelling ⟨ai⟩ to represent a monophthong [ɛ(ː)] was evidently in imitation of 4th century Greek, where ⟨ai⟩ likewise stood for [ɛː], and ⟨au⟩ was apparently created by analogy. Consistent with many sources (e.g., Bennett (1980)), the phonology described here is that of "Pre-Gothic" (i.e., the phonology of Gothic just before the monophthongization of /ai/ and /au/). ^ a b c d e f g In Old Norse, non-rounded vowels become rounded when a /u/ or /w/ follows in the next syllable, in a process known as u-umlaut. Some vowels were affected similarly, but only by a following /w/; this process is sometimes termed w-umlaut. These processes operated after i-umlaut. U-umlaut (by a following /u/ or /w/) caused /a/, /ja/ (broken /e/), /aː/, and /e/ to round to /ɔ/ (written o̧), /jɔ/ (written jo̧), /ɔː/ (written ó̧ and later unrounded again to /aː/), and /ø/, respectively. The vowels /i/ and /ai/ rounded to /y/ and /ey/, respectively, only before /w/. Short /a/ become /ø/ by a combination of i-umlaut and w-umlaut. ^ a b c d e A process known as a-mutation or a-umlaut caused short /u/ to lower to /o/ before a non-high vowel (usually /a/) in the following syllable. All languages except Gothic were affected, although there are various exceptions in all the languages. Two similar process later operated:

In Old High German, /iu/ (from Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/eu/,/iu/) became /io/ before a non-high vowel in the next syllable. In Old English, /æ/ (from Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/a/) became /a/ before /a/ in the next syllable.

All of these processes were blocked in an i-umlaut context (i.e. by a following /j/). ^ a b c d e The diphthongal results are due to Old English
Old English
breaking. In general, front vowels break into diphthongs before some subset of h, w, rC, and lC, where C is a consonant. The diphthong /æa/ is written ea; /eo/ is written eo; /iu/ is written io; and /iy/ is written ie. All diphthongs umlaut to /iy/ ie. All diphthongs occur both long and short. Note that there is significant dispute about the actual pronunciation of io and (especially) ie. Their interpretation as /iu/ and /iy/, respectively, follows Lass (1994), Old English: A historical linguistic companion. ^ a b c d e f g h i j All languages except Gothic were affected by i-umlaut. This was the most significant of the various umlaut processes operating in the Germanic languages, and caused back vowels to become fronted, and front vowels to be raised, when /i/, /iː/ or /j/ followed in the next syllable. The term i-umlaut actually refers to two separate processes that both were triggered in the same environment. The earlier process raised /e/ and /eu/ to /i/ and /iu/, respectively, and may have operated still in Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
(with its effects in Gothic obscured due to later changes). The later process affected all back vowels and some front vowels; it operated independently in the various languages, occurring at differing times with differing results. Old English
Old English
was the earliest and most-affected language, with nearly all vowels affected. Old High German
Old High German
was the last language to be affected; the only written evidence of the process is with short /a/, which is umlauted to /e/. However, later evidence suggests that other back vowels were also affected, perhaps still sub-phonemically in Old High German
Old High German
times. These are indicated with a diaeresis or "umlaut" symbol (two dots) placed over the affected vowels. ^ Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/e/ usually became Old Norse
Old Norse
/ja/ by a process known as vowel breaking. ^ Before Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/x/, /xʷ/ or /r/, but not before Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/z/ (which only merged with /r/ much later in North Germanic). Cf. Old Norse
Old Norse
árr (masc.) "messenger" < PG *airuz, ár (fem.) "oar" < PG *airō, vs. eir (fem.) "honor" < PG *aizō, eir (neut.) "bronze" < PG *aizan. (All four become ār in Old English; in Gothic, they become, respectively, airus, (unattested), *aiza, *aiz.) Cf. Köbler, Gerhard. "Altenglisches Wörterbuch" (PDF).  ^ Before /r/, /h/ (including when derived from Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/xʷ/) or /w/, or word-finally. ^ a b Before /h/ (including when derived from Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/xʷ/) or before any dental consonant, i.e. /s/,/z/,/þ/,/t/,/d/,/r/,/l/,/n/. ^ Before any dental consonant, i.e. /s/,/z/,/þ/,/t/,/d/,/r/,/l/,/n/. ^ a b The result of the High German consonant shift
High German consonant shift
produced a different sort of s than the original Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
s. The former was written ⟨z⟩ and the latter ⟨s⟩. It is thought that the former was a dental /s/, somewhat like in English, while the latter was an "apicoalveolar" sound as in modern European Spanish, sounding somewhere between English /s/ and /ʃ/. (Joos, Martin (1952). "The Medieval Sibilants". Language. 28 (2): 222–231. doi:10.2307/410515. ) Modern standard German has /ʃ/ for this sound in some contexts, e.g. initially before a consonant (schlimm cf. English slim; Stand /ʃtant/, cf. English stand), and after /r/ (Arsch, cf. English arse). A number of modern southern German dialects have /ʃ/ for this sound before all consonants, whether or not word-initially. ^ a b c Old English
Old English
palatalizes /k,g,ɣ/ to /tʃ,dʒ,j/ near a front vowel. The sounds /k/ and /ɣ/ palatalized initially before any front vowel. Elsewhere /ɣ/ palatalized before /j/ or before or after any front vowel, where /k/ and /g/ (which occurred only in the combinations /gg/, /ng/) palatalized before /j/, or either before or after /i,iː/. ^ a b c Voiced fricatives were originally allophones of voiced stops, when occurring after a vowel or after certain consonants (and for /g/, also initially — hard [g] occurred only in the combinations /gg/, /ng/). In Old Norse
Old Norse
and Old English, voiceless fricatives became voiced between vowels (and finally after a vowel in Old Norse); as a result, voiced fricatives were reanalyzed as allophones of voiceless fricatives. In Old High German, all voiced fricatives hardened into stops. ^ In the early periods of the various languages, the sound written /r/ may have been strongly velarized, as in modern American English
American English
(Lass 1994); this is one possible explanation for the various processes were triggered by h (probably [x]) and r. ^ a b Old English
Old English
and Old Norse
Old Norse
lose /n/ before certain consonants, with the previous vowel lengthened (in Old Norse, the following consonant is also lengthened). ^ /n/ lost finally and before /s,p,t,k/, but not before other consonants. ^ a b Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
/j/ and /w/ were often lost between vowels in all languages, often with /j/ or /w/ later reappearing to break the hiatus, and not always corresponding to the sound previously present. After a consonant, Gothic consistently preserved /j/ and /w/, but most languages deleted /j/ (after triggering i-umlaut), and /w/ sometimes disappeared. The loss of /j/ after a consonant occurred in the various languages at different times and to differing degrees. For example, /j/ was still present in most circumstances in written Old Saxon, and was still present in Old Norse
Old Norse
when a short vowel preceded and a back vowel followed; but in Old English
Old English
and Old High German, /j/ only remained after an /r/ preceded by a short vowel.

Morphology[edit] The oldest Germanic languages
Germanic languages
have the typical complex inflected morphology of old Indo-European languages, with four or five noun cases; verbs marked for person, number, tense and mood; multiple noun and verb classes; few or no articles; and rather free word order. The old Germanic languages
Germanic languages
are famous for having only two tenses (present and past), with three PIE past-tense aspects (imperfect, aorist, and perfect/stative) merged into one and no new tenses (future, pluperfect, etc.) developing. There were three moods: indicative, subjunctive (developed from the PIE optative mood) and imperative. Gothic verbs had a number of archaic features inherited from PIE that were lost in the other Germanic languages
Germanic languages
with few traces, including dual endings, an inflected passive voice (derived from the PIE mediopassive voice), and a class of verbs with reduplication in the past tense (derived from the PIE perfect). The complex tense system of modern English (e.g. In three months, the house will still be being built or If you had not acted so stupidly, we would never have been caught) is almost entirely due to subsequent developments (although paralleled in many of the other Germanic languages). Among the primary innovations in Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
are the preterite present verbs, a special set of verbs whose present tense looks like the past tense of other verbs and which is the origin of most modal verbs in English; a past-tense ending (in the so-called "weak verbs", marked with -ed in English) that appears variously as /d/ or /t/, often assumed to be derived from the verb "to do"; and two separate sets of adjective endings, originally corresponding to a distinction between indefinite semantics ("a man", with a combination of PIE adjective and pronoun endings) and definite semantics ("the man", with endings derived from PIE n-stem nouns). Note that most modern Germanic languages
Germanic languages
have lost most of the inherited inflectional morphology as a result of the steady attrition of unstressed endings triggered by the strong initial stress. (Contrast, for example, the Balto-Slavic languages, which have largely kept the Indo-European pitch accent and consequently preserved much of the inherited morphology.) Icelandic and to a lesser extent modern German best preserve the Proto–Germanic inflectional system, with four noun cases, three genders, and well-marked verbs. English and Afrikaans
Afrikaans
are at the other extreme, with almost no remaining inflectional morphology. The following shows a typical masculine a-stem noun, Proto-Germanic *fiskaz ("fish"), and its development in the various old literary languages:

Declension of a-stem noun *fiskaz "fish" in various languages[61]

Proto-Germanic Gothic Old Norse Old High German Middle High German Modern German Old English Old Saxon Old Frisian

Singular Nominative *fisk-az fisk-s fisk-r visk visch Fisch fisc fisc fisk

Vocative *fisk fisk

Accusative *fisk-ą fisk fisk

Genitive *fisk-as, -is fisk-is fisk-s visk-es visch-es Fisch-es[62] fisc-es < fisc-æs fisc-as, -es fisk-is, -es

Dative *fisk-ai fisk-a fisk-i visk-a visch-e Fisch-(e)[63] fisc-e < fisc-æ fisc-a, -e fisk-a, -i, -e

Instrumental *fisk-ō fisk-a — visk-u — — fisc-e < fisc-i[64] fisc-u —

Plural Nominative, Vocative *fisk-ôs, -ôz fisk-ōs fisk-ar visk-a visch-e Fisch-e fisc-as fisc-ōs, -ās fisk-ar, -a

Accusative *fisk-anz fisk-ans fisk-a visk-ā

Genitive *fisk-ǫ̂ fisk-ē fisk-a visk-ō fisc-a fisc-ō, -ā fisk-a

Dative *fisk-amaz fisk-am fisk-um, -om visk-um visch-en Fisch-en fisc-um fisc-un, -on fisk-um, -on, -em

Instrumental *fisk-amiz — — — — — — — —

Strong vs. weak nouns and adjectives[edit] Originally, adjectives in Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
followed the same declensional classes as nouns. The most common class (the o/ā class) used a combination of o-stem endings for masculine and neuter genders and ā-stems ending for feminine genders, but other common classes (e.g. the i class and u class) used endings from a single vowel-stem declension for all genders, and various other classes existed that were based on other declensions. A quite different set of "pronominal" endings was used for pronouns, determiners, and words with related semantics (e.g., "all", "only"). An important innovation in Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
was the development of two separate sets of adjective endings, originally corresponding to a distinction between indefinite semantics ("a man") and definite semantics ("the man"). The endings of indefinite adjectives were derived from a combination of pronominal endings with one of the common vowel-stem adjective declensions – usually the o/ā class (often termed the a/ō class in the specific context of the Germanic languages) but sometimes the i or u classes. Definite adjectives, however, had endings based on n-stem nouns. Originally both types of adjectives could be used by themselves, but already by Proto-Germanic times a pattern evolved whereby definite adjectives had to be accompanied by a determiner with definite semantics (e.g., a definite article, demonstrative pronoun, possessive pronoun, or the like), while indefinite adjectives were used in other circumstances (either accompanied by a word with indefinite semantics such as "a", "one", or "some" or unaccompanied). In the 19th century, the two types of adjectives – indefinite and definite – were respectively termed "strong" and "weak", names which are still commonly used. These names were based on the appearance of the two sets of endings in modern German. In German, the distinctive case endings formerly present on nouns have largely disappeared, with the result that the load of distinguishing one case from another is almost entirely carried by determiners and adjectives. Furthermore, due to regular sound change, the various definite (n-stem) adjective endings coalesced to the point where only two endings (-e and -en) remain in modern German to express the sixteen possible inflectional categories of the language (masculine/feminine/neuter/plural crossed with nominative/accusative/dative/genitive – modern German merges all genders in the plural). The indefinite (a/ō-stem) adjective endings were less affected by sound change, with six endings remaining (-, -e, -es, -er, -em, -en), cleverly distributed in a way that is capable of expressing the various inflectional categories without too much ambiguity. As a result, the definite endings were thought of as too "weak" to carry inflectional meaning and in need of "strengthening" by the presence of an accompanying determiner, while the indefinite endings were viewed as "strong" enough to indicate the inflectional categories even when standing alone. (This view is enhanced by the fact that modern German largely uses weak-ending adjectives when accompanying an indefinite article, and hence the indefinite/definite distinction no longer clearly applies.) By analogy, the terms "strong" and "weak" were extended to the corresponding noun classes, with a-stem and ō-stem nouns termed "strong" and n-stem nouns termed "weak". However, in Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
– and still in Gothic, the most conservative Germanic language – the terms "strong" and "weak" are not clearly appropriate. For one thing, there were a large number of noun declensions. The a-stem, ō-stem, and n-stem declensions were the most common and represented targets into which the other declensions were eventually absorbed, but this process occurred only gradually. Originally the n-stem declension was not a single declension but a set of separate declensions (e.g., -an, -ōn, -īn) with related endings, and these endings were in no way any "weaker" than the endings of any other declensions. (For example, among the eight possible inflectional categories of a noun — singular/plural crossed with nominative/accusative/dative/genitive — masculine an-stem nouns in Gothic include seven endings, and feminine ōn-stem nouns include six endings, meaning there is very little ambiguity of "weakness" in these endings and in fact much less than in the German "strong" endings.) Although it is possible to group the various noun declensions into three basic categories — vowel-stem, n-stem, and other-consonant-stem (a.k.a. "minor declensions") — the vowel-stem nouns do not display any sort of unity in their endings that supports grouping them together with each other but separate from the n-stem endings. It is only in later languages that the binary distinction between "strong" and "weak" nouns become more relevant. In Old English, the n-stem nouns form a single, clear class, but the masculine a-stem and feminine ō-stem nouns have little in common with each other, and neither has much similarity to the small class of u-stem nouns. Similarly, in Old Norse, the masculine a-stem and feminine ō-stem nouns have little in common with each other, and the continuations of the masculine an-stem and feminine ōn/īn-stem nouns are also quite distinct. It is only in Middle Dutch and modern German that the various vowel-stem nouns have merged to the point that a binary strong/weak distinction clearly applies. As a result, newer grammatical descriptions of the Germanic languages often avoid the terms "strong" and "weak" except in conjunction with German itself, preferring instead to use the terms "indefinite" and "definite" for adjectives and to distinguish nouns by their actual stem class. In English, both two sets of adjective endings were lost entirely in the late Middle English
Middle English
period. Classification[edit] Note that divisions between and among subfamilies of Germanic are rarely precisely defined; most form continuous clines, with adjacent varieties being mutually intelligible and more separated ones not. Within the Germanic language family is East Germanic, West Germanic, and North Germanic. However, East Germanic languages
East Germanic languages
became extinct several centuries ago. In some literature, the West Germanic
West Germanic
grouping is also called "South Germanic" or is further divided between West (Dutch, English, Frisian) and South Germanic (Yiddish, German) as opposed to forming a single group.[65] Diachronic[edit] The table below shows the succession of the significant historical stages of each language (horizontally) and their approximate groupings in subfamilies (vertically). Vertical sequence within each group does not imply a measure of greater or lesser similarity.

Pre-Roman Iron Age 500 – 100 BC Early Roman Iron Age 100 BC – 100 AD Late Roman Iron Age 100 – 300 Migration Period 300 – 600 Early Middle Ages 600 – 1100 Middle Ages 1100 – 1350 Late Middle Ages2 1350 – 1500 Early Modern Age 1500 – 1700 Modern Age 1700 to present

Proto-Germanic West Germanic Irminonic (Elbe Germanic) Primitive Upper German Old Upper German, Lombardic1 Middle Upper German Early New Upper German Upper German
Upper German
varieties

Standard German

Istvaeonic (Weser-Rhine Germanic) Primitive Frankish Old Frankish Old Central German Middle Central German Early New Central German

Central German
Central German
varieties

Old Low Franconian (Old Dutch) Early Limburgish Middle Dutch Late Limburgish Middle Dutch Early Limburgish Limburgish

Early Middle Dutch Late Middle Dutch Early Modern Dutch Dutch varieties

Afrikaans

Ingvaeonic ( North Sea
North Sea
Germanic) Primitive Saxon (Southeast Ingvaeonic) Old Saxon Middle Low German Low German
Low German
varieties

Anglo-Frisian (Northwest Ingvaeonic) Primitive Frisian Old Frisian Middle Frisian Frisian varieties

Primitive Anglic Old English (Anglo-Saxon) Early Middle English Late Middle English Early Modern English English varieties

Early Scots3 Middle Scots Scots varieties

North Germanic Proto-Norse Runic Old West Norse Old Icelandic Late Old Icelandic Icelandic

Old Norwegian Old Faroese Faroese

Old Norn Norn extinct4

Middle Norwegian Norwegian

Runic Old East Norse Early Old Danish Late Old Danish Danish

Early Old Swedish Late Old Swedish Swedish

Dalecarlian dialects

Runic Old Gutnish Early Old Gutnish Late Old Gutnish Gutnish5

East Germanic Gothic (unattested Gothic dialects) Crimean Gothic extinct

Vandalic extinct

Burgundian extinct

^1 There are conflicting opinions on the classification of Lombardic. It has also been classified as close to Old Saxon. ^2 Late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
refers to the post- Black Death
Black Death
period. Especially for the language situation in Norway
Norway
this event was important. ^3 From Early Northern Middle English.[66] McClure gives Northumbrian Old English.[67] In the Oxford Companion to the English Language
Language
(p. 894) the 'sources' of Scots are described as "the Old English
Old English
of the Kingdom of Bernicia" and "the Scandinavian-influenced English of immigrants from Northern and Midland England in the 12-13c [...]." The historical stages 'Early—Middle—Modern Scots' are used, for example, in the "Concise Scots Dictionary"[68] and "A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue".[69] ^4 The speakers of Norn were assimilated to speak Modern Scots varieties (Insular Scots). ^5 Modern Gutnish (Gutamål), the direct descendant of Old Gutnish (Gutniska), has been marginalized by the Gotlandic dialect/accent of Standard Swedish (Gotländska).

Contemporary[edit] Main article: List of Germanic languages

Germanic languages
Germanic languages
and main dialect groups

The present-day distribution of the Germanic languages
Germanic languages
in Europe: North Germanic
North Germanic
languages   Icelandic   Faroese   Norwegian   Swedish   Danish West Germanic
West Germanic
languages   Scots   English   Frisian   Dutch   Low German   German Dots indicate areas where multilingualism is common.

All living Germanic languages
Germanic languages
belong either to the West Germanic
West Germanic
or to the North Germanic
North Germanic
branch. The West Germanic
West Germanic
group is the larger by far, further subdivided into Anglo-Frisian
Anglo-Frisian
on one hand and Continental West Germanic
West Germanic
on the other. Anglo-Frisian
Anglo-Frisian
notably includes English and all its variants, while Continental West Germanic
West Germanic
includes German (standard register and dialects), as well as Dutch (standard register and dialects). Modern classification looks like this. For a full classification, see List of Germanic languages.

West Germanic
West Germanic
languages

High German languages
High German languages
(includes Standard German
Standard German
and its dialects)

Upper German

Alemannic German Austro-Bavarian German

Mòcheno language Cimbrian language Hutterite German

Yiddish High Franconian
High Franconian
(a transitional dialect between Upper and Central German) Central German

East Central German West Central German

Luxembourgish Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
German

Low German

West Low German East Low German Plautdietsch
Plautdietsch
(Mennonite Low German)

Low Franconian

Dutch and its dialects Afrikaans
Afrikaans
(a separate standard language) Limburgish
Limburgish
(an official minority language)

Anglo-Frisian

Anglic (or English)

English and its dialects Scots in Scotland
Scotland
and Ulster Yola (extinct) Fingallian
Fingallian
(extinct)

Frisian

West Frisian East Frisian

Saterland Frisian (last remaining dialect of East Frisian)

North Frisian

North Germanic

West Scandinavian

Norwegian (of Western branch origin, but heavily influenced by the Eastern branch) Icelandic Faroese Greenlandic Norse
Greenlandic Norse
(extinct) Norn (extinct)

East Scandinavian

Danish Swedish

Dalecarlian dialects

Gutnish

Writing[edit] The earliest evidence of Germanic languages
Germanic languages
comes from names recorded in the 1st century by Tacitus
Tacitus
(especially from his work Germania), but the earliest Germanic writing occurs in a single instance in the 2nd century BC on the Negau helmet.[70] From roughly the 2nd century AD, certain speakers of early Germanic varieties developed the Elder Futhark, an early form of the runic alphabet. Early runic inscriptions also are largely limited to personal names and difficult to interpret. The Gothic language
Gothic language
was written in the Gothic alphabet
Gothic alphabet
developed by Bishop Ulfilas
Ulfilas
for his translation of the Bible
Bible
in the 4th century.[71] Later, Christian priests and monks who spoke and read Latin
Latin
in addition to their native Germanic varieties began writing the Germanic languages
Germanic languages
with slightly modified Latin
Latin
letters. However, throughout the Viking
Viking
Age, runic alphabets remained in common use in Scandinavia. In addition to the standard Latin
Latin
script, many Germanic languages
Germanic languages
use a variety of accent marks and extra letters, including the ß (Eszett), IJ, Ø, Æ, Å, Ä, Ü, Ö, Ð, Ȝ, and the Latinized runes Þ
Þ
and Ƿ (with its Latin
Latin
counterpart W). In print, German used to be prevalently set in blackletter typefaces (e.g., fraktur or schwabacher) until the 1940s, when Kurrent
Kurrent
and, since the early 20th century, Sütterlin
Sütterlin
were used for German handwriting. Yiddish
Yiddish
is written using an adapted Hebrew alphabet. Vocabulary comparison[edit] Several of the terms in the table below have had semantic drift. For example, the form Sterben and other terms for die are cognates with the English word starve. There is also at least one example of a common borrowing from a non-Germanic source (ounce and its cognates from Latin).

English Scots[72] West Frisian Afrikaans Dutch Limburgish Low German Central German (Luxembourg) German Yiddish Gothic Icelandic Faroese Swedish Danish Norwegian (Bokmål) Norwegian (Nynorsk)

apple aiple apel appel appel appel Appel Apel Apfel עפּל (epl) 𐌰𐍀𐌻𐌿𐍃 (aplus) epli epli[73] äpple æble eple eple

bear beir bear beer beer bear Baar Bier Bär בער ber 𐌱𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌰 (Baira) björn bjørn björn bjørn bjørn bjørn

beech beech boeke beuk beuk beuk Böök Bich Buche — 𐌱𐍉𐌺𐌰 (bōka),[74] -𐌱𐌰𐌲𐌼𐍃 (-bagms) beyki bók (artræ) bok bøg bok bok, bøk

board buird board bord boord bórdj Boord Briet Brett[75] ברעט (bret) 𐌱𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌳 (baúrd) borð borð bord bord bord bord

book beuk boek boek boek book Book Buch Buch בוך (bukh) 𐌱𐍉𐌺𐌰 (bōka) bók bók bok bog bok bok

breast breest boarst bors borst boors Bost Broscht Brust ברוסט (brust) 𐌱𐍂𐌿𐍃𐍄𐍃 (brusts) brjóst bróst, bringa bröst bryst bryst bryst

brown broun brún bruin bruin bruun broen brong braun ברוין (broyn) 𐌱𐍂𐌿𐌽𐍃 (bruns) brúnn brúnur brun brun brun brun

day day dei dag dag daag Dag Dag Tag טאָג (tog) 𐌳𐌰𐌲𐍃 (dags) dagur dagur dag dag dag dag

dead deid dea dood dood doed doot dout tot טויט (toyt) 𐌳𐌰𐌿𐌸𐍃 (dauþs) dauður deyður död død død daud

die, starve dee, stairve stjerre sterf sterven stèrve staarven stierwen sterben שטאַרבן (shtarbn) 𐌳𐌹𐍅𐌰𐌽 (diwan) deyja doyggja dö dø dø døy, starva

enough eneuch genôch genoeg genoeg genóg noog genuch, genug genug גענוג (genug) 𐌲𐌰𐌽𐍉𐌷𐍃 (ganōhs) nóg nóg, nógmikið nog nok nok nok

finger finger finger vinger vinger veenger Finger Fanger Finger פֿינגער (finger) 𐍆𐌹𐌲𐌲𐍂𐍃 (figgrs) fingur fingur finger finger finger finger

give gie jaan gee geven geve geven ginn geben געבן (gebn) 𐌲𐌹𐌱𐌰𐌽 (giban) gefa geva ge, giva give gi gje(va)

glass gless glês glas glas glaas Glas Glas Glas גלאָז (gloz) — glas glas glas glas glass glas

gold gowd goud goud goud goud, góldj Gold, Guld Gold Gold גאָלד (gold) 𐌲𐌿𐌻𐌸 (gulþ) gull gull guld, gull guld gull gull

good guid goed goed goed good goot gutt gut גוט (gut) 𐌲𐍉𐌸(𐌹𐍃) (gōþ(is)) góð(ur), gott góð(ur), gott god god god god

English Scots West Frisian Afrikaans Dutch Limburgish Low German Central German (Luxembourg) German Yiddish Gothic Icelandic Faroese Swedish Danish Norwegian (Bokmål) Norwegian (Nynorsk)

hand haund hân hand hand hand Hand Hand Hand האַנט (hant) 𐌷𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌿𐍃 (handus) hönd hond hand hånd hånd hand

head heid holle hoof,[76] kop[77] hoofd, kop[77] kop[77] Hööft, Kopp[77] Kopp,[77] Kapp Haupt, Kopf[77] הויפט, קאָפּ (hoypt, kop)[77] 𐌷𐌰𐌿𐌱𐌹𐌸 (háubiþ) höfuð høvd, høvur huvud hoved hode hovud

high heich heech hoog hoog hoeg hooch héich hoch הויך (hoykh) 𐌷𐌰𐌿𐌷 (háuh) hár høg, ur hög høj høy, høg høg

home hame hiem heim,[78] tuis[79] heem, heim,[78] thuis[79] thoes[79] Tohuus,[79] Heem Heem Heim(at) היים (heym) 𐌷𐌰𐌹𐌼𐍉𐌸 (háimōþ) heim heim hem hjem hjem, heim heim

hook, crook heuk hoek haak haak haok Haak Krop, Kramp, Hoken Haken האַק (hak) *𐌺𐍂𐌰𐌼𐍀𐌰 (*krampa) haki, krókur krókur, ongul hake, krok hage, krog hake, krok hake, krok[80]

house hoose hûs huis huis hoes Huus Haus Haus הויז (hoyz) 𐌷𐌿𐍃 (hūs) hús hús hus hus hus hus

many mony mannich, mennich baie, menige veel, menig minnig veel, männig vill manch, viel מאַנכע (mankhe) 𐌼𐌰𐌽𐌰𐌲𐍃 (manags) margir mangir, nógvir många mange mange mange

moon muin moanne maan maan maon Maan Mound Mond לבֿנה (levone) 𐌼𐌴𐌽𐌰 (mēna) máni, tungl máni måne måne måne måne

night nicht nacht nag nacht nach Nacht Nuecht Nacht נאַכט (nakht) 𐌽𐌰𐌷𐍄𐍃 (nahts) nótt nátt natt nat natt natt

no, nay nae nee nee nee(n) nei nee nee(n) na, nee, nein, nö ניין (neyn) 𐌽𐌴 (nē) nei nei nej, nä nej, næ nei nei

old (but elder, eldest) auld âld oud oud aajt (old), gammel (decayed) oolt (old), gammelig (decayed) aal alt אַלט (alt) 𐍃𐌹𐌽𐌴𐌹𐌲𐍃 (sineigs) gamall (but eldri, elstur), aldinn gamal (but eldri, elstur) gammal (but äldre, äldst) gammel (but ældre, ældst) gammel (but eldre, eldst) gam(m)al (but eldre, eldst)

one ane ien een één ein een eent eins איין (eyn) 𐌰𐌹𐌽𐍃 (áins) einn ein en en en ein

ounce unce ûns ons ons óns Ons Eng kéier, Eemol Unze — 𐌿𐌽𐌺𐌾𐌰 (unkja) únsa únsa uns unse unse unse, unsa

snow snaw snie sneeu sneeuw sjnie Snee Schnéi Schnee שניי (shney) 𐍃𐌽𐌰𐌹𐍅𐍃 (snáiws) snjór kavi, snjógvur snö sne snø snø

English Scots West Frisian Afrikaans Dutch Limburgish Low German Central German (Luxembourg) German Yiddish Gothic Icelandic Faroese Swedish Danish Norwegian (Bokmål) Norwegian (Nynorsk)

stone stane stien steen steen stein Steen Steen Stein שטיין (shteyn) 𐍃𐍄𐌰𐌹𐌽𐍃 (stáins) steinn steinur sten sten stein stein

that that dat daardie, dit dat, die dat, tot dat, dü dat das דאָס (dos) 𐌸𐌰𐍄𐌰 (þata) það tað det det det det

two, twain twa twa twee twee twie twee zoo, zwou, zwéin, zwee zwei, zwo צוויי (tsvey) 𐍄𐍅𐌰𐌹 (twái) tveir, tvær, tvö tveir, tvey, tvær, tvá två, tu to to to[81]

who wha wa wie wie wee wokeen wien, ween wer ווער (ver) 𐍈𐌰𐍃 (ƕas) hver hvør vem hvem hvem kven

worm wirm wjirm wurm worm weurm Worm Wuerm, Mued Wurm, Made וואָרעם (vorem) 𐌼𐌰𐌸𐌰 (maþa) maðkur, ormur maðkur, ormur mask, orm [82] orm makk, mark, orm  [82] makk, mark, orm[82]

English Scots West Frisian Afrikaans Dutch Limburgish Low German Central German (Luxemburgish) German Yiddish Gothic Icelandic Faroese Swedish Danish Norwegian (Bokmål) Norwegian (Nynorsk)

See also[edit]

Category:Germanic countries and territories List of Germanic languages Language
Language
families and languages List of Germanic and Latinate equivalents Germanisation
Germanisation
and Anglicisation Germanic name Germanic verb and its various subordinated articles Germanic placename etymology German name German placename etymology Isogloss Germanic substrate hypothesis South Germanic languages

Footnotes[edit]

^ Estimates of native speakers of the Germanic languages
Germanic languages
vary from 450 million[2] through 500 million and up to more than 520 million. Much of the uncertainty is caused by the rapid spread of the English language and conflicting estimates of its native speakers. Here used is the most probable estimate (currently 515 million) as determined by Statistics section below. ^ There are various conflicting estimates of L1/native users of English, from 360 million up to 430 million and more. English is a current lingua franca, which is spreading rapidly, often replacing other languages throughout the world, thus making it difficult to provide one definitive number. It is a rare case of a language with many more secondary speakers than natives. ^ This phenomenon is not restricted to German, but constitutes a common linguistic development affecting all modern day living major languages with a complex set of dialects. As local dialects increasingly cease to be used, they are usually being replaced by a standardized version of the language. ^ It uses the lowest estimate for English (360 million). ^ Estimates for English, German and Dutch are less precise than these for the rest of the Germanic languages. These three languages are the most widely spoken ones; the rest are largely concentrated in specific places (excluding Yiddish
Yiddish
and Afrikaans), so precise estimates are easier to get. ^ Estimate includes most High German dialects
German dialects
classified into the German language
German language
spectrum, while leaves some out like the Yiddish language. Low German
Low German
is regarded separately. ^ All other Germanic languages, including Gutnish, Dalecarlian dialects (among them Elfdalian) and any other minor languages. ^ Estimates of native speakers of the Germanic languages
Germanic languages
vary from 450 million[33] through 500 million and up to more than 520 million. Much of the uncertainty is caused by the rapid spread of the English language and conflicting estimates of its native speakers. Here used is the most probable estimate as determined by Statistics section.

Notes[edit]

^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Germanic". Glottolog
Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ "The Germanic Languages" by Ekkehard Konig, Johan van der Auwera (page 1) ^ a b "Världens 100 största språk 2010" [The world's 100 largest languages in 2010]. Nationalencyklopedin
Nationalencyklopedin
(in Swedish). 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2014.  ^ SIL Ethnologue
Ethnologue
(2006). 95 million speakers of Standard German; 105 million including Middle and Upper German
Upper German
dialects; 120 million including Low German
Low German
and Yiddish. ^ "Afrikaans". Retrieved 2016-08-03.  ^ a b "Gechattet wird auf Plattdeusch". Noz.de. Retrieved 2014-03-14.  ^ Cite error: The named reference TOLoE was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Saxon, Low Ethnologue. ^ The Other Languages of Europe: Demographic, Sociolinguistic, and Educational Perspectives by Guus Extra, Durk Gorter; Multilingual Matters, 2001 – 454; page 10. ^ a b Dovid Katz. "YIDDISH" (PDF). YIVO. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 22, 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2015.  ^ "1 Cor. 13:1-12". lrc.la.utexas.edu. Retrieved 2016-08-03.  ^ "Germanic". Retrieved 2016-08-03.  ^ https://www.welt.de/kultur/article170665604/Das-Aussterben-der-deutschen-Dialekte.html ^ The Miskito Coast
Miskito Coast
used to be a part of British Empire ^ http://taalunieversum.org/inhoud/feiten-en-cijfers ^ Dutch-speakers can understand Afrikaans
Afrikaans
with some difficulty, but Afrikaans-speakers have a harder time understanding Dutch because of the simplified grammar of Afrikaans, compared to that of Dutch, http://www.let.rug.nl/~gooskens/pdf/publ_litlingcomp_2006b.pdf ^ "List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148". Conventions.coe.int. Retrieved 9 September 2012.  ^ "Lëtzebuergesch - the national language". Retrieved 2018-02-14.  ^ German 'should be a working language of EU', says Merkel's party ^ "Nederlands, wereldtaal". Nederlandse Taalunie. 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-07.  ^ Nationalencyklopedin
Nationalencyklopedin
"Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007 ^ Census 2011: Census in brief (PDF). Pretoria: Statistics South Africa. 2012. ISBN 9780621413885. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 May 2015.  ^ Ethnologue: Danish ^ Ethnologue: Norwegian ^ Yiddish: A Linguistic Introduction by Neil G. Jacobs ^ Ethnologue: Scots ^ Ethnologue: Limburgish ^ Ethnologue: Frisian ^ See Luxembourgish
Luxembourgish
language. ^ "Low German". Ethnologue.  ^ 97% of a population of 325,000 + 15,000 native Icelandic speakers outside Iceland ^ Ethnologue: Faroese ^ "The Germanic Languages" by Ekkehard Konig, Johan van der Auwera (page 1) ^ Ringe (2006), p. 67. ^ These alternations are no longer easily distinguishable from vowel alternations due to earlier changes (e.g. Indo-European ablaut, as in write/wrote/written, sing/sang/sung, hold/held) or later changes (e.g. vowel shortening in Middle English, as in wide/width, lead/led). ^ Wang, Chuan-Chao; Ding, Qi-Liang; Tao, Huan; Li, Hui (2012-02-10). "Comment on "Phonemic Diversity Supports a Serial Founder Effect Model of Language
Language
Expansion from Africa"". Science. 335 (6069): 657–657. doi:10.1126/science.1207846. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 22323803.  ^ Basbøll, Hans; Jacobsen, Henrik Galberg (2003-01-01). Take Danish, for Instance: Linguistic Studies in Honour of Hans Basbøll Presented on the Occasion of His 60th Birthday, 12 July 2003. University Press of Southern Denmark. pp. 41–57. ISBN 9788778388261.  ^ Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 290. ISBN 0-631-19814-8.  ^ According to Donald Ringe (cf. Ringe (2006), p. 295) ^ Campbell, Alistair (1983-01-01). Old English
Old English
Grammar. Clarendon Press. p. 139. ISBN 9780198119432.  ^ But see Cercignani, Fausto, Indo-European ē in Germanic, in "Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung", 86/1, 1972, pp. 104–110. ^ See also Cercignani, Fausto, The Reduplicating Syllable and Internal Open Juncture in Gothic, in "Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung", 93/1, 1979, pp. 126–132. ^ Bethge, Richard (1900). "Konjugation des Urgermanischen". In Ferdinand Dieter. Laut- und Formenlehre der altgermanischen Dialekte (2. Halbband: Formenlehre). Leipzig: Reisland. p. 361.  ^ Schumacher, Stefan (2005), "'Langvokalische Perfekta' in indogermanischen Einzelsprachen und ihr grundsprachlicher Hintergrund", in Meiser, Gerhard; Olav Hackstein, Sprachkontakt und Sprachwandel. Akten der XI. Fachtagung der Indogermanischen Gesellschaft, 17. – 23. September 2000, Halle an der Saale, Wiesbaden: Reichert, pp. 603f.  ^ Campbell, Alistair (1983-01-01). Old English
Old English
Grammar. Clarendon Press. p. 169. ISBN 9780198119432.  ^ Kuiper, F.B.J. (1995-01-01). "Gothic bagms and Old Icelandic
Old Icelandic
ylgr". NOWELE. 25: 63–88. doi:10.1075/nowele.25.04kui. ISSN 0108-8416.  ^ Ringe, Don (2009). A linguistic history of English: From Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
to Proto-Germanic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  ^ König, Ekkehard; van der Auwera, Johan (1994). The Germanic languages. London: Routledge.  ^ Bennett, William H. (1980). An introduction to the Gothic language. New York: Modern Language
Language
Association of America.  ^ Wright, Joseph C. (1919). Grammar of the Gothic language. London: Oxford University Press.  ^ Gordon, E.V. (1927). An introduction to Old Norse. London: Oxford University Press.  ^ Campbell, A. (1959). Old English
Old English
grammar. London: Oxford University Press.  ^ Diamond, Robert E. (1970). Old English
Old English
grammar and reader. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.  ^ Lass, Roger; Anderson, John M. (1975). Old English
Old English
phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  ^ Lass, Roger (1994). Old English: A historical linguistic companion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  ^ Mitchell, Bruce; Robinson, Fred C. (1992). A guide to Old English, 5th edition. Cambridge: Blackwell.  ^ Robinson, Orrin (1992). Old English
Old English
and its closest relatives. Stanford: Stanford University Press.  ^ Wright, Joseph; Wright, Mary Elizabeth (1925). Old English
Old English
grammar, 3rd edition. London: Oxford University Press.  ^ Wright, Joseph (1906). An Old High German
Old High German
primer, 2nd edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press.  ^ Waterman, John C. (1976). A history of the German language. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press.  ^ Ringe (2006), Lass (1994), Helfenstein (1870). ^ In speech, the genitive is usually replaced with vom + dative, or with the dative alone after prepositions. ^ The use of -e in the dative has become increasingly uncommon, and is found only in a few fixed phrases (e.g. zu Hause "at home") and in certain archaizing literary styles. ^ Of questionable etymology. Possibly an old locative. ^ The Germanic Languages, E. Konig. Routledge, 2013. p.2 ^ Aitken, A. J. and McArthur, T. Eds. (1979) Languages of Scotland. Edinburgh,Chambers. p. 87 ^ McClure (1991) in The Cambridge History of the English Language
Language
Vol. 5. p. 23. ^ Robinson M. (ed.) (1985) the "Concise Scots Dictionary, Chambers, Edinburgh. p. xiii ^ Dareau M., Pike l. and Watson, H (eds) (2002) "A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue" Vol. XII, Oxford University Press. p. xxxiv ^ Malcolm Todd (1992). The Early Germans. Blackwell Publishing.  ^ Cercignani, Fausto, The Elaboration of the Gothic Alphabet and Orthography, in "Indogermanische Forschungen", 93, 1988, pp. 168–185. ^ The spellings used are those based on the prestigious literary conventions described in the article Modern Scots. Others spelling variants may be encountered in written Scots, e.g. aipil (apple), buik (book), huik (hook), houss (house) and monie (many). ^ The cognate means 'potato'. The correct word is 'Súrepli'. ^ Attested meaning 'letter', but also means beech in other Germanic languages, cf. Russian buk 'beech', bukva 'letter', maybe from Gothic. ^ Brett is used in the South, Bord is used additionally in the North ^ Now only used in compound words such as hoofpyn (headache) and metaphorically, such as hoofstad (capital city). ^ a b c d e f g From an old Latin
Latin
borrowing, akin to "cup". ^ a b Archaic: now only used in compound words such as 'heimwee' (homesickness). ^ a b c d From a compound phrase akin to "to house" ^ ongel is also used for fishing hook. ^ Dialectally tvo, två, tvei (m), tvæ (f), tvau (n). ^ a b c The cognate orm usually means 'snake'.

Sources[edit] Germanic languages
Germanic languages
in general[edit]

König, Ekkehard; van der Auwera, Johan (1994). The Germanic languages. London: Routledge.  Helfenstein, James (1870). A comparative grammar of the Teutonic languages. London: MacMillan and Co. 

Proto-Germanic[edit]

Ringe, Don (2006). A linguistic history of English: From Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
to Proto-Germanic. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Gothic

Wright, Joseph C. (1919). Grammar of the Gothic language. London: Oxford University Press.  Bennett, William H. (1980). An introduction to the Gothic language. New York: Modern Language
Language
Association of America. 

Old Norse[edit]

Gordon, E.V. (1927). An introduction to Old Norse. London: Oxford University Press.  Zoëga, Geir T. (2004). A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 

Old English[edit]

Campbell, A. (1959). Old English
Old English
grammar. London: Oxford University Press.  Wright, Joseph; Wright, Mary Elizabeth (1925). Old English
Old English
grammar, 3rd edition. London: Oxford University Press.  Lass, Roger (1994). Old English: A historical linguistic companion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Mitchell, Bruce; Robinson, Fred C. (1992). A guide to Old English, 5th edition. Cambridge: Blackwell.  Hall, J.R. (1984). A concise Anglo–Saxon dictionary, 4th edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.  Diamond, Robert E. (1970). Old English
Old English
grammar and reader. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.  Lass, Roger; Anderson, John M. (1975). Old English
Old English
phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Robinson, Orrin (1992). Old English
Old English
and its closest relatives. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 

Old High German[edit]

Wright, Joseph (1906). An Old High German
Old High German
primer, 2nd edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press.  Waterman, John C. (1976). A history of the German language. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press. 

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of an 1879 American Cyclopædia
American Cyclopædia
article about Germanic languages.

Germanic Lexicon Project 'Hover & Hear' pronunciations of the same Germanic words in dozens of Germanic languages
Germanic languages
and 'dialects', including English accents, and compare instantaneously side by side Bibliographie der Schreibsprachen: Bibliography of medieval written forms of High and Low German
Low German
and Dutch Swadesh lists of Germanic basic vocabulary words (from Wiktionary's Swadesh-list appendix) Germanic languages
Germanic languages
fragments—YouTube (14:06)

v t e

Germanic languages
Germanic languages
and dialects

West Germanic

Anglo- Frisian

Anglic

English

dialects Yola Fingallian

Scots

Frisian

East Frisian

Saterland Frisian Wangerooge Frisian Wursten Frisian

North Frisian

Söl'ring Fering Öömrang Heligolandic Mooring Halligen Frisian Strand Frisian Eiderstedt Frisian

West Frisian

Clay Frisian Wood Frisian

Low German

East Low German

Mecklenburg-Western Pomeranian

Mecklenburgish West Pomeranian

Brandenburgisch East Pomeranian-West Prussian

Western East Pomeranian Eastern East Pomeranian Bublitzisch Pommerellisch

Central Pomeranian

West Central Pomeranian

Low Prussian

Mennonite Low German

West Low German

Dutch Low Saxon

Stellingwarfs Tweants Gronings Drèents Gelders-Overijssels

Achterhooks Sallaans Urkers

Veluws

Northern Low Saxon

East Frisian Low Saxon Schleswigsch Holsteinisch Hamburgisch Ollnborger North Hanoveranian Dithmarsch Emsländisch

Westphalian Eastphalian

Low Franconian

Standard variants

Dutch Afrikaans

West Low Franconian

Hollandic West Flemish

French Flemish

Zeelandic East Flemish Brabantian Surinamese Dutch Jersey Dutch Mohawk Dutch Stadsfries Bildts Yiddish
Yiddish
Dutch

East Low Franconian

Meuse-Rhenish

Limburgish

Southeast Limburgish

South Guelderish

Transitional

Low Dietsch

High German

 

German

Namibian German Namibian Black German Brazilian German Unserdeutsch Barossa German Belgranodeutsch Parana Volga German

Yiddish

Eastern Western Litvish Poylish Ukrainish Galitzish Scots Yiddish Alsatian Yiddish Klezmer-loshn Ganovim Balagole Katsoves Lachoudisch

Yenish Rotwelsch

Lotegorisch

Central German

West Central German

Central Franconian

Ripuarian

Colognian

Moselle Franconian

Luxembourgish Transylvanian Saxon Hunsrückisch

Rhine Franconian

Lorraine Franconian Palatine

Volga German Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
German

Hessian

Amana

East Central German

Thuringian Upper Saxon Lusatian-Neumarkish

Berlinerisch

Silesian High Prussian Wymysorys Pragerisch

High Franconian

South Franconian East Franconian

Main Franconian Vogtlandian

Upper German

Alemannic

Low Alemannic

Alsatian Coloniero

High Alemannic

Swiss German

Highest Alemannic

Walser German

Swabian

Bavarian

Northern Bavarian Central Bavarian

Viennese German

Southern Bavarian

South Tyrolean Cimbrian Mòcheno Hutterite German

Langobardic

Standard German

German Standard German Austrian Standard German Swiss Standard German

North Germanic

West Scandinavian

Norwegian

Bokmål

Bergensk Kebabnorsk Sognamål Trøndersk Valdris Vestlandsk Vikværsk

Nynorsk

Elfdalian Insular Scandinavian

Faroese Icelandic Gronlandsk Norn

East Scandinavian

Swedish

Åland Estonian Finlandic Gotlandic Jamtlandic Kalix Kiruna Luleå Norrland Ostrobothnian Småländska South Swedish

Scanian

Stockholm Rinkeby Uppländska Västgötska Westrobothnian

Danish

Bornholmsk Gøtudanskt Insular Danish Jutlandic South Jutlandic Perkerdansk

Dalecarlian

East Germanic

Gothic

Crimean Gothic

Burgundian Vandalic

Italics indicate extinct languages Bold indicates languages with more than 3 million speakers Languages between parentheses are varieties of the language on their left.

v t e

Philology of Germanic languages

Language
Language
subgroups

North East West — Elbe Weser-Rhine North Sea

Northwest Gotho-Nordic South

Reconstructed

Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
grammar Germanic parent language

Historical languages

North

Proto-Norse Old Norse Old Swedish Old Gutnish Norn Greenlandic Norse Old Norwegian Middle Norwegian

East

Gothic Crimean Gothic Vandalic Burgundian

West

Old Saxon Middle Low German Old High German Middle High German Frankish Old Dutch Middle Dutch Old Frisian Middle Frisian Old English Middle English Early Scots Middle Scots Lombardic

Modern languages

Afrikaans Alemannic Cimbrian Danish Dutch English Faroese German Icelandic Limburgish Low German Mennonite Low German Luxembourgish North Frisian Norwegian Saterland Frisian Scots Swedish West Frisian Yiddish

Diachronic features

Grimm's law Verner's law Holtzmann's law Sievers' law Kluge's law Germanic substrate hypothesis West Germanic
West Germanic
gemination High German
High German
consonant shift Germanic a-mutation Germanic umlaut Germanic spirant law Ingvaeonic
Ingvaeonic
nasal spirant law Great Vowel Shift

Synchronic features

Germanic verb Germanic strong verb Germanic weak verb Preterite-present verb Grammatischer Wechsel Indo-European ablaut

Language
Language
histories

English (phonology) Scots (phonology) German Dutch Danish Icelandic Swedish

v t e

Germanic peoples

Languages

Germanic parent language Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
language North Germanic
North Germanic
languages

Old Norse

West Germanic
West Germanic
languages

Ingvaeonic
Ingvaeonic
languages South Germanic

Northwest Germanic East Germanic
East Germanic
languages Germanic philology

Prehistory

Nordic Bronze Age Pre-Roman Iron Age
Iron Age
in Northern Europe Jastorf culture Nordwestblock Przeworsk culture Wielbark culture Oksywie culture Chernyakhov culture

Roman Iron Age in northern Europe

Magna Germania Germanic Wars Battle of the Teutoburg Forest Germania Irminones Ingaevones Istvaeones Chatti Marcomanni Suebi

Migration Period

Germanic Iron Age Alemanni Anglo-Saxons

Angles Jutes Saxons

Burgundians Danes Franks Frisii Geats Gepids Goths

Visigoths Ostrogoths Vagoth Gothic War (376–382)

Gotlander Heruli Lombards Rugii Scirii Suebi Swedes Vandals Varangians Vikings Christianization Romanization

Society and culture

Mead hall Alliterative verse Migration Period
Migration Period
art Runes

Runic calendar

Sippe Ancient Germanic law

Lawspeaker Thing

Germanic calendar Germanic kingship Germanic name Numbers in Norse mythology Romano-Germanic culture

Religion

Odin Thor Nerthus Veleda Tuisto Mannus Sacred trees and groves Paganism

Anglo-Saxon Continental Germanic Frankish Gothic Norse

Christianity

Anglo-Saxon Gothic

Dress

Bracteates Fibula Suebian knot

Warfare

Gothic and Vandal warfare Anglo-Saxon warfare Viking
Viking
Age arms and armour Migration Period
Migration Period
spear Migration Period
Migration Period
sword

Burial practices

Tumulus Ship burial Norse funeral Alemannic grave fields Sutton Hoo Spong Hill

List of ancient Germanic peoples Portal:Ancient Germanic culture

Authority control

LCCN: sh85054438 GND: 4113716-4 SUDOC: 02743026X BNF: cb11947338w (da

.