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Vojvoda
Monday, June 23rd, 2003, 06:48 PM
The Germanic languages originated in the area of southern Scandinavia and the southwestern Baltic coastal areas. Even well into the Iron Age, when, they were still confined to this area which was a cultural backwater compared to the blossoming Mediterranean cultures of Greece and Rome and the nascent Celtic Halstatt and La Tene cultures. Many archaeologists like to finally identify them with the Jasdorf culture about 500 BC. For centuries before Jasdorf they had remained in the so-called Scandinavian Bronze Age.

The archaeological antecedents of the Germans in their earliest known homeland are not difficult and very interesting to trace. They included a basal population of 'Forest Neolithic' hunter-gatherers that are probably directly descended from the local Mesolithic populations. Adopting little more than pottery and polished stone tools, they seem part of a circum-Baltic and north Russian population that emerged into history as the Finnish-speaking populations. In archaeology they are recognized by their pottery, the so-called Pitted Ware. The Ertebolle culture of Denmark was the most successful of their group in the west Baltic.

During the third millenium BC two streams of colonists moved into Scandinavia. One came up the Atlantic axis settling in coastal lowlands and the northwest corner of the northern European plain. Megalithic monuments and communal burial mounds characterized their culture. We have no reason to believe they spoke an IE language. While it is conceivable that the language of these colonists was lost to the earlier population, it is impossible to consider that they ever were of either the Satem or Centum element that later made up the Germanic languages. Their culture was related to contemporary groups in Britain, Ireland, France, and Spain. They were of a totally different tradition than the IE peoples.

The second stream of colonists came from the east. In archaeology they are recognizable by their pottery, called Corded Ware, and their signature tool, called a Battle Axe. They also had horses. This culture originated in the parklands of the Russia and spread into many areas of central Europe and the Balkans.

Without going into long and confusing details about the TRB and other cultures of northern Europe in the succeeding centuries, suffice it to say here that the Corded Ware/ Battle Axe culture was made up of Satem element of the Germanic languages. Indeed, the earliest homeland of this culture was the epicenter of what would later emerge into history as the Baltic, Slavic, Dacio-Thracian, and Illyrian (Albanian) languages - all of which were Satem languages.

The Centum element in the Germanic languages then must have been picked up enroute by the Corded Ware population before they entered northern Germany and Scandinavia. This area must have been in Central Europe where other groups of Corded Ware peoples settled but were more completely absorbed by resident Centum speakers. In earliest historic times Celtic-speaking tribes inhabited this area. We should therefore consider that the Centum-Satem schism within the IE languages is quite old, with antecedents of the Celtic and Italian languages traceable all the way back to Linear Ware culture of the upper Danubian basin and adjacent areas to the north.

http://www.geocities.com/cas111jd/norse/german_origin.htm

Gtterschicksal
Thursday, July 17th, 2003, 09:36 AM
Mai 1914 - Sprachgebiete

Mitteleuropa (http://www.coletta.de/kolonien/Die%20deutschen%20Staemme%20und%20Dialek te%20xxl.jpg)

Glenlivet
Saturday, October 9th, 2004, 09:20 PM
SEVEN DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF GERMANIC


Germanic became different from the other Indo-European language groups in seven main ways:


The Indo-European verbal system was simplified. Indo-European distinctions of tense and aspect (indicates whether an action or state is viewed with regard to beginning, duration, incompletion, etc.) were lost except for the present and preterite (past) tenses. These two tenses are still the only ones indicated by inflection in Modern English; future and perfect tenses are expressed in phrases--e.g., I will have gone, etc.


Germanic developed a preterite tense (called weak or regular) with a dental suffix, -d or -t (e.g. fish, fished, etc.). Germanic languages thus have two types of verbs, weak (regular) and strong (irregular). Strong verbs indicate tense by an internal vowel change (e.g. swim, swam, swum). The weak form is the living method of inflection, and many originally strong verbs have become weak.


Germanic developed weak and strong adjectives. The weak declension was used when the modified noun was preceded by another word which indicated case, number, and gender. The strong declension was used in other situations. These declensions are no longer found in modern English, but compare these examples from Old English: a geongan ceorlas 'the young fellows' and geonge ceorlas 'young fellows.' (The weak adjective ends in -an while the strong adjective ends in -e.)


The Indo-European free accentual system allowed any syllable to be stressed. In Germanic the accent (or stress) is mainly on the root of the word, usually the first syllable.


Several Indo-European vowels were modified in the Germanic languages. For example, Indo-European /a:/ became /o:/. Compare Latin mater and Old English modor.


Two consonant shifts occurred in Germanic. In the First Sound Shift (commonly known as Grimm's Law) the Indo-European stops bh, dh, gh, p, b, t, d, k, and g underwent a series of shifts. The Second Sound Shift (also known as the High German Sound Shift) affected the high but not the low Germanic languages, so English was not affected.


Germanic has a number of unique vocabulary items, words which have no known cognates in other Indo-European languages. These words may have been lost in the other Indo-European languages, borrowed from non-Indo-European languages, or perhaps coined in Germanic. Among these words are Modern English rain, drink, drive, broad, hold, wife, meat, fowl.


http://www.towson.edu/~duncan/germanic.html

AryanKrieger
Saturday, October 9th, 2004, 10:47 PM
The Germanic languages originated in the area of southern Scandinavia and the southwestern Baltic coastal areas. Even well into the Iron Age, when, they were still confined to this area which was a cultural backwater compared to the blossoming Mediterranean cultures of Greece and Rome and the nascent Celtic Halstatt and La Tene cultures. Many archaeologists like to finally identify them with the Jasdorf culture about 500 BC. For centuries before Jasdorf they had remained in the so-called Scandinavian Bronze Age.

The archaeological antecedents of the Germans in their earliest known homeland are not difficult and very interesting to trace. They included a basal population of 'Forest Neolithic' hunter-gatherers that are probably directly descended from the local Mesolithic populations. Adopting little more than pottery and polished stone tools, they seem part of a circum-Baltic and north Russian population that emerged into history as the Finnish-speaking populations. In archaeology they are recognized by their pottery, the so-called Pitted Ware. The Ertebolle culture of Denmark was the most successful of their group in the west Baltic.

During the third millenium BC two streams of colonists moved into Scandinavia. One came up the Atlantic axis settling in coastal lowlands and the northwest corner of the northern European plain. Megalithic monuments and communal burial mounds characterized their culture. We have no reason to believe they spoke an IE language. While it is conceivable that the language of these colonists was lost to the earlier population, it is impossible to consider that they ever were of either the Satem or Centum element that later made up the Germanic languages. Their culture was related to contemporary groups in Britain, Ireland, France, and Spain. They were of a totally different tradition than the IE peoples.

The second stream of colonists came from the east. In archaeology they are recognizable by their pottery, called Corded Ware, and their signature tool, called a Battle Axe. They also had horses. This culture originated in the parklands of the Russia and spread into many areas of central Europe and the Balkans.

Without going into long and confusing details about the TRB and other cultures of northern Europe in the succeeding centuries, suffice it to say here that the Corded Ware/ Battle Axe culture was made up of Satem element of the Germanic languages. Indeed, the earliest homeland of this culture was the epicenter of what would later emerge into history as the Baltic, Slavic, Dacio-Thracian, and Illyrian (Albanian) languages - all of which were Satem languages.

The Centum element in the Germanic languages then must have been picked up enroute by the Corded Ware population before they entered northern Germany and Scandinavia. This area must have been in Central Europe where other groups of Corded Ware peoples settled but were more completely absorbed by resident Centum speakers. In earliest historic times Celtic-speaking tribes inhabited this area. We should therefore consider that the Centum-Satem schism within the IE languages is quite old, with antecedents of the Celtic and Italian languages traceable all the way back to Linear Ware culture of the upper Danubian basin and adjacent areas to the north.

http://www.geocities.com/cas111jd/norse/german_origin.htm


I would like to add that the Corded Ware culture extended to not only the Germanic peoples but also the Celtic,Baltic,Slavic and some of the Indo-European speakers of Italy.

beowulf_
Thursday, December 9th, 2004, 02:29 PM
Despite this thread is older Ive chosen to comment on
several points of the original post because it contains some
misinterpretions which are quite frequent to find...

Please excuse the "oberlehrerhafte" (upper-teacher-like) diction.:D

The Germanic languages originated in the area of southern Scandinavia and the southwestern Baltic coastal areas. Even well into the Iron Age, when, they were still confined to this area which was a cultural backwater compared to the blossoming Mediterranean cultures of Greece and Rome and the nascent Celtic Halstatt and La Tene cultures. Many archaeologists like to finally identify them with the Jasdorf culture about 500 BC. For centuries before Jasdorf they had remained in the so-called Scandinavian Bronze Age.

The Jastorf culture was the dominant and most progressive
Germanic culture but not the Germanic proto-culture.
On the contrary, this would mean that Scandinavia
had been Germanized only in the last centuries BC because
the roots of Jastorf lie in the Altmark and Mittelmark from
where it spread northwards to the Cimbrian peninsula.
On top of that, the Germanic character of Lower Saxony
whose place names confirm continuity since Pre-Germanic,
NW-IE times couldnt be expained at all. My speculation is
that Jastorf only stands for the Elbgermanic group.

During the third millenium BC two streams of colonists moved into Scandinavia. One came up the Atlantic axis settling in coastal lowlands and the northwest corner of the northern European plain. Megalithic monuments and communal burial mounds characterized their culture. We have no reason to believe they spoke an IE language.

The megalithic of the Mediterranean and western Europe is
highly divergent. The only thing in common is the usage of
large stones, the megaliths. I tend to see it only as a cultural
movement which spread along the Atlantic coast and the
old trade routes of the Rhone and Rhine valleys to the
north. This suspicion is confirmed by comparision with the
expansion of the bell beaker people into middle Europe
which in contrast carries clear signs of ethnic diffusion.


This culture (Corded Ware) originated in the parklands of the Russia and spread into many areas of central Europe and the Balkans.

I gladly repeat:
SK spread from west to east not the other way round.

Without going into long and confusing details about the TRB and other cultures of northern Europe in the succeeding centuries, suffice it to say here that the Corded Ware/ Battle Axe culture was made up of Satem element of the Germanic languages. Indeed, the earliest homeland of this culture was the epicenter of what would later emerge into history as the Baltic, Slavic, Dacio-Thracian, and Illyrian (Albanian) languages - all of which were Satem languages

The developement of the IE labiovelar constitutes only one
among many other dialectal differences.
Theres no satem element in Germanic languages.
Unexpected use of k instead of s indicate that both Baltic
and Slavic were original kentum languages.
Albanian most probably doesnt continue Illyrian whose
few records place it to the kentum tree.

The single grave culture (SK) has been developed out of
BK and TRK. The centre of amalgamation was Germany,
historically a stronghold of the kentum branch.

We should therefore consider that the Centum-Satem schism within the IE languages is quite old, with antecedents of the Celtic and Italian languages traceable all the way back to Linear Ware culture of the upper Danubian basin and adjacent areas to the north.

Already the Celtic character of the eastern parts of
the Hallstatt culture is not commonly accepted. Still earlier
candidates for predecessors of Italo-Celtic like urn field
culture, hill grave culture, Lusitanian culture are
controversially disputed. The prehistory of Italo-Celtic loses
itself in the darkness of the Bronze Age. So either
localization in the early neolithics is pure speculation.

Bismark
Thursday, March 3rd, 2005, 06:49 AM
Germanic Languages In Use Today:


http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/norteur.gif


Western Germanic Languages:



The German language

Group Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with German, Danish, Dutch etc.), West Germanic (with Frisian, Scots etc.)

Geography: Approximately 71 million German-speaking people live in Germany, and several million under foreign administration. In addition, German is spoken by almost 7 million people in Austria, about 300,000 in Luxembourg, 3,400,000 in the northern section of Switzerland, and about 1,500,000 in Alsace-Lorraine. Reliable statistics are not available concerning the number of German-speaking persons who inhabit those regions of eastern Europe from which Germans were expelled at the end of World War II. Outside Europe, the largest number of people using German as their mother tongue live in the United States. An important group of German-speaking people in the U.S. are the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch.

History: A descendant of the Old High German language, German is a mixture of dialects spoken over Central Europe before German principalities was united in 1871. Still, dialectal division remains significant: there are Bavarian, Austrian, Swiss, Rhein-Franconian and other High German varieties, some of them are considered separate languages by native speakers. In the 16-17th centuries High German started to penetrate to the north, to the region of the Low German language: this caused a mixture of speech in northern Germany.

Phonetics: One of the most interesting processes which took place in the Early Modern German period, was the lengthening of vowels in both open and closed syllables: today the word Name is pronounced as [na:m@] though in Middle High German it was [nam@]. Ancient long vowels turned into diphthongs (mn > mein 'my'). Some important mutations connected with morphology disappear. The letter s was transformed into [z] between vowels, and today Germans lesen sounds like [lezen].

Nominal Morphology : Of 43 nominal inflections which existed in Old High German, only 9 survived in the modern language. Still, the German tongue remains much more flective than its relatives English or Dutch: the noun preserves four cases (instrumental coincided with dative), adjectives can have strong and weak forms, pronouns and articles are also declined.

Verbal Morphology: The number of principle forms of the verb is reduced to three: helfen - half - geholfen 'help - helped - helped' instead of Middle High German helfen - half - hulfen (plural) - geholfen. The tense system acquires new analytical forms - the Future tense with the auxiliary verb werden. The Perfect and Pluperfect tenses are used more and more widely, as well as the passive voice.

Lexicon: Comparing to the Old High German period, plenty of new abstract terms appear in the language shaped by suffixes -keit, -heit, -ung etc. A lot of Latin and Greek scientific and cultural terms are also acquired.

Writing: Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: Very close to Low German and other West Germanic languages, like Dutch and Afrikaans.

Sample: Einmal wollte ich mit meiner Frau Inge den Urlaub in Thringen verbringen. Wir sollten uns aber auf diese Zeit gut vorbereiten. Inge is berufstig und hatte damals viel zu tun. So machte ich mich allein an die Arbeit. Once I wanted to spend my vacations with my wife Inge in Thuringia. However, we had to prepare well for this time. Inge works, and then she had a lot to do. So I got down to work alone.






The Low Saxon language (Plattdeutsch, Low German)


Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with English, German, Swedish etc.), West Germanic (with Frisian, Dutch etc.)

Geography: North Germany (including Hamburg, Lubeck, Bremen etc.)

History: Since the 13th century the heir of the Old Saxon (Old Low German) language is called Low Saxon. Formerly a flourishing tongue, spoken in the rich cities of Hansa, it was later subject to strengthening influence of High German. Today it is spoken mainly in rural areas, though some revival is taking palce for the last fifty years in the universities of Northern Germany.

Phonetics: Its main difference from the High German language is the absence of the '2nd consonant shift' which took place in Old High German. This means that voiceless stops remained as they were (Appel, maken, Water vs German Apfel, machen, Wasser). Ancient narrow vowels were also preserved (Huus vs. German Haus) as well as the original s before consonants (Steen [ste:n] vs. German Stein [shtaen]). The nasal consonants were dropped lengthening the preceding vowel (Gous, fif vs. German Gans, fnf).

Nominal Morphology: The system of morphology seems quite similar to other languagef the subgroup: German, Dutch, Frisian. The only significant difference is the coinciding personal pronouns of the dative and accusative cases: mik 'me' vs. German mir (dat.), mich (acc.).

Verbal Morphology:The two main peculiarities of the verbal conjugation are the following: a common ending in the plural (e.g. -et in Present), and the dropped prefix ge- in the Past Participle. These two features make Saxon closer to the English language.

Lexicon: There is a number of differences in the lexicon of Low German and High German languages. For example, Low German Aust 'harvest' vs. German Ernte, Low German lttje 'little' vs. German klein etc. In general, the Low German vocabulary remains much more archaic. In the last two centuries there are quite a lot of loanwords from German, especially in the field of culture and industry.

Writing: Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: Low German influenced greatly Swedish and Danish in the Middle Ages. The modern language has close contacts with German and Frisian languages.

Sample: Daar hest 'n Daler
gah up'n Markt
kp di eene Koh
un ok een ltt Lmmken daarto. German: Da hast du einen Taler, geh' auf den Markt, kauf dir eine Kuh und auch ein kleines Lmmchen dazu.

English: There you have a thaler, go to the market, buy yourself a cow and a little sheep for it.





The Afrikaans language


Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with German, English, Swedish etc.), West Germanic (with Dutch, English, Frisian etc.)

Geography: South Africa

History: Afrikaans was formed by Dutch colonists in Africa in the 17th century. Originally Afrikaans was a popular dialect composed of Dutch with a lot of borrowings from aboriginal languages of Africa. Though the official language of South African colonies was Dutch, Afrikaans was spoken by farmers who left Cape town seeking for better lands to the north. In the 19th century, when the Republic of Transvaal and the Orange Free State were founded, Afrikaans became an official speech there. In South Africa, Afrikaans was proclaimed the official language in 1914.

Phonetics: The same as in Dutch, there are no long consonants in Afrikaans, nor has it an aspiration after p, t, k at the beginning of the word - unlike all other West Germanic languages (e.g. English cat is pronounced with an aspiration [kht]).
Afrikaans is almost the only Germanic language which uses nasal vowels, especially before s (wens [we:s]). The initial Dutch g, v, z turned into [x], [f], [s] (soek 'to seek'). Another difference from Dutch is the combination [sk] instead of Dutch [sx] (Dutch school, Afrikaans skool 'school').

Nominal Morphology: Afrikaans can be considered as the most analytic of all Indo-European languages. In the process of development its declension was subject to radical simplification. The noun fully lost the gender distinction; the plural number is formed by the endings -e and -s. The declension disappeared, the the relations in the sentence are expressed by word order or by means of prepositions. There is a definite article die which is not declined, and an indefinite one 'n in singular.

Verbal Morphology: The verb is characterized by the complete loss of person and number. The past simple tense was lost, and of all the tenses, the Present, the Perfect, the Future I-II, and the Future in the Past were preserved. The original Germanic strong verbs (English irregular verbs) do not exist, all verbs are weak.

Lexicon: 99% of the lexicon of Afrikaans consist of words derived from Dutch. The rest are mainly Zulu, including the names for animals, plants and nature objects typical for South Africa. There are also a number of English words.

Writing: Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: Among the Indo-European languages, Afrikaans is quite close to Dutch, and formerly was considered as its dialect.
Suffered significant influence of Zulu, Bushmen, Gottentote languages of Africa, mainly in lexicon. Drastical changes of morphology is also thought to have been the result of lengthy contacts with African tongues. Contacts took place with Portuguese and Malayan languages as well.



The Dutch (Flemish) language


Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with English, German, Swedish etc.), West Germanic (with Frisian, Afrikaans etc.)

Geography: The Netherlands, several provinces of Belgium called Flanders (Ghent, Brabant, Antwerpen, Limburg). Also spoken in the former Dutch colonies in America (Surinam) and Asia (Indonesia). In Belgium the language is called Flemish, though it has preactically no difference from Dutch in the Netherlands. The total number of speakers equals to 21 million people.

History: The ancestor of Dutch was the West Low Frankish dialect of Germanic tribes. The Dutch language may be divided into three main periods-Old, Middle, and Modern Dutch. Old Dutch extends to about 1100. The only important extant monument of this period is a translation of the Psalter. Middle Dutch extends from 1100 to 1550, when the modern Dutch began to form.

Phonetics: Vowels can be short, semi-long and long, though long vowels are used only before r. Unlike German and English, Dutch g is a fricative sound [g]. Voiceless consonants p, t, k d not acquire an aspiration at the beginning of the word. Another interesting feature is an infixed vowel sound appearing between consonants: warm [warem] 'warm'.

Nominal Morphology: The history of Dutch is the history of constant simplification of morphology. Today the noun in Dutch has two genders (common and neuter), while in Middle Dutch there was also the feminine gender. The declension system was lost in colloquial speech, though is still used sometimes in the book style (the genitive case). The declension relations in the sentence are now expressed by means of word order and prepositions.
There are two kinds of article - indefinite (een) and definite (common de, neuter het).
The adjective can have short and full forms, the former used mainly in the predicate (hij is jong 'he is young').

Verbal Morphology: The verb is conjugated in person, number, tense, voice and mood. Strong and weak verbs have significant differences, there are also several special verbs. There are only 3 personal endings, but still the conjugation is rather strict (maak, maakt, maakt, maken, maakt, maken 'to make'). The tenses include the Present, the Preterite (Past), the Perfect, the Plusquamperfect, the Future I-II, and the Future in the Past I-II. The Perfect is formed with the help of the verbs hebben 'to have' and zijn 'to be'.

Lexicon: The Dutch language has a long leterature tradition, and its lexicon remains quite rich. Moreover, it is quite pure, for Dutch did not borrow many words from other languages. The only language which influenced south dialects of Dutch was French - mainly in Belgium.

Writing: Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: Contacts took place mainly within the Germanic group of Indo-European languages. In the Middle Ages, its neighbours were Frankish, Old Saxon and Frisian languages, later German, French and English. The colonial history of Holland did not affect the language.


The Frisian language
Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with Gothic, German, Swedish etc.), West Germanic (with Dutch, English etc.)

Geography: Spoken today in the Dutch state of Friesland, also on the Frisian islands in Germany and the Netherlands. Formerly was spread wider in Lowlands and even on the Jutland peninsula.

History: The Old Frisian language is known since the 9th century. In the early mediaeval times, a lot of documents, epic and historical, were written in it. From the 16th century, when Frisia loses its independence, the language existed only in colloquial forms. Today it is officially uised in Friesland and is gradually revived.

Phonetics: Frisian is especially rich in vowels and diphthongs: at all there are about 25 diphthongs and 6 triphthongs in the language. Diphthongs, as well as single vowels, vary in the root ablaut mutation (doar [do:ar] 'door' - doarren [dwaren] 'doors'). Together with Afrikaans Frisian is unique among Germanic languages for its nasal vowels. The sound [r] looks more like English, unlike Dutch and German - it is alveolar, not uvular. Unvoiced p, t, k are aspirated before a stressed vowel.

Nominal Morphology: Frisian morphology is considerably richer than that of its closest relative English. The noun here has two genders, two numbers and two cases. Old Frisian had also the feminine gender, but later it coincided with masculine. The plural is formed by -s and -en endings (heit 'father' - heiten). Old Frisian kept the remains of four cases, while today's language preserved only genitive. Moreover, genitive as well is used less and less frequently, replaced by complex constructions (mem har stoel 'mother's chair'). There are definite (de, it) and indefinite (in)articles.

Verbal Morphology: Formerly conjugated, the Frisian verb now has personal changes in the singular only. The tenses are common with similar Germanic languages, including English. All other verbal categories are also formed in an analytical way.

Lexicon : The Dutch language is much more suitable for expressing complex social and cultural terms, and this is why there are plenty of Dutch words in Frisian. The whole population of Friesland can speak both languages.

Writing: Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: The closest Germanic language is English, more distant ones are Dutch and Afrikaans.

Sample: Us heit, dy't yn de himelen binne; jins namme wurde hillige. Jins keninkryk komme. Jins wollen barre allyk yn 'e himel, sa ek op ierde. Jow s hjoed s deistich brea. En forjow s s skulden, allyk ek wy forjowe s skuldners. En lied s net yn forsiking, mar forlos s fan 'e kweade, Hwant Jowes is it keninkryk en de krft en de hearlikheit oant yn ivichheit.. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Modern West Frisian)




The English language


Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with German, Danish, Dutch etc.), West Germanic (with Frisian, Scots etc.)

Geography: The second widest language in the world, spoken by over 400 million people on all continents. English is the language for international communications and one of the five official languages of the UN.

History: The modern English language is a direct descendant of Old English, a tingue of Germanic tribes who invaded Britain in the 5th century. The language acquired its present day form in the 16th century. Later it spread to North America, Africa, Asia and Australia together with British migrants and became the official language of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and 15 countries of Africa. The literature English language is based on the London dialect.

Phonetics: English vowels are peculiar for the Indo-European family, especially [] in cat, [a] in cut, and diphthongs like in fear. In general, there is no strict border between diphthongs and long monophthongs. Dental fricative sounds [] in this and [] in thin are also unique among Germanic tongues.

Nominal Morphology: An analytical language with the word order and prepositions playing a very important part in the language. The noun is not declined, the possessive marker -'s is gradully going out of use. The plural number is formed with the ending -s, -es, and this is the only trace of inflection in the language.

Verbal Morphology: All verb tenses, voices and aspects are formed by complex constructions with the help of auxiliary verbs, participles and infinitives. The conjugation disappeared in the Middle English period, leaving the only formant -s in the 2nd person singular (sings, does). The conversion of word order is a frequent feature.

Lexicon: About 70% of the English vocabulary was borrowed from Latin, French, Scandinavian. As a result of colonial expansion, notably in North America but also in other areas of the world, many new words entered the English language. From the indigenous peoples of North America, the words raccoon and wigwam were borrowed; from Peru, llama and quinine; from the West Indies, barbecue and cannibal. In addition, thousands of scientific terms were developed to denote new concepts, discoveries, and inventions. Many of these terms, such as neutron, penicillin, and supersonic, were formed from Greek and Latin roots; others were borrowed from modern languages, as with blitzkrieg from German and sputnik from Russian.

Writing: Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: The closest relative is the Frisian language. Close contacts with French and German.

Sample: For this I know, not onelie by reading of bookes in my studie, but also be experience of life, abrode in the world that those, which be commonlie the wisest, the best learned, and best man also, when they be olde, were neuer commonlie the quickest of witte, when they were yonge. The causes why, amongest other, which be many, that moue me thus to thinke, be these fewe, which I will rechen. Quicke wittes commonlie, be apte to take, vnapte to keepe: soone hote and desirous of this and that: as colde and sone wery of the same againe: more quicke to enter spedelie, than able to pearse farre: euen like ouer sharpe tooles, whose edges be verie soone turned. (Roger Ascham. The Scholemaster, 1571)




The Scots language
Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with Norwegian, German, etc.), West Germanic (with English, Frisian etc.)

Geography: Mainly Lowlands of Scotland

History: Scots is a product of the mixture of several different languages, and not only Germanic. Picts, a non-Indo-European nation, lived here in prehistoric times, but then Romans from England and Gaels from Ireland pushed them north and settled here in Scotland. Then in the 5th century AD Angles coming from Germany and Denmark established several kingdoms in this region and slowly repelled Celtic and aboriginal population to the Highlands. But certainly, Germanic colonists acquired many words and place names from the Celtic and maybe even the Pictish language. The 9th language was the beginning of severe Viking intrusions into Scotland. They settled here, mixing with the Anglian population and creating an ethnic group of Scots.

Phonetics : The phonetics avoided the Great Vowel Shift in English, and still uses many sounds which were lost by Middle English like pure Indo-European [a], [u], [o]. Diphthongs are quite numerous, including such as oa, ou, ey etc., and some of them do not have correspondent sounds in English, e.g. ui, pronounced like German . Consonant are also sometimes different from English, like ch which sounds like [kh].

Nominal Morphology: The noun lost its declension, though not long ago it could have feminine or masculine gender. The plural is formed by the marker -s, but irregular plurals are more frequent than in English: cou - kye 'cow - cows', ee - een 'eye - eyes', etc. There are four grades of demonstrative pronouns, while English uses just two:
singular this tha thon yon
plural thir thae thon yon

Verbal Morphology: The verb is not conjugated. Still, Scots is more archaic than English, preserving more irregular verbs. The Past tense is marked with the ending -t / -it, Infinitive has a particle ti.

Lexicon : The lexicon includes numeropus loanwords from English, especially in terms of culture and technics. Also tere are many Cletic and Scandinavian elements.

Writing: Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: Very close to English (sometimes considered as its dialect). Many borrowings from Scottish Gaelic.

Sample: The kintra we nou ken as Scotlan his bin pairtit bi leid fur mair nor twa thousant yeir. In the Roman Eild, the Britons byded in the south o the kintra an thair leid wis a forebeir o modren Welsh. Bit in the unvinkisht north they spak Pictish, o whilk puckle is kent. Whan the Romans quat, new invaders cam in, the Gaelic- speikin Scotti frae Erlan in about AD five hunner an the Angles frae Northumberlan tha spok a norlan kin o Anglo Saxon. The country we now know as Scotland has been divided by language for more than two thousand years. In the Roman Age, the Britons lived in the south of the country, and their language was relative to modern Welsh. But in the north people spoke Pictish, of which little is known. When the Romans left, new invaders came, the Gaelic-speaking Scotti from Ireland in about AD 500, and the Angles from Northumberland who spoke a northern variety of Anglo-Saxon.





Northern Germanic Languages:


The Danish language


Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with German, English, Dutch etc.), North Germanic (with Swedish, Icelandic etc.)

Geography: Territory of modern Denmark, also spoken in the Skone region in southern Sweden and in Greenland. Formerly Danish was spread on the British Isles, and in Norway.

History: The Old Danish period lasted since the 9th to the 16th century. The first inscriptions in it were found on the Jutland peninsula. In the MiddleAges Danish was a language of Vikings who invaded Britain, Ireland, Northern Europe and colonized Scandinavia. After Denmark lost its colonies, the sphere of usage was limited to the territory of the kingdom.

Phonetics: The most significant feature is the Danish "push", similar to the German 'Knacklaut', a sharp laryngeal linking which happens after a vowel. This linking is very important not only phonetically but also morphologically. Another specific trait is the absence of long consonants which is not known in any other Scandinavian language. Danish has 20 vowels and 11 diphthongs, which can be both long and short. b, d, g are unvoiced consonants.

Nominal Morphology: 2 genders, 2 cases and 2 numbers make Danish a typical Scandinavian tongue. The plural number is usually formed with -er or -e. The indefinite article en, et precedes the noun, while the definite one -n, -t, -ne follows it. Adjectives have strong and weak forms.
Numerals in Danish are counted in 20s, so the word 'fifty' literally means 'two and a half times twenty'.

Verbal Morphology: Strong and weak verbs were preserved. A great lot of analytical constructions include eight tenses and the passive voice. The imperative mood is formed synthetically (skriv! 'write!'), the conjunctive mood is complex.

Lexicon: The Danish language struggles for the purity of its lexicon, so the basic vocabulary remains original. There are some loanwords from Low German and High German languages.

Writing: Runic alphabets (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/project/script/runic.html) (since the 9th till the 12th century), Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: In the early medieval times Latin influenced the language greatly, especially the lexicon. Later, during the Hansa period, Danish aristocracy and even kings preferred to speak Low German instead of Danish, and this also caused numerous loanwords and grammar borrowings.

Sample: KurmR konukR kari kubl usi aft urui kunu sina tanmarkaR but. Gorm the king built this rock in honour of his wife Thura, the saver of Denmark. (Stone from Jelling, the 10th cent.)




The Faroese language
Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with German, English, Dutch etc.), North Germanic (with Norwegian, Icelandic etc.)

Geography: The Faroe Islands

History: Norwegian colonists who settled on the Faroe Isles appeared isolated from the rest of Europe: formally the islands belonged to Denmark, but in fact they have always lived quite independently. The first written documents in Faroese appeared in the early 17th century. Today it is officially spoken.

Phonetics: Several vowels turned into diphthongs. There are no voiced stops b, d, g, they are pronounced as voiceless. Such consonants as k, g, sk became palatalized before the front vowels (kirkja [chircha], geva [djeva]). The 'umlaut' mutation is very frequent in the language.

Nominal Morphology: The grammar is in general very close to that of Icelandic, but Faroese is a little bit poorer: its noun has less types of declension, and more analytism. The noun has 3 genders, 2 numbers and 4 cases, though the genitive case is used rarely and mainly in the book style. There are weak and strong nouns, respectively adjectives can be both strong and weak. The article follows the noun.

Verbal Morphology: The verb is conjugated in the singular, while all plural forms are the same. Tenses are the same as in English. The passive is used with auxiliary verbs vera and vera. There are three moods - the third is optative, which is unique among modern Germanic tongues. It has only one unchangeable form though.

Lexicon: The Faroese vocabulary is rich and pure - its only loanwords are from Danish, because of the long period of Danish presence on the islands.

Writing: Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: Norwegian in the middle ages, later and now Danish.


The Icelandic language
Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with English, German, Gothic etc.), North Germanic (with Danish, Faroese etc.)

Geography: The island of Iceland only

History: The direct descendant of the Old Norse language which is also called Old Icelandic. Vikings from Norway and Denmark settled on the island since 874. In about 930 the country was fully colonized by them. After three centuries of independence Iceland falls under the rule of Norway, later becomes a Danish territory. The modern Icelandic tongue forms in the 16th century, though it is very difficult to draw the exact line.

Phonetics: Comparing to the Old Icelandic language, there are some slight changes in phonology: short vowels became long when stressed; several vowels lost their labialization (y > ). The ending -r acquired a prothetic vowel -u- before it (vegr > vegur 'way'). Icelandic possesses a rare feature called preaspiration: initial consonants have an aspiration before them (ntt [nouht] 'night').

Nominal Morphology: The noun has 2 numbers, 4 cases, and 3 genders. The number of types of declension, including the individual peculiarities of some nouns, reaches 20. Icelandic does not have an indefinite article, the only article is definite and is situated after the noun. The adjectival declension is also interesting, for in the plural of adjectives each gender has its endings, so when saying goodbye to a few men one says blessair, to women blessaar, to a company of both blessu (a neuter form).

Verbal Morphology: The verb has a rich system of conjugation: 3 persons, 2 numbers, 3 moods, 3 voices. All of them are formed flectively. Verbs can be strong, weak and preterite-present (the same three groups in Old English). The mutations in the root are very important (taka 'to take' - tekur 'you take').

Lexicon: The main peculiarity of the Icelandic vocabulary is that it remains extremely rich - Icelanders read quite a lot, plenty of ordinary people in the country are fond of writing verse. This is why the ancient lexicon of sagas is preserved in mind of the people. The second trait is the purity of the language - no words are borrowed, modern terms are made up using the Icelandic elements.

Writing: Runic alphabets (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/project/script/runic.html), later Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: Very close to Norwegian, even more to Faroese.


[i]The Norwegian language
Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with English, German, Gothic etc.), North Germanic (with Danish, Faroese etc.)

Geography: Spoken in Norway only

History: The Old Norwegian language was very rich of literature sources, mainly sagas about ancient kings of the country. After Norway became a Danish colony, the Norwegian language's sphere was limited to rural areas, while only Danish was spoken in the cities. The revival began in the 19th century, and with the help of scholars the language was artificially renovated.

Phonetics: Today, there are two main varieties of the language: the 'Book Language', basing on Danish dialects generated in Norwegian towns, and the 'New Norwegian', formed on the basis of rural Norwegian dialects. Both varieties are official, but their weight is different: the 'book language' is spoken in big cities, the majority of the literature is issued in it.
The system of phonetics is not always reflected by orthography. There are postalveolar consonants [t.], [d.], [n.] and [l.] used after r. Historically a lot of consonants were mutated. Another interesting feature is that both dynamic and musical stress are used in the language, which is met nowhere else in Indo-European.

Nominal Morphology: There are three genders, though feminine is used rarely. Two cases include common and genitive, the geniotive marker is -s. Two articles are definite and indefinite, both are declined in number and in gender. Adjectives have strong and weak variants.

Verbal Morphology: The flective structure of the verb was broken, it is not conjugated in person nor number. Flectively formed moods and tenses were replaced by complex constructions with auxiliary verbs. The only form which did not change sicne the Old Norwegian times is the imperative mood which is in fact the pure root of the verb: skriv! 'write!'.

Lexicon: The Norwegian language does not contain much of the modern scientific and technical terms, so it had to borrow them from Danish. Some genuine Norwegian vocabulary was attempted to introduce in the official speech, but they are mainly colloquial and sound even rough for the literature language.

Writing: Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: Danish, Swedish, formerly Icelandic.


The Swedish language
Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with German, English, Dutch etc.), North Germanic (with Danish, Icelandic etc.)

Geography: Sweden, western Finland and the Aland islands

History: Swedish is an eastern development of the Old Norse language. The Swedish branch of this common tongue developed into a separate language during the period 900-1500 and is called Old Swedish. Until after 1200 the only records of the language are runic inscriptions, cut primarily on tombstones and memorial stones. The Latin alphabet was introduced in the 13th century; periods of further differentiation followed, and some approximation to Danish (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/danish.html) occurred. The written language, based on two of the most widely spoken dialects, was made uniform throughout all of Sweden in the 14th century.

Phonetics: All original diphthongs disappeared in Swedish, making it unique among Germanic languages. Its [a] is quite back, and resembles [o] very much. In unstressed syllables, pracically every vowel is possible, though they are often reduced in other Scandinavian tongues.

Nominal Morphology: The noun can belong to one of the two genders (common or neuter). There are several types of forming the plural, but the majority of neuter nouns does not have any plural marker. The indefinite article precedes the word, the definite one follows it, both vary in gender.

Verbal Morphology: Last century Sweden made a distinction between the verbal conjugation in asingular and in plural - today the verb looks the same in both numbers. Different from Norwegian and Danish, Swedish verbs have four basic forms: the infinitive, the past singular, the past plural, and the supine, though the ablaut mutations partly disappeared. The supine often coincides with the past participle, but still remains a separate form, used for constructing the perfect tenses.

Lexicon: The language has an anicent literature tradition, which allowed it to avoid loanwords from other languages (Daish and Low German first of all).

Writing: Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: Finnish in the Middle Ages, later Danish in Southern Scandinavia and Low German.





Extinct Germanic Languages:



Eastern Germanic Languages:



The Gothic language
Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with Old Saxon, Old Norse, etc.), East Germanic (with dialects of Burgunds, Gepids etc.)

Geography: Originally located in Soutern Scandinavia, in the 3rd century AD moved to Europe and settled on the territory of modern Romania, Bulgaria, later Ukraine. After dividing into two main parts: Ostrogoths and Wisigoths, the former settled in Italy, the latter moved to Spain and Southern France.

History: The earliest records date back to the 3rd century. The majority of texts, including Wulfila's Bible, was written between the 5th and the 6th century. Soon afterwards, Gothic was assimilated by Romance dialects in Italy, Spain and France. In Crimea, remnants of Gothic existed till the 17th century.

Phonetics : A rather archaic phonetic system: Germanic stops were preserved here together with their specific fricative allophones (t / ); the Common Germanic * also remained in Gothic, though disappeared in all other Germanic languages. Vowel mutations are exceedingly frequent in morphology. The Verner's Law is absent in Gothic.

Nominal Morphology: The noun has all four Germanic cases, adjectives and pronouns also preserved the instrumental case. Types of declension are numerous, having all three genders. Pronouns often use the dual number, which gradually disappears in other Germanic dialects. There is also the Indo-European reflexve pronoun seina, sis, sik 'self'.

Verbal Morphology: Gothic is the only Germanic language which preserved reduplication in the 7th class of strong verbs (haitan - haihait 'to call - called'). Some other important characteristic features include the mediopassive voice (niman - nimada 'to take - I took for myself'), the dual forms everywhere (nimats 'you two take'). The complex past suffix of the weak verbs reflects the origins of the dental element: English they filled = Gothic fulljodedun.

Lexicon: Though the sources of the Gothic language are rather scarce, there are a great lot of archaic terms which make the language most useful for comparative studies.

Writing: Gothic alphabet

Close Contacts: Other East Germanic dialects (Burgunada, Gepidan, etc.) are known only in fragments. A lot of features of orthography and plenty of words were borrowed from Greek.

Sample: i ik qia izwis ni andstandan allis amma unseljin; ak jabai hwas uk stautai bi taihswon eina kinnu, wandei imma jah o anara. And I tell you not to resist the evil; but if someone hurts your right cheek, give him also another one.





Western Germanic Languages:



Old High German language


Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with Old English, Old Norse, Gothic etc.), West Germanic (with Old Saxon etc.)

Geography: Central and Southern Germany, the Kingdom of Franks

History: The first period of history of the German language did not have any writing (from the 5th to the 8th century AD). Since the 8th century the language was developing in the Kingdom of Franks, especially in its eastern parts where the population consisted mainly of Germanic tribes (Bavars, Alemanns, Turings). Dialects of this region formed the single language right near the 8th century. Later it becomes the official language of Germany. The Old High German language existed to the 11th century, followed by Middle High German.

Phonetics: Phonetics of Old High German differs greatly from that of the Common Germanic language. The original long * turned into (Gothic slpan vs. OHG slfan); several important diphthongs became single vowels. The Ablaut mutation was used widely to form morphological constructions, another significant feature was 'Umlaut', a vowel mutation influenced by i, j in the next syllable (alt 'old' - eltiro 'older').
Old High German was the only Germanic language which suffered the 2nd consonant shift, under which p, t, k became f, z, h after a vowel (English water vs. OHG wazzar, Gothic slpan vs. OHG slfan). This mutation was especially strict in Souther dialects, like Bavarian, and some linguists believe it was the result of the influence from some non-Indo-European nation of the Alps.

Nominal Morphology: Old High German was much more inflected than the modern German language. Before the 10th century its speakers used numerous endings, the noun could vary in gender (3), case (5), and number. Later the processes goin on in phonetics caused the drop of most vowels at the end of the word - and this is why the unification of declension appeared. The system of declension was destroyed by the Middle High German period. The definite article (der, diu, daz) is developed from the demonstrative pronoun in the 10th century.

Verbal Morphology: During the Old High German period numerous analytical constructions were appearing in the verbal structure. Before that, there was only two tenses in the language - the Present and the Preterite. Verbs could be strong or weak, both groups were divided into classes (seven classes of strong verbs used seven kinds of Ablaut mutation in the root).

Lexicon: Together with acquiring the Latin script, Old High German borrowed a great lot of cultural terms from Latin. But still, the basic vocabulary fund remained purely Germanic. Suffixes were extremely productive for forming abstract terms of the language.

Writing: Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: In the Kingdom of Franks, lengthy contacts with the Roman population caused the assimilation of Old High German in Gaul (modern France). Contacts with the aboriginal tribes of the Alps resulted to serious changes in the language, one of which is perhaps the 2nd consonant shift in Germanic (some similar trends are seen in Rhetoromance languages of the Alps).

Sample: Hiltibrant gimalahta; her was hrro man,
ferahes frtro; her frgn gistuont
fhm uuortum; hwer sin fater uuri. Hildebrand here told, being a wise man,
older and learned, he started asking
in short words, where his father was. (Hildebrand's Song)





Old Low German (Old Saxon) language


Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with Old English, Old Norse, Gothic etc.), West Germanic (with Old High German etc.)

Geography: Northern Germany (Saxony), Low Lands

History: In the first centuries of the new era Saxon tribes inhabited Northern Germany and south of the jutland peninsula. The demographic explosion in the 3-4th centuries forced some of them to seek better lands to settle - and in the 5th century the waves of Saxons together with other North Germanic tribes invade Britain, giving birth to the Old English language.
Saxony was a pagan country, and millions of people were killed here during the christianisation inthe 9th century by Charles the Great. After that, the influence of more developed south caused the decline of the Old Saxon language, which from the13th century is called Low German or Low Saxon.

Phonetics: Its main difference from the Old High German language is the absence of the '2nd consonant shift' which took place in High German. This means that voiceless stops remained as they were (tunga, makn, bk vs. Old High German zunga, mahhn, buoch). The nasal consonants were dropped lengthening the preceding vowel (thar, ff vs. Old High German andar, finf).

Nominal Morphology: The morphology of Old Saxon looks much like Old English. Among West Germanic languages, Old Saxon seems rather progressive - it did not make a distinction between genders in nominative singular. The personal pronouns lost their -r at the end (a rather strange feature); the 3rd person of those pronouns acquired a form he (perhaps, from Old Norse)

Verbal Morphology: All persons of the verb in the plural had the same ending in the Present and Past tenses; this was a distinguishing feature of Old Saxon.

Lexicon: After Saxons fell under the influence of Germany, a great lot of words were acquired from the Old High German dialects (including Frankish). The original vocabulary is very close to Old English and Old Frisian.

Writing: Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: Old English, Old Frisian, Old High German; Old Saxon influenced Swedish and Danish tongues very much.

Sample: fadar sa firiho barno,
thu bist an them hhon himila, rkea
geuuhid s thn namo uuordo gehuuilico
cuma thn craftag rki
uuera thn uuilleo obar thesa uuerold alla
s sama an ero s thar uppa ist
an them hhon himilo rkea
gef s dago gehuuilikes rd drohtin the gdo
thna hlaga helpa endi alt s hebenes uuard
managoro mnsculdio al s uue rum mannum dan
ne lt s farldean la uuihti
s for an iro uuilleon s uui uuirige sind
ac help s uuiar allun ubilon ddiun. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Heliand 840)





The Old English language


Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with Old Norse, Old High German, etc.), West Germanic (with Old Saxon, Frisian etc.)

Geography: Was born and spoken in England

History: Once a conglomerate of tribal dialects spoken by Angles, Saxons and Jutes on their invasion in Britain, the Old English language was formed after England was unified by Alfred in the 9th century. A lot of poems, including the Beowulf epic, historical and religious literature was written in Old English before the Norman conquest. After the 11th century, the Middle English period started.

Phonetics: Significant changes which the Old English phonetics undertook, included various mutations; a lot of diphthongs were formed. Vowel mutations, like i-mutation and others, are characteristic for the language. A lot of spirants existed in the language, which are sometimes not reflected in the orthography: e.g., the letter g could sound three different ways: like [j] in yellow, like [g] in gift, and like Greek [g].

Nominal Morphology: The language was more or less archaic, with Indo-European declension types preserved. Three genders, two numbers (with dual only in pronouns: wit 'you and me', git 'you two'), and four or five cases existed. Thetre were also root stems which had an ablaut mutation: t - t 'tooth - teeth'.

Verbal Morphology:The verb had only two tenses - the present and the past preterite tense. There were three moods, all of them formed flectively. All strong verbs were divided into seven classes, each of them reflected certain vowel mutation in the root: such verbs are called irregular in today's English. Weak verbs formed their past tense without any ablaut, but adding the suffix -ed-.

Lexicon: English did not borrow much from Celtic languages, except certain place names. More loanwords existed from Latin sources, and even more from Danish in the Viking epoch. The multinational lexicon of English began to shape in the Old period, and finally made English a language with 70% of foreign words in it.

Writing: Runic alphabets, Latin alphabet

Close Contacts: Celtic from aboriginal tribes of Britain, Latin from Roman colonists, Danish from the 8th to the 11th century.

Sample: 896. On y ylcan gere worhte se foresprecena here geweorc be Lygan .xx. mila bufan Lundenbyrig. a s on sumera foron micel dl ara burgwara, ond eac swa ores folces, t hie gedydon t ara Deniscana geweorce, ond r wurdon gefliemde, ond sume feower cyninges egnas ofslgene. a s on hrfeste a wicode se cyng on neaweste re byrig, a hwile e hie hira corn gerypon, t a Deniscan him ne mehton s ripes forwiernan. 896. This same year wrought the aforesaid army a work by the Lea, twenty miles above the city of London. Then in the summer of this year, went a large party of the citizens. and also of other folk, and made an attack on the work of the Danes; but they were there routed, and some four of the king's thanes were slain. In the harvest afterward the king encamped close to the
city, whilst they reaped their corn, that the Danes might not deprive them of the crop. (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.)





Northern Germanic Languages:



The Old Scandinavian (Old Norse) language
Group: Germanic (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html) (with English, German, Gothic etc.), North Germanic (with Danish, Faroese etc.)

Geography: Spoken by Germanic tribes on the south of the Scandinavian peninsula and in Denmark.

History: Numerous inscriptions written in Runes were found in southern Sweden and in Denmark - most of them date back to the 3rd - the 9th centuries AD, long before Scandinavians were converted into Christianity. Another source for studies is the vocabulary of Finnish words borrowed from Old Norse. After the 9th century Old Norse broke into several separate tongues, including Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Icelandic.

Phonetics: Through the period of the existence the language's phonetic system changed greatly. The early stage still preserved the stem vowel, as we can see from Norse loanwords in Finnish (Finnish jukko 'yoke', but Old Icelandic ok). The early Old Norse kept the initial j-, while later it was dropped (Finnish juusto 'cheese', but Old Icelandic ostr). The Germanic *-z in the endings of nouns was preserved as the sound R under the law of rhotacism. Different vowel mutations in the root make the language quite archaic.

Nominal Morphology:The language was highly flective, presenting all five Germanic noun cases, and the variety of declension types. Adjectives could be both strong and weak. The article did not exist, though later it developed in the post-nominal position in Scandinavian languages. Personal pronouns had three numbers, including dual.

Verbal Morphology: The verb of Old Norse does not differ a lot from that of the Icelandic language. The system of analytical tenses begins to form, and all the verbs were divided into strong, weak and preterite-present (modal).

Lexicon: The vocabulary of Old Norse is known scarcely from runic incriptions, but its descendant the Icelandic language with its sagas demonstrates how rich the language used to be in Scandinavia. It was also quite pure, with practically no borrowed words. A great lot of Germanic words cannot be found in any other Indo-European languages, and so they are sometimes considered as the substratum lexicon, left from aboriginal tribes of Northern Europe.

Writing: Runic alphabets (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/project/script/runic.html)

Close Contacts: Contacted with Finnish and Saami languages in the north, and with other Germanic languages in the south. There are also some elements borrowed from Slavic (like *turg 'market').

Sample: ek wiwaR after woduri
dewitadahalaiban worahto r
R woduride staina
rijoR dohtriR dalidun
arbijarjosteR arbijano. I, Wiwaz, wrought (the runes) according to Woduridaz, the bread keeper (lord). For me, Woduridaz, three daughters, the most legitimate-to-inherit of heirs, prepared the stone. (Tune Stone, c. 400 AD.)







Sources: http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Nordgau
Friday, March 4th, 2005, 12:04 AM
History: A descendant of the Old High German language, German is a mixture of dialects spoken over Central Europe before German principalities was united in 1871.

That sentence is a bit erronous, as it implies as if modern standard German came into being after and as a result of Bismarck's unfication in 1871. However the lingual homogenization of the Upper and Middle German dialects or regional variants into the New High German standard form took place in late medieval and early modern time (important factors e.g. the style of the imperial chancellery and Luther's Bible). A German standard language had existed already for long when the second Reich was established in 1871.

Aistulf
Friday, March 4th, 2005, 08:44 PM
The map is a bit fuzzy... Frysk [Frisian] is also spoken in Friesland (in the north of the Netherlands), and parts of Denmark, also, since when is Scottish Germanic?

Nordgau
Saturday, March 5th, 2005, 01:44 AM
The map is a bit fuzzy... Frysk [Frisian] is also spoken in Friesland (in the north of the Netherlands), and parts of Denmark, also, since when is Scottish Germanic?

With respect to Scotland, that "Scots" is, as far as I know, a Scottish variant of English, and not the Celtic Gaelic language up there. However I don't claim to be a special expert for the language situation in Scotland.

Thorburnoughly highly incorrect is the distribution of Low German (Low German in Germany is practically overall Low Saxon [Ostniederdeutsch on the map below is in all the eastern continuation of Low Saxon, West- and Ostniederdeutsch two variants of greater Low Saxon], only in a smaller Lower Rhenanian area at the border to the Netherlands, it is Low Frankish) on that map, which is given there only at a small litoral region at the North Sea. In reality, Low German covers the whole north of the German language area (while on the other side, such dialect maps imply a wrong impression, as the Low German dialect is practically spoken only anymore in rural retreat areas, and the North Germans largely speak standard German--respectively on colloquial level, with only lumps of the dialect proper--, while the dialects are in the south and middle of Germany rather vital; the Low German area thus in reality is rather perforated and not so wholly covered as on dialect maps)--see the map below.

On the other side, Frisian is not spoken on such a great area in Lower Saxony as on the map above--that's rather what the Frisian area there was once. In Lower Saxony, it is only spoken in the very little enclave of the Saterland, and--as far as I know--on the isles. However it is spoken in a greater area at the northwest coast of Schleswig-Holstein--which is not given on the map above.

http://pascal.kgw.tu-berlin.de/gnom/Lehre/kw1/06_dialektologie/dialekte.jpg

beowulf_
Saturday, March 5th, 2005, 10:28 PM
I wouldnt call standard German a descendant of OHG since standard German
was normatized in the eastern middle German (Saxonian) region and
succeeded over the "common German" (gemeines Deutsch) of upper Germany
while OHG is mostly known from Alemanian sources.

The map from dtv-lexicon isnt fully correct. For the division between
lower German and middle German classically the Benrath line is chosen which
marks the expansion of the second (German) sound shift which has moved
northward since the reformation, e.g. Berlin now lies south of this dialectal
border.

But let me ask a more interesting question: Udolph states that the more
conservative flection and lexical system of the western Germanic and
especially German language were strong indications for a continental urheimat
of the Germanic language tree. Does anyone have an explanation for the
widespread lose of flection in the Nordic languages?

Nordgau
Saturday, March 5th, 2005, 11:19 PM
The map from dtv-lexicon isnt fully correct. For the division between
lower German and middle German classically the Benrath line is chosen which
marks the expansion of the second (German) sound shift which has moved
northward since the reformation, e.g. Berlin now lies south of this dialectal
border.


That's anyway a bit twisted with the division between High and Low German in the area of Berlin, south/middle Brandenburg and parts of Sachsen-Anhalt.

IThe towns in that area were in early modern times the first ones of Low Germany where Low German was replaced by High German as standard language of the town charters, and High German expansed here really fora good part to the north, as you say. Berlinisch really almost can be called a "dialect" of the High German standard language, with the meaning of the "dialect" here thus having emerged out of the standard language, not being there before it, as such the first and most developed one in Germany. And one must consider that Berlinisch urban idiom penetrating the rural regions of most of Brandenburg and "killing" Low German there mostly in the 19th and 20th century.

However there are still Low German sediments in Berlinisch. In Berlin's "slang" one says for instance with High German "machen", but with Low German "icke". Well, anyway, the sound of Berlin is quite nice, apart from the Bavarian dialect, I like the idiom of Berlin best of all German regional variants. That is some consolation plaster for the "proper" and "actual" dialect having faded away in that region. ;)

beowulf_
Sunday, March 6th, 2005, 12:21 AM
Ive made an excerpt from the corresponding article in the Berlin Handbuch
(FAB) which is very much in line with what youve written:

[...] The medieval Berlin idiom was influenced by the surrounding Markian dialect. Many Lower German forms have survived till nowadays as icke "I",
kieken "look", Jhre "child", det "das, triezen "plague" with some Dutch
words: Padde "frog", Pde "couch grass", Kanten "crust", reflecting the
ancestry of the first settlers. [...] In the 15th century High German influences
started to take place due to the ruling of the Frankonian family of the
Hohenzollern which brought upper German civil servants with them. 1504 HG
administrative language. 1518 membership in the Hanse was quit.
Consequently Berlinisch lost much of its LG character:
kpen>koofen "buy", lopen>loofen "run", 2nd sound shift in Ferd "horse",
Flaume "plum". LG monophthongation in Been "leg", Fleesch "meat",
but HG dipthongation in mein "my", Eis "ice". [...] In the 2nd half of the 19th
century the towns and successively the thorps of the Mark Brandenburg surrendered to the Berlinian idiom. [...]

Wayfarer
Monday, March 7th, 2005, 08:36 PM
Scots is a germanic language, however it is important to understand that it is not a variant of English. It shares the same roots as English from the Anglo Saxons, but it developed independantly of English.
The Anglian kingdom of Northumbria which stretched all the way to the Lothians in Scotland spoke a dialect of Anglo Saxon which was different to the Saxon which was spoken in southern England.
As England was to go on to be brought under centralised rule the Northumbrian dialect in Northern England started to take on the characteristics of what is now known as Standard English. The Anglian dialect spoken in Scotland went on to develop as a seperate and distinct language. It was originally known as Inglis, it wasnt until the Lothians was amalgamated with the Kingdom of Scotland(who were Gaelic speakers) that it became to be known as Scots and no longer Inglis. The reason for this is that whith the merging of Eastern Scotland into the Kingdom of Scotland the administration of this kingdom shifted to Edinburgh and the people who lived there (Scots speakers) gradually saw themselves as Scots and hence their language became known as Scots.

Before the Angles settled in eastern and central Scotland the language spoken there was Brythonic Celtic similar to Welsh. The Gaels were originally from Ireland and mostly settled in the Western Isles and Western Highlands of Scotland. It was an Irish tribe known as the Scotti where we get the name Scot from.

An excellent resource on the Scots and other lowland or West Germanic languages is to be found here (http://www.lowlands-l.net/)
I higly recommend those interested to sign up to the lowlands list http://www.lowlands-l.net/index.php?page=subscription

An excellent map of the lowland speaking regions is on that website here (http://www.lowlands-l.net/map.htm)

Wayfarer
Tuesday, March 8th, 2005, 01:14 AM
Here is a link (http://www2.arts.gla.ac.uk/SESLL/STELLA/STARN/poetry/BRUS/contents.htm) to the oldest existing Scots poem, The Brus by john Barbour (1370's)


Some links on the Scots leid:

http://www.scots-online.org/
http://www.dsl.ac.uk/dsl/
http://www.scotsindependent.org/features/scots/
http://www.lallans.co.uk/
http://www.snda.org.uk/
http://www.ulsterscotsagency.com/language.asp
http://rasteri.sytes.net/~jmtait/but/
http://www.abdn.ac.uk/langling/resources/schistanth.html
http://www.lowlands-l.net/talk/eng/index.php?page=scots

Siegmund
Tuesday, March 8th, 2005, 07:16 AM
It may have been Nordgau who first posted this link to the amazing University of Exeter website on modern German dialects. The site offers an astounding wealth of information for anyone with an interest in Germanic languages and linguistics.

http://www.ex.ac.uk/~pjoyce/dialects/

Blutwlfin
Tuesday, June 14th, 2005, 09:13 PM
Tree of Germanic Languages, Language Descriptions and more
-> here (http://softrat.home.mindspring.com/germanic.html)

Wayfarer
Sunday, August 21st, 2005, 03:05 AM
http://softrat.home.mindspring.com/germanic.html

Blutwlfin
Friday, November 11th, 2005, 11:09 AM
Map with detailed information about each language

-> Link (http://indoeuro.bizland.com/tree/germ/ger.html)

Constantinus
Friday, November 11th, 2005, 11:13 AM
Dutch and Flemish are generally considered to be the same language. Nice map otherwise.

Blutwlfin
Friday, November 11th, 2005, 11:20 AM
Dutch and Flemish are generally considered to be the same language. Nice map otherwise.


In the map it says


The Dutch (Flemish) language

:D

Why they used different colours then, I don't know.

Constantinus
Friday, November 11th, 2005, 11:35 AM
Yeah, it's odd. There are a few people here and in Holland who claim the languages are distinct, but they're a small minority.

The following isn't entirely correct:
The history of Dutch is the history of constant simplification of morphology. Today the noun in Dutch has two genders (common and neuter), while in Middle Dutch there was also the feminine gender.

There are still 3 genders for the nouns in Dutch, but the grammatical significance of that isn't as big as in most other languages. In the dialects, especially in Flanders, the gender of a noun is a bit more pronounced than in the standard grammar though.

Marinus
Wednesday, February 21st, 2007, 02:20 AM
where does the benrath line stretch to? Is there a rendition of the border?