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Germanic Language Family
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Published on Thursday, April 5th, 2018
The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family spoken natively by a population of about 515 million people mainly in North America, Oceania, Southern Afri
The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family spoken natively by a population of about 515 million people mainly in North America, Oceania, Southern Africa and Europe.
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 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 moving south from Scandinavia in the 2nd century BC, to settle in the area of today's northern Germany and southern Denmark.
The West Germanic languages include the three most widely spoken Germanic languages: English with around 360–400 million native speakers; German, with over 100 million native speakers; and Dutch, with 23 million native speakers. The main North Germanic languages are Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Faroese, which have a combined total of about 20 million speakers. The 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.

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