Saturday, January 12, 2008

Germanic languages

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Germanic languages form one of the branches of the Indo-European (IE) language family. The largest Germanic languages are English and German, with ca. 340 and 120 million native speakers, respectively.
Other significant languages include a number of Low Germanic languages (including Dutch, Afrikaans) and the Scandinavian languages (principally Danish, Norwegian and Swedish). The SIL Ethnologue lists 53 different Germanic languages and dialects.
Their common ancestor is Common Germanic, probably spoken in the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age Northern Europe. Common Germanic, and all its descendants, is characterised by a number of unique linguistic features, most famously the consonant change known as Grimm's law. Early Germanic dialects enter history with the Germanic peoples who settled in northern Europe along the borders of the Roman Empire from the 2nd century.

(I have kept a "seminar journal" on another page but since I am closing that account, I thought I could re-post some of it over here)

1 comment:

Anastasia said...

Thank you for sharing this very interesting information, Theodora. Although French is the official language in 4 European countries - France,Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, in Canada and in many African countries, it's getting less and less popular. And despite the fact that it's the official language of the E.E. In Cyprus most kids would rather learn German than French, as a second foreign language after English - even if German is the official language of Germany and Austria only ! Ancient Greek has helped me a lot to learn German fast. The word order is very similar to Ancient Greek since the infinitive always goes at the end of the sentence. I love the German language very much and I now regret having forgotten most of it. I used to speak it fluently !!!