18 Facts About Germanic languages


Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family spoken natively by a population of about 515 million people mainly in Europe, North America, Oceania and Southern Africa.

FactSnippet No. 987,982

All Germanic languages are derived from Proto-Germanic, spoken in Iron Age Scandinavia.

FactSnippet No. 987,983

East Germanic languages branch included Gothic, Burgundian, and Vandalic, all of which are now extinct.

FactSnippet No. 987,984

Some West Germanic languages did not survive past the Migration Period, including Lombardic.

FactSnippet No. 987,985

Afrikaans is one of the 11 official Germanic languages in South Africa and is a lingua franca of Namibia.

FactSnippet No. 987,986

All 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.

FactSnippet No. 987,987

North Germanic languages is only attested in scattered runic inscriptions, as Proto-Norse, until it evolves into Old Norse by about 800.

FactSnippet No. 987,988

East Germanic languages were marginalized from the end of the Migration Period.

FactSnippet No. 987,989

Germanic languages possess a number of defining features compared with other Indo-European languages.

FactSnippet No. 987,990

Roughly speaking, Germanic languages differ in how conservative or how progressive each language is with respect to an overall trend toward analyticity.

FactSnippet No. 987,991

That is, if two Germanic languages in a family share a characteristic that is not observed in a third language, that is evidence of common ancestry of the two Germanic languages only if the characteristic is an innovation compared to the family's proto-language.

FactSnippet No. 987,992

Proto-Germanic languages 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.

FactSnippet No. 987,993

Oldest 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.

FactSnippet No. 987,994

An important innovation in Proto-Germanic languages was the development of two separate sets of adjective endings, originally corresponding to a distinction between indefinite semantics and definite semantics .

FactSnippet No. 987,995

All living Germanic languages belong either to the West Germanic or to the North Germanic branch.

FactSnippet No. 987,996

The West Germanic languages group is the larger by far, further subdivided into Anglo-Frisian on one hand and Continental West Germanic languages on the other.

FactSnippet No. 987,997

East Germanic includes most notably the extinct Gothic and Crimean Gothic languages.

FactSnippet No. 987,998

From roughly the 2nd century AD, certain speakers of early Germanic languages varieties developed the Elder Futhark, an early form of the runic alphabet.

FactSnippet No. 987,999