History of Germanic Languages

Topics: Germanic languages, English language, North Germanic languages Pages: 10 (3230 words) Published: December 12, 2012
1. Introduction
2. History of germanic languages.
3.1. The Indo-European languages
3.2. Historical Germanic Languages
3.3. Present day Germanic languages
3. The chronological division of the History of English. 4. Conclusion.
5. Bibliography.

1. Introduction.
This paper is dedicated to the history of germanic languages. Germanic languages, subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages, spoken by about 470 million people in many parts of the world, but chiefly in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. All the modern Germanic languages are closely related; moreover, they become progressively closer grammatically and lexically when traced back to the earliest records. This suggests that they all derive from a still earlier common ancestor, which is traditionally referred to as Proto-Germanic and which is believed to have broken from the other Indo-European languages before 500 B.C. Although no writing in Proto-Germanic has survived, the language has been substantially reconstructed by using the oldest records that exist of the Germanic tongue.

2. History of germanic languages.

The family of Germanic languages is a branch of the Indo-European language family (see the table below: Indo-European language tree). All languages within this family are derived from a parent Indo-European language of early migrants to Europe from southwestern Asia. The major subdivisions within the present day Indo-European languages spoken in Europe are Romance, Germanic, Slavic, Celtic (Breton, Welsh, Irish, Scottish) and Baltic (Latvian, Lithuanian) languages. From the middle of the 1st millennium BC, there is evidence of Germanic populations in southern Scandinavia and northern Germany. Their migrations from the 2nd century BC onwards are recorded in history. The linguistic and archaeological data seem to indicate that the last linguistic changes affecting all of the Germanic languages took place in an area which has been located approximately in Southern Sweden, Southern Norway, Denmark, and the lower Elbe. During their expansion, the Germanic tribes, who spoke an Indo-European language, mixed with other European tribes whose language is unknown. About 80 percent of Germanic word roots are of non-Indo-European origin. The Germanic languages are organized into three groups, North Germanic, West Germanic and East Germanic. Gothic, an East Germanic language, is the oldest Germanic language of which much is known. The main text corpus is a Bible translation by the bishop Ulfila from the 4th century C.E. (Common Era, also known as AD). The East Germanic languages (Gothic, Vandalic, Burgundian, Lombardic, Rugian, Herulian, Bastarnae, and Scirian) do not have present-day descendants. Modern North-Germanic languages.

The North Germanic languages are modern Danish, Swedish, Norwegian (with two written variants, Bokmål or Dano-Norwegian and Nynorsk or New Norwegian), Icelandic, and Faroese, as well as the various dialects of these languages. Here you will find some discussion of Gutnish and Dalska. North Germanic is historically divided into an East Scandinavian (Danish and Swedish) and a West Scandinavian (Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese) group. Out of the many West Germanic dialects, the following six present-day languages have distinctive written standards: Afrikaans, Dutch (Dutch-Flemish), English, Frisian, German, and Yiddish. Some discussion is also included here of Low German, Pennsylvanian German, Scots, and Black English Vernacular.

3.2. Historical Germanic Languages.
North Germanic
The North Germanic branch of the Germanic languages is spoken by the Germanic-speaking people who stayed in northern part of the Germanic homeland. Between about 800 C.E. and 1000 C.E., the dialects of North Germanic diverged into West and East Norse. West Norse can be further divided into Old Icelandic and Old Norwegian, while East Norse developed into Old Danish and Old Swedish. Old...
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