Anglo-Frisian languages

The Anglo-Frisian languages are the West Germanic languages which include Anglic (or English) and Frisian.

The Anglo-Frisian languages are distinct from other West Germanic languages due to several sound changes: the Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law, Anglo-Frisian brightening, and palatalization of /k/:

  • English cheese and West Frisian tsiis, but Dutch kaas, Low German Kees, and German Käse
  • English church and West Frisian tsjerke, but Dutch kerk, Low German Kerk, Kark, and German Kirche

The early Anglo-Frisian and Old Saxon were spoken by intercommunicating populations, which led to shared linguistic traits through assimilation. English and Frisian have a proximal ancestral form in common before their divergence. Geography isolated the settlers of Great Britain from Continental Europe, except from contact with communities capable of open water navigation. This resulted in Old Norse and Norman language influences on Modern English, whereas Modern Frisian was subject to contact with the southernly Germanic populations, restricted to the continent.

Anglo-Frisian
Geographic
distribution
Originally England, Scottish Lowlands and the North Sea coast from Friesland to Jutland; today worldwide
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Subdivisions
Glottologangl1264[1]
Anglo-Frisian distribution map
Approximate present day distribution of the Anglo-Frisian languages in Europe.

Anglic (or English):

  Scots

Frisian:

Hatched areas indicate where multilingualism is common.

Classification

The Anglo-Frisian family tree is:

Anglo-Frisian developments

The following is a summary of the major sound changes affecting vowels in chronological order.[2] For additional detail, see Phonological history of Old English.

  1. Backing and nasalization of West Germanic a and ā before a nasal consonant
  2. Loss of n before a spirant, resulting in lengthening and nasalization of preceding vowel
  3. Single form for present and preterite plurals
  4. A-fronting: WGmc a, āæ, ǣ, even in the diphthongs ai and au (see Anglo-Frisian brightening)
  5. palatalization of Proto-Germanic *k and *g before front vowels (but not phonemicization of palatals)
  6. A-restoration: æ, ǣa, ā under the influence of neighboring consonants
  7. Second fronting: OE dialects (except West Saxon) and Frisian ǣē
  8. A-restoration: a restored before a back vowel in the following syllable (later in the Southumbrian dialects); Frisian æuau → Old Frisian ā/a
  9. OE breaking; in West Saxon palatal diphthongization follows
  10. i-mutation followed by syncope; Old Frisian breaking follows
  11. Phonemicization of palatals and assibilation, followed by second fronting in parts of West Mercia
  12. Smoothing and back mutation

Comparisons

Numbers in Anglo-Frisian languages

These are the words for the numbers one to 12 in the Anglo-Frisian languages, with Dutch and German included for comparison:

Language 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
English one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve
Scots[3] ane
ae*
twa three fower five sax seiven aicht nine ten eleiven twal
Yola oan twye dhree vour veeve zeese zeven ayght neen dhen
West Frisian ien twa trije fjouwer fiif seis sân acht njoggen tsien alve tolve
Saterland Frisian aan twäi
twäin
twoo
träi fjauwer fieuw säks soogen oachte njugen tjoon alwen tweelich
North Frisian (Mooring dialect) iinj
ån
tou
tuu
trii
tra
fjouer fiiw seeks soowen oocht nüügen tiin alwen tweelwen
Dutch een twee drie vier vijf zes zeven acht negen tien elf twaalf
German eins zwei drei vier fünf sechs sieben acht neun zehn elf zwölf

* Ae /eː/, /jeː/ is the adjectival form used before nouns.[4]

Words in English, West Frisian, Dutch and German

English West Frisian Dutch German Scots
day dei dag Tag day
rain rein regen Regen rain
way wei weg Weg wey
nail neil nagel Nagel nail
butter bûter boter Butter butter
cheese tsiis kaas Käse cheese
church tsjerke kerk Kirche kirk
door doar deur Tür door
fork foarke vork Gabel fork
sibling[note 1] sibbe sibbe (dated) Sippe sib
together tegearre samen
tezamen
zusammen thegither
morn(ing) moarn morgen Morgen morn(ing)
until oant tot bis until
key kaai sleutel Schlüssel key, kee, kye
have been (was) ha west ben geweest bin gewesen wis
two sheep twa skiep twee schapen zwei Schafe twa sheep
have hawwe hebben haben hae
us ús ons uns us
horse hynder paard
ros (dated)
Pferd
Ross (dated)
horse
bread brea brood Brot breid
hair hier haar Haar hair
ear ear oor Ohr lug, ear
green grien groen grün green
sweet swiet zoet süß sweet
through troch door durch thro(u)ch, through(e), throw(e)
wet wiet nat nass weet
eye each oog Auge ee
dream dream droom Traum dream
it goes on it giet oan het gaat door es geht weiter/los it gings oan

Alternative grouping

Ingvaeonic, also known as North Sea Germanic, is a postulated grouping of the West Germanic languages that comprises Old Frisian, Old English[5] and Old Saxon.[6]

It is not thought of as a monolithic proto-language, but rather as a group of closely related dialects that underwent several areal changes in relative unison.[7]

The grouping was first proposed in Nordgermanen und Alemannen (1942) by the German linguist and philologist Friedrich Maurer (1898–1984), as an alternative to the strict tree diagrams which had become popular following the work of the 19th-century linguist August Schleicher and which assumed the existence of an Anglo-Frisian group.[8]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Original meaning was "relative" which has become "brother or sister" in English.

References

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Anglo-Frisian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Robert D. Fulk, “The Chronology of Anglo-Frisian Sound Changes”, Approaches to Old Frisian Philology, eds., Rolf H. Bremmer Jr., Thomas S.B. Johnston, and Oebele Vries (Amsterdam: Rodopoi, 1998), 185.
  3. ^ Depending on dialect 1. en, jɪn, in, wan *e:, je: 2. twɑ:, twɔ:, twe:, twa: 3. θrəi, θri:, tri: 4. 'fʌu(ə)r, fuwr 5. fai:v, fɛv 6. saks 7. 'si:vən, 'se:vən, 'səivən 8. ext, ɛçt 9. nəin, nin 10. tɛn
  4. ^ Grant, William; Dixon, James Main (1921) Manual of Modern Scots. Cambridge, University Press. p.105
  5. ^ Also known as Anglo-Saxon.
  6. ^ Some include West Flemish. Cf. Bremmer (2009:22).
  7. ^ For a full discussion of the areal changes involved and their relative chronologies, see Voyles (1992).
  8. ^ "Friedrich Maurer (Lehrstuhl für Germanische Philologie - Linguistik)". Germanistik.uni-freiburg.de. Retrieved 2013-06-24.

Further reading

  • Friedrich Maurer (1942), Nordgermanen und Alemannen: Studien zur Sprachgeschichte, Stammes- und Volkskunde, Strasbourg: Hünenburg.
  • Wolfram Euler (2013), Das Westgermanische [subtitle missing] (West Germanic: from its Emergence in the 3rd up until its Dissolution in the 7th Century CE: Analyses and Reconstruction). 244 p., in German with English summary, Verlag Inspiration Un Ltd., London/Berlin, ISBN 978-3-9812110-7-8.
  • Ringe, Donald R. and Taylor, Ann (2014). The Development of Old English - A Linguistic History of English, vol. II, 632p. ISBN 978-0199207848. Oxford.
Anglia (peninsula)

Anglia (German and Low Saxon: Angeln, Danish and South Jutlandic: Angel) is a small peninsula within the larger Jutland (Cimbric) Peninsula in the region of Southern Schleswig, which constitutes the northern part of the northernmost German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, protruding into the Bay of Kiel of the Baltic Sea.

To the south, Anglia is separated from the neighbouring peninsula of Swania (Ger. Schwansen, Dan. Svans or Svansø) by the Sly Firth (Ger. Schlei, Dan. Sli), and to the north from the Danish peninsula of Sundeved (Ger. Sundewitt) and the Danish island of Als (Ger. Alsen) by the Flensburg Firth (Ger. Flensburger Förde, Dan. Flensborg Fjord). The landscape is hilly, dotted with numerous lakes. Whether ancient Anglia conformed to the borders of the Anglian Peninsula is uncertain. It may have been somewhat larger; however, the ancient sources mainly concur that it also included the peninsula's territory.

Anglia has a significance far beyond its current small area and country terrain, in that it is believed to have been the original home of the Angles, Germanic immigrants to East Anglia, Central and Northern England, and the Eastern Scottish Lowlands. This migration led to their new homeland being named after them, from which the name "England" derives. England, East, Mid and West Anglia as well as the English language, thus, ultimately derive at least their names from Anglia.

English language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse (a North Germanic language), and to a greater extent by Latin and French.English has developed over the course of more than 1,400 years. The earliest forms of English, a group of West Germanic (Ingvaeonic) dialects brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century, are collectively called Old English. Middle English began in the late 11th century with the Norman conquest of England; this was a period in which the language was influenced by French. Early Modern English began in the late 15th century with the introduction of the printing press to London, the printing of the King James Bible and the start of the Great Vowel Shift.Through the worldwide influence of the British Empire, and later the United States, Modern English has been spreading around the world since the 17th century. Through all types of printed and electronic media, and spurred by the emergence of the United States as a global superpower, English has become the leading language of international discourse and the lingua franca in many regions and professional contexts such as science, navigation and law.English is the largest language by number of speakers, and the third most-spoken native language in the world, after Standard Chinese and Spanish. It is the most widely learned second language and is either the official language or one of the official languages in almost 60 sovereign states. There are more people who have learned it as a second language than there are native speakers. It is estimated that there are over 2 billion speakers of English. English is the most commonly spoken language in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, and it is widely spoken in some areas of the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia. It is a co-official language of the United Nations, the European Union and many other world and regional international organisations. It is the most widely spoken Germanic language, accounting for at least 70% of speakers of this Indo-European branch. English has a vast vocabulary, though counting how many words any language has is impossible. English speakers are called "Anglophones".

Modern English grammar is the result of a gradual change from a typical Indo-European dependent marking pattern, with a rich inflectional morphology and relatively free word order, to a mostly analytic pattern with little inflection, a fairly fixed SVO word order and a complex syntax. Modern English relies more on auxiliary verbs and word order for the expression of complex tenses, aspect and mood, as well as passive constructions, interrogatives and some negation. The variation among the accents and dialects of English used in different countries and regions—in terms of phonetics and phonology, and sometimes also vocabulary, grammar, and spelling—can often be understood by speakers of different dialects, but in extreme cases can lead to confusion or even mutual unintelligibility between English speakers.

Frisian languages

The Frisian (, also or ) languages are a closely related group of Germanic languages, spoken by about 500,000 Frisian people, who live on the southern fringes of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany. The Frisian languages are the closest living language group to the Anglic languages; the two groups make up the Anglo-Frisian languages group and and together with the Low German dialects these form the North Sea Germanic languages. However, modern English and Frisian are not mutually intelligible, nor are Frisian languages intelligible among themselves, due to independent linguistic innovations and foreign influences.

There are three different Frisian languages: West Frisian, by far the most spoken of the three, is an official language in the Dutch province of Friesland, where it is spoken on the mainland and on two of the West Frisian Islands: Terschelling and Schiermonnikoog. It is also spoken in four villages in the Westerkwartier of the neighbouring province of Groningen. North Frisian is spoken in the northernmost German district of Nordfriesland in the state of Schleswig-Holstein: on the North Frisian mainland, and on the North Frisian Islands of Sylt, Föhr, Amrum, and the Halligs. It is also spoken on the islands of Heligoland, in the North Sea. The third Frisian language, Saterland Frisian, a variant of East Frisian, is only spoken in the municipality of Saterland in the Lower Saxon district of Cloppenburg. Surrounded by bogs, the four Saterlandic villages lie just outside the borders of East Frisia, in the Oldenburg Münsterland region. In East Frisia, East Frisian Low Saxon is spoken, which is not a Frisian language, but a variant of Low German/Low Saxon.

Depending upon their location, the three Frisian languages have been heavily influenced by and bear similarities to Dutch and Low German/Low Saxon, and in addition North Frisian has Danish substrate. Additional shared linguistic characteristics between the Great Yarmouth area and Friesland are likely to have resulted from the close trading relationship these areas maintained during the centuries-long Hanseatic League of the Late Middle Ages.

Frisians

The Frisians are a Germanic ethnic group indigenous to the coastal parts of the Netherlands and northwestern Germany. They inhabit an area known as Frisia and are concentrated in the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen and, in Germany, East Frisia and North Frisia (which was a part of Denmark until 1864). The Frisian languages are still spoken by more than 500,000 people; West Frisian is officially recognised in the Netherlands (in Friesland), and North Frisian and Saterland Frisian are recognised as regional languages in Germany.

List of Indo-European languages

The Indo-European languages include some 449 (SIL estimate, 2018 edition) languages and dialects spoken by about or more than 3.5 billion people (roughly half of the world population). Most of the major languages belonging to language branches and groups of Europe, and Western and southern Asia, belong to the Indo-European language family. Therefore, Indo-European is the biggest language family in the world by number of mother tongue speakers (but not by number of languages in which it is the 3rd or 5th biggest). Eight of the top ten biggest languages, by number of native speakers, are Indo-European. One of these languages, English, is the De facto World Lingua Franca with an estimate of over one billion second language speakers.

Each subfamily or linguistic branch in this list contains many subgroups and individual languages.

Indo-European language family has 10 known branches or subfamilies, of which eight are living and two are extinct. The relation of Indo-European branches, how they are related to one another and branched from the ancestral proto-language is a matter of further research and not yet well known.

There are some individual Indo-European languages that are unclassified within the language family, they are not yet classified in a branch and could be members of their own branch.

The 449 Indo-European languages identified in the SIL estimate, 2018 edition, are mostly living languages, however, if all the known extinct Indo-European languages are added, they number more than 800. This list includes all known Indo-European languages, living and extinct.

A distinction between a language and a dialect is not clear-cut and simple because there is, in many cases, several dialect continuums, transitional dialects and languages and also because there is no consensual standard to what amount of vocabulary, grammar , pronunciation and prosody differences there is a language or there is a dialect (mutual intelligibility can be a standard but there are closely related languages that are also mutual intelligible to some degree, even if it is an asymmetric intelligibility). Because of this, in this list, several dialect groups and some individual dialects of languages are shown (in italics), especially if a language is or was spoken by a large number of people and over a big land area, but also if it has or had divergent dialects.

The ancestral population and language, Proto-Indo-Europeans that spoke Proto-Indo-European, estimated to have lived about 4500 BCE (6500 BP), at some time in the past, starting about 4000 BCE (6000 BP) expanded through migration and cultural influence. This started a complex process of population blend or population replacement, acculturation and language change of peoples in many regions of western and southern Eurasia.

This process gave origin to many languages and branches of this language family.

At the end of the second millennium BC Indo-European speakers were many millions and lived in a vast geographical area in most of western and southern Eurasia (including western Central Asia).

In the following two millennia the number of speakers of Indo-European languages increased even further.

In geographical area, Indo-European languages remained spoken in big land areas, although most of western Central Asia and Asia Minor was lost to another language family (mainly Turkic) due to Turkic expansion, conquests and settlement (after the middle of the first millennium AD and the beginning and middle of the second millennium AD respectively) and also to Mongol invasions and conquests (that changed Central Asia ethnolinguistic composition). Another land area lost to non-Indo-European languages was today's Hungary due to Magyar/Hungarian (Uralic language speakers) conquest and settlement.

However, in the second half of the second millennium AD, Indo-European languages expanded their territories to North Asia (Siberia), through Russian expansion, and North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand as the result of the age of European discoveries and European conquests through the expansions of the Portuguese, Spanish, French, English and the Dutch (these peoples had the biggest continental or maritime empires in the world and their countries were major powers).

The contact between different peoples and languages, especially as a result of the European discoveries, also gave origin to the many pidgins, creoles and mixed languages that are mainly based in Indo-European languages (many of which are spoken in island groups and coastal regions).

List of languages of the North Sea

This is a list of the languages spoken on the shores of the North Sea. All living ones are Germanic.

Low German

Low German or Low Saxon is a West Germanic language spoken mainly in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the Netherlands. It is also spoken to a lesser extent in the German diaspora worldwide (e.g. Plautdietsch).

Low German is most closely related to Frisian and English, with which it forms the North Sea Germanic group of the West Germanic languages. Like Dutch, it is spoken north of the Benrath and Uerdingen isoglosses, while (Standard) German is spoken south of those lines. Like Frisian, English, Dutch and the North Germanic languages, Low German has not undergone the High German consonant shift, as opposed to German, which is based upon High German dialects. Low German evolved from Old Saxon (Old Low German), which is most closely related to Old Frisian and Old English (Anglo-Saxon).

The Low German dialects spoken in the Netherlands are mostly referred to as Low Saxon, those spoken in northwestern Germany (Lower Saxony, Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Bremen, and Saxony-Anhalt west of the Elbe) as either Low German or Low Saxon, and those spoken in northeastern Germany (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Brandenburg, and Saxony-Anhalt east of the Elbe) mostly as Low German. This is because northwestern Germany and the northeastern Netherlands were the area of settlement of the Saxons (Old Saxony), while Low German spread to northeastern Germany through eastward migration of Low German speakers into areas with a Slavic-speaking population (Germania Slavica).

It has been estimated that Low German has approximately 6.7 million native speakers – 5 million in Germany, primarily Northern Germany, and 1.7 million in the Netherlands. A 2005 study by H. Bloemhof, Taaltelling Nedersaksisch, showed 1.8 million spoke it daily in the Netherlands.

Modern English

Modern English (sometimes New English or NE as opposed to Middle English and Old English) is the form of the English language spoken since the Great Vowel Shift in England, which began in the late 14th century and was completed in roughly 1550.

With some differences in vocabulary, texts from the early 17th century, such as the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible, are considered to be in Modern English, or more specifically, are referred to as using Early Modern English or Elizabethan English. English was adopted in regions around the world, such as North America, the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Australia and New Zealand through colonisation by the British Empire.

Modern English has many dialects spoken in many countries throughout the world, sometimes collectively referred to as the anglosphere. These dialects include American English, Australian English, British English (containing English English, Welsh English and Scottish English), Canadian English, Caribbean English, Hiberno-English, Indian English, Pakistani English, Nigerian English, New Zealand English, Philippine English, Singaporean English, and South African English.

According to the Ethnologue, there are almost 1 billion speakers of English as a first or second language. English is spoken as a first or a second language in a large number of countries, with the largest number of native speakers being in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland; there are also large populations in India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Southern Africa. It "has more non-native speakers than any other language, is more widely dispersed around the world and is used for more purposes than any other language". Its large number of speakers, plus its worldwide presence, have made English a common language ("lingua franca") "of the airlines, of the sea and shipping, of computer technology, of science and indeed of (global) communication generally".

North Frisians

North Frisians are the inhabitants of the district of Nordfriesland in the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Used in a narrower sense, the term also refers to an ethnic sub-group of the Frisians from the region of North Frisia, which lies primarily on the German North Sea coast, and on the island of Heligoland.

The North Frisians live on the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein – from the German-Danish border region in the north to the more southern town of Bredstedt in the district of North Friesland. The North Frisian language area also includes the offshore islands of Sylt, Föhr, Amrum and Heligoland (in the district of Pinneberg) and a number of smaller islands, the Halligen.The North Frisians still to some extent use the different dialects of the North Frisian language, which forms part of the group of Anglo-Frisian languages. This language is specially protected by the Schleswig-Holstein state constitution and by the Friisk Gesäts (German: Friesisch-Gesetz) or "Frisian Law".

Around 800 AD, the Frisians migrated into what later became Uthlande in the Duchy of Schleswig. Initially they only settled the offshore islands but, in a second wave of immigration around 1100, also populated the adjacent coastal strip between the rivers Eider and Vidå (German: Wiedau) on the Germano-Danish border.The colours gold, red and blue, like the coat of arms of North Frisia (which are not the same as those of the district of Nordfriesland), have been accorded official status by the Friisk Gesäts.

North Germanic languages

The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages, along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages. The language group is sometimes referred to as the "Nordic languages", a direct translation of the most common term used among Danish, Faroese, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish scholars and laypeople.

In Scandinavia, the term "Scandinavian languages" refers specifically to the generally mutually intelligible languages of the three continental Scandinavian countries and is thus used in a more narrow sense as a subset of the Nordic languages, leaving aside the insular subset of Faroese and Icelandic. Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish are also referred to as Scandinavian or Nordic languages, while Faroese and Icelandic are grouped together as Insular Nordic languages. The term Scandinavian arose in the 18th century as a result of the early linguistic and cultural Scandinavist movement, referring to the people, cultures, and languages of the three Scandinavian countries and stressing their common heritage.

The term "North Germanic languages" is used in comparative linguistics, whereas the term "Scandinavian languages" appears in studies of the modern standard languages and the dialect continuum of Scandinavia.Approximately 20 million people in the Nordic countries speak a Scandinavian language as their native language, including an approximately 5% minority in Finland. Languages belonging to the North Germanic language tree are also commonly spoken on Greenland and, to a lesser extent, by immigrants in North America.

Old Dutch

In linguistics, Old Dutch or Old Low Franconian is the set of Franconian dialects (i.e. dialects that evolved from Frankish) spoken in the Low Countries during the Early Middle Ages, from around the 5th to the 12th century. Old Dutch is mostly recorded on fragmentary relics, and words have been reconstructed from Middle Dutch and Old Dutch loanwords in French.Old Dutch is regarded as the primary stage in the development of a separate Dutch language. However, as the modern Dutch borders do not reflect any special delimitation of the continental West-Germanic dialect continuum during the Old Dutch period, in which no standard languages yet existed, some linguists prefer to avoid the term "Old Dutch" altogether and speak solely of Old Low Franconian. It was spoken by the descendants of the Salian Franks who occupied what is now the southern Netherlands, northern Belgium, part of northern France, and parts of the Lower Rhine regions of Germany. It evolved into Middle Dutch around the 12th century. The inhabitants of northern Dutch provinces, including Groningen, Friesland and the coast of North Holland, spoke Old Frisian, and some in the east (Achterhoek, Overijssel and Drenthe) spoke Old Saxon.

Old Saxon

Old Saxon, also known as Old Low German, was a Germanic language and the earliest recorded form of Low German (spoken nowadays in Northern Germany, the northeastern Netherlands, southern Denmark, the Americas and parts of Eastern Europe). It is a West Germanic language, closely related to the Anglo-Frisian languages. It is documented from the 8th century until the 12th century, when it gradually evolved into Middle Low German. It was spoken throughout modern northwestern Germany, primarily in the coastal regions and in the eastern Netherlands by Saxons, a Germanic tribe who inhabited the region of Saxony. It partially shares Anglo-Frisian's (Old Frisian, Old English) Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law which sets it apart from Low Franconian and Irminonic languages, such as Dutch, Luxembourgish and German.

The grammar of Old Saxon was fully inflected with five grammatical cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, and instrumental), three grammatical numbers (singular, plural, and dual) and three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter). The dual forms occurred in the first and second persons only and referred to groups of two.

Historically, Old Saxon and Old Dutch were considered to be distinct dialects of an otherwise unitary language rather than two languages, primarily because they were linked through a dialect continuum spanning the modern Netherlands and Germany. However, while these two languages both shared the same historical origins and some very similar writing styles, Old Saxon shows a slightly reduced morphology compared to Old Dutch, which retained some grammatical distinctions that Old Saxon abandoned. There are also various differences in their phonological evolution, Old Saxon being classified as an Ingvaeonic language, whereas Old Dutch is one of the Istvaeonic languages.

Phonological history of English

The phonological history of English describes the changing phonology of the English language over time, starting from its roots in proto-Germanic to diverse changes in different dialects of modern English.

Phonological history of Old English

The phonological system of the Old English language underwent many changes during the period of its existence. These included a number of vowel shifts, and the palatalization of velar consonants in many positions.

For historical developments prior to the Old English period, see Proto-Germanic language.

Proto-Germanic language

Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages.

Proto-Germanic developed from pre-Proto-Germanic into three branches during the first half of the first millennium of the Common Era: West Germanic, East Germanic and North Germanic, which however remained in contact over a considerable time, especially the Ingvaeonic languages (including English), which arose from West Germanic dialects and remained in continued contact with North Germanic.

A defining feature of Proto-Germanic is the completion of Grimm's law, a set of sound changes that occurred between its status as a dialect of Proto-Indo-European and its gradual divergence into a separate language. As it is probable that the development of this sound shift spanned a considerable time (several centuries), Proto-Germanic cannot adequately be reconstructed as a simple node in a tree model but rather represents a phase of development that may span close to a thousand years. The end of the Common Germanic period is reached with the beginning of the Migration Period in the fourth century.

The alternative term "Germanic parent language" may be used to include a larger scope of linguistic developments, spanning the Nordic Bronze Age and Pre-Roman Iron Age in Northern Europe (second to first millennia BC) to include "Pre-Germanic" (PreGmc), "Early Proto Germanic" (EPGmc) and "Late Proto-Germanic" (LPGmc). While Proto-Germanic refers only to the most recent reconstruction of the common ancestor of Germanic languages, the Germanic parent language refers to the entire journey that the dialect of Proto-Indo-European that would become Proto-Germanic underwent through the millennia.

The Proto-Germanic language is not directly attested by any coherent surviving texts; it has been reconstructed using the comparative method. Fragmentary direct attestation exists of (late) Common Germanic in early runic inscriptions (specifically the second-century AD Vimose inscriptions and the second-century BC Negau helmet inscription), and in Roman Empire era transcriptions of individual words (notably in Tacitus' Germania, c. 90 CE).

West Frisian language

West Frisian, or simply Frisian (Westerlauwersk Frysk or Frysk, pronounced [friːs(k)]; Dutch: Fries [fris]) is a West Germanic language spoken mostly in the province of Friesland (Fryslân) in the north of the Netherlands, mostly by those of Frisian ancestry. It is the most widely spoken of the three Frisian languages.

For English linguists, West Frisian is notable as being the most closely related language to English outside of Britain, and it is often considered to be "in between" English and Dutch.

West Germanic languages

The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic family of languages (the others being the North Germanic and the extinct East Germanic languages).

The three most prevalent West Germanic languages are English, German, and Dutch. The family also includes other High and Low German languages including Afrikaans and Yiddish (which are daughter languages of Dutch and German, respectively), in addition to other Franconian languages, like Luxembourgish, and Ingvaeonic (North Sea Germanic) languages next to English, such as the Frisian languages and Scots. Additionally, several creoles, patois, and pidgins are based on Dutch and English as they were languages of colonial empires.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.