HOME
        TheInfoList






Germanic - Romance language border:[68]
• Early Middle Ages  
• Early Twentieth Century  

The earliest evidence of Germanic languages comes from names recorded in the 1st century by Tacitus (especially from his work Germania), but the earliest Germanic writing occurs in a single instance in the 2nd century BC on the Negau helmet.[69]

From roughly the 2nd century AD, certain speakers of early Germanic varieties developed the Elder Futhark, an early form of the runic alphabet. Early runic inscriptions also are largely limited to personal names and difficult to interpret. The Gothic language was written in the Gothic alphabet developed by Bishop Ulfilas for his translation of the Bible in the 4th century.[70] Later, Christian priests and monks who spoke and read Latin in addition to their native Germanic varieties began writing the Germanic languages with slightly modified Latin letters. However, throughout the Viking Age, runic alphabets remained in common use in Scandinavia.

In addition to the standard Latin script, many Germanic languages use a variety of accent marks and extra letters, including the ß (Eszett), IJ, Ø, Æ, Å, Ä, Ü, Ö, Ð, Ȝ, and the Latinized runes Þ and Ƿ (with its Latin counterpart W). In print, German used to be prevalently set in blackletter typefaces (e.g., fraktur or schwabacher) until the 1940s, when Kurrent and, since the early 20th century, Sütterlin were used for German handwriting.

Yiddish is written using an adapted Hebrew alphabet.

Vocabulary comparison

Several of the terms in the table below have had semantic drift. For example, the form sterben and other terms for die are cognates with the English word starve. There are also at least three examples of a common borrowing from a non-Germanic source (ounce and devil and their cognates from Latin, church and its cognates from Greek).

Modern classification looks like this. For a full classification, see List of Germanic languages.

The earliest evidence of Germanic languages comes from names recorded in the 1st century by Tacitus (especially from his work Germania), but the earliest Germanic writing occurs in a single instance in the 2nd century BC on the Negau helmet.[69]

From roughly the 2nd century AD, certain speakers of early Germanic varieties developed the Elder Futhark, an early form of the runic alphabet. Early runic inscriptions also are largely limited to personal names and difficult to interpret. The Gothic language was written in the Gothic alphabet developed by Bishop Ulfilas for his translation of the Bible in the 4th century.[70] Later, Christian priests and monks who spoke and read Latin in addition to their native Germanic varieties began writing the Germanic languages with slightly modified Latin letters. However, throughout the Viking Age, runic alphabets remained in common use in Scandinavia.

In addition to the standard Latin script, many Germanic languages use a variety of accent marks and extra letters, including the ß (Eszett), IJ, Ø, Æ, Å, Ä, Ü, Ö, Ð, Ȝ, and the Latinized runes Þ and Ƿ (with its Latin counterpart W). In print, German used to be prevalently set in blackletter typefaces (e.g., fraktur or schwabacher) until the 1940s, when Kurrent and, since the early 20th century, Sütterlin were used for German handwriting.

Yiddish is written using an adapted Hebrew alphabet.

Vocabulary comparison

Several of the terms in the table below have had semantic drift. For example, the form sterben and other terms for die are cognates with the English word starve. There are also at least three examples of a common borrowing from a non-Germanic source (ounce and devil and their cognates from Latin, church and its cognates from Greek).

English Scots[71] West Frisian Afrikaans Dutch Limburgish Low German Central
German

(Luxembourg)
German Yiddish Gothic Icelandic Faroese Swedish Danish Norwegian
(Bokmål)
Norwegian
(Nynorsk)
apple aipple apel appel appel appel Appel Apel Apfel עפּל
(epl)
𐌰𐍀𐌻𐌿𐍃
(aplus)
epli epli[72] äpple æble eple eple
bear beir bear beer beer bear Baar Bier Bär בער
(ber)
𐌱𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌰 (Baira) björn bjørn björn bjørn bjørn bjørn
beech beech boeke beuk beuk beuk Böök Bich Buche ביטש
(bitsh)
𐌱𐍉𐌺𐌰
(bōka),[73]
-𐌱𐌰𐌲𐌼𐍃
(-bagms)
beyki bók
(artræ)
bok bøg bok bok, bøk
blood bluid bloed bloed bloed blood Blood, Bloot Blutt Blut בלוט
(blut)
𐌱𐌻𐍉𐌸
(blōþ)
blóð blóð blod blod blod blod
board buird board bord boord bórdj Boord Briet Brett[74] ברעט
(bret)
𐌱𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌳
(baúrd)
borð borð bord bord bord bord
book beuk boek boek boek book Book Buch Buch בוך
(bukh)
𐌱𐍉𐌺𐌰
(bōka)
bók bók bok bog bok bok
breast breest boarst
English Scots[71] West Frisian Afrikaans Dutch Limburgish Low German Central
German

(Luxembourg)
German Yiddish Gothic Icelandic Faroese Swedish Danish Norwegian
(Bokmål)
Norwegian
(Nynorsk)
apple aipple apel appel appel appel Appel Apel Apfel עפּל
(epl)
𐌰𐍀𐌻𐌿𐍃
(aplus)
epli epli[72] äpple æble eple eple
bear beir bear beer beer bear Baar Bier Bär בער
(ber)
𐌱𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌰 (Baira) björn bjørn björn bjørn bjørn bjørn
beech beech boeke beuk beuk beuk Böök Bich Buche ביטש
(bitsh)
𐌱𐍉𐌺𐌰
(bōka),[73]
-𐌱𐌰𐌲𐌼𐍃
(-bagms)
beyki bók
(artræ)
bok bøg bok bok, bøk
blood bluid bloed bloed bloed blood Blood, Bloot Blutt Blut בלוט
(blut)
𐌱𐌻𐍉𐌸
(blōþ)
blóð blóð blod blod blod blod
board buird board bord boord bórdj Boord Briet Brett[74] ברעט
(bret)
𐌱𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌳
(baúrd)
bor

From roughly the 2nd century AD, certain speakers of early Germanic varieties developed the Elder Futhark, an early form of the runic alphabet. Early runic inscriptions also are largely limited to personal names and difficult to interpret. The Gothic language was written in the Gothic alphabet developed by Bishop Ulfilas for his translation of the Bible in the 4th century.[70] Later, Christian priests and monks who spoke and read Latin in addition to their native Germanic varieties began writing the Germanic languages with slightly modified Latin letters. However, throughout the Viking Age, runic alphabets remained in common use in Scandinavia.

In addition to the standard Latin script, many Germanic languages use a variety of accent marks and extra letters, including the ß (Eszett), IJ, Ø, Æ, Å, Ä, Ü, Ö, Ð, Ȝ, and the Latinized runes Þ and Ƿ (with its Latin counterpart W). In print, German used to be prevalently set in blackletter typefaces (e.g., fraktur or schwabacher) until the 1940s, when Kurrent and, since the early 20th century, Sütterlin were used for German handwriting.

Yiddish is written using an adapted Hebrew alphabet.

Several of the terms in the table below have had semantic drift. For example, the form sterben and other terms for die are cognates with the English word starve. There are also at least three examples of a common borrowing from a non-Germanic source (ounce and devil and their cognates from Latin, church and its cognates from Greek).

English Scots[71]