The Germanic languages belong to the Indo-European language family. This linguistic group is characterized by its phonological features. Differences in the phonology distinguish these languages from others. There are about 15 Germanic languages. 500 million people worldwide speak them as their native tongue. The exact number of individual languages is difficult to determine. It is often unclear whether independent languages or only dialects exist. The most prominent Germanic language is English. It has 350 million native speakers worldwide. After that come German and Dutch. The Germanic languages are divided into different groups. There are North Germanic, West Germanic, and East Germanic. North Germanic languages are the Scandinavian languages. English, German and Dutch are West Germanic languages. The East Germanic languages have all become extinct. Old English, for example, belonged to this group. Colonization spread Germanic languages across the world. As a result, Dutch is understood in the Caribbean and in South Africa. All Germanic languages are derived from a common root. Whether or not there was a uniform proto-language is unclear. Besides that, only a few old Germanic texts exist. Unlike the Romance languages, there are hardly any sources. Research of the Germanic languages is more difficult as a result. Relatively little is also known about the culture of the Germanic people, or Teutons. The people of the Teutons did not unite. As a result there was no common identity. Therefore, science has to rely on other sources. Without Greeks and Romans, we would only know a little about the Teutons!
© Copyright Goethe Verlag GmbH 2020. All rights reserved.