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Encyclopedia > West Germanic language

West Germanic is the largest branch of the Germanic family of languages, including such languages as English, Dutch, and German.

The other families of Germanic are North Germanic and East Germanic.

Language classification
Indo-European languages
Germanic languages
West Germanic languages


There was never a West Germanic proto-language from which all the languages currently in the group seem to have derived. As such the grouping is more of a geographical convenience to categorize languages that share many similarities with each other but also individually compare closely to particular aspects of North Germanic or East Germanic.

Family tree

Note that divisions between subfamilies of Germanic are rarely precisely defined; most form dialect continua, with adjacent dialects being mutually intelligible and more separated ones not.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Germanic languages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1632 words)
The common ancestor of all languages comprising this branch is Proto-Germanic, spoken in approximately the latter mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age Northern Europe.
The largest Germanic languages are English and German, with approximately 380 and 120 million native speakers respectively.The group consists of other notable languages, such as Dutch with 22 and Afrikaans with 16 million speakers; and the Scandinavian languages including Danish, Norwegian and Swedish with a combined total of about 20 million speakers.
During the early Middle Ages, the West Germanic languages were separated by the insular development of Middle English on one hand, and by the High German consonant shift on the continent on the other, resulting in Upper German and Low Saxon, with graded intermediate Central German varieties.
  More results at FactBites »



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