List of languages of the North Sea

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The Germanic languages in Europe
  Dutch (Low Franconian, West Germanic)
  Low German (West Germanic)
  Central German (High German, West Germanic)
  Upper German (High German, West Germanic)
  Anglic (Anglo-Frisian, West Germanic)
  Frisian (Anglo-Frisian, West Germanic)
  East Scandinavian
  West Scandinavian
  Line dividing the North and West Germanic languages.

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

North Germanic languages[edit]

Main article North Germanic languages

West Germanic languages[edit]

Main article West Germanic languages

Anglo-Frisian languages[edit]

Main article Anglo-Frisian languages

High German languages[edit]

Main Article High German languages

Low Franconian languages[edit]

Main article Low Franconian languages

Low German[edit]

Extinct languages[edit]

This is the approximate extent of Old Norse and related languages in the early 10th century around the North Sea. The red area is the distribution of the dialect Old West Norse; the orange area is the spread of the dialect Old East Norse. The pink area is Old Gutnish and the green area is the extent of the other Germanic languages with which Old Norse still retained some mutual intelligibility

The following languages are either extinct, or no longer used on the North Sea coast

  • Old Norse (North Germanic). This evolved into the modern North Germanic languages off which most except for Norn still survive.
    • Norn language. This was spoken in the Orkney and Shetland islands but was replaced by English/Scots in the 18th and 19th centuries. The last speaker died in the 19th century.
  • Pictish language (Celtic). This was spoken in what's now Scotland in the early Middle Ages by a people called the Picts. It was replaced by Scottish Gaelic and Old Norse in the 9th and 10th centuries.
  • Scottish Gaelic language (Celtic) After it replaced pictish, it was spoken all over Scotland, where it was the national language. It was replaced by English/Scots in the lowlands from the High Middle Ages but until recently it was spoken on the north sea coast of the Highlands, from Nairn to John O' Groats. With the Highland Clearances of the early 19th century and due to other factors, it lost ground to English in those areas. Although a few speakers of those dialects of Gaelic remain as of the early 21st century, they are among the elderly and Gaelic is no longer the predominant language of anywhere on the north sea coast. Attempts are being made to revive it.
  • Old Brythonic language (Celtic) was spoken in Britain in the Iron Age, the Roman Era and the Sub-Roman Period. It was replaced by the Germanic dialects of the Anglo-Saxon invaders that would later be Old English.