A pan-Germanic language is a zonal constructed language designed for communication amongst speakers of Germanic languages. Many of them are very similar and overlap inconsistently in orthography, phonology, and vocabulary. Of the few known efforts, Folkspraak, in different incarnations, is probably the most commonly known pan-Germanic language today.
The idea behind a zonal constructed language as such is to be easily understood by the speakers of the Germanic languages. However, due to the diversity and variation even between dialects, the largest languages: English, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish usually take precedence to any others. Moreover, some of the pan-languages may attempt to unify subgroups such as the North or West Germanic languages.
The development of the languages are similar in its process to Interlingua—to create a word or a grammatical form samples are taken from all of the Germanic languages and the form common to most of the languages is selected. Reference is also made to previously existing and parallel Germanic zonal constructed languages.
The first known active and concise effort to unite the Germanic languages is Tutonish. It was developed by Elias Molee in 1901, and reformed in 1906 and 1915. It was extremely simplistic. The orthography, while straightforward, was not related to any of the existing natural Germanic languages. However, despite its shortcomings, Molee established Four Principles that provided a framework for future works.
Later in the 20th and 21st centuries, other projects have been launched as well, none of which has ever been successful, though:
- Euronord was created by linguist and Manx language scholar Adrian J. Pilgrim in 1965. It is chiefly based on English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish and was intended to be a zonal constructed language for Northern Europe. Unlike his predecessor Molee, Pilgrim was not as extensive in his work and little is known about Euronord.
- In 2000, a new project was presented on the Internet by Aaron Chapman, Folksstem ("De Nue Germane Kunstsprak"). Later, it was renamed Nordien and Nordienisk.
- Currently[when?], most efforts at a Pan-Germanic concentrate around Folkspraak, a collaborative project or projects, that was initiated on the internet in 1995. Since its inception, the project has not advanced much, and rifts in the Folkspraak community have given rise to various variants, including Middelsprake (by Ingmar Roerdinkholder, 2004), Sprak (by Stephan Schneider, 2006) and Frenkisch (by David Parke, 2008).
- Tcathan/Chathan (tcatamsck) began being made in 2007. It has influences from Dutch/Afrikaans, German, North Germanic, Modern English, Old English, and Proto-Germanic.
- Folksstem (archived)
- Dieter Nerius (2000). Aktuelle Probleme der gegenwärtigen Linguistik: Schriftlinguistik, Lexikologie, Textlinguistik. Universität Rostock. p. 95.
- Sprak at Wikibooks
- Meyer, Anna-Maria (2014). Wiederbelebung einer Utopie: Probleme und Perspektiven slavischer Plansprachen im Zeitalter des Internets. Univ. Bamberg Press. p. 51.
Das Projekt ist jedoch weniger weit ausgearbeitet als die drei im Mittelpunkt dieser Arbeit stehenden slavischen Plansprachenprojekte, und es haben sich aufgrund diverser Uneinigkeiten verschiedene Versionen herausgebildet.