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If the Istaevones appear in Tacitus, how can they be dated from ca. 500? Second point, they can't be in the Low Franconian category, as they are earlier by far than it. Moreover, the Istaevones must include the Ripuarian Franks, who went all the way upstream to Mainze. And finally, Istaevonic must fall into the Proto-Frankish period. At its eastern end it became various grades of Old High German. And post-finally, Istaevonic is only an unverified hypothetical. While I appreciate the desire to get something up on the topic we ought to try to get something accurate up, which is considerably more work. I suppose one would start by working through the references. Meanwhile this discussion entry gives some idea of the sort of reference work needed. Importance? Well, Istaevonic, Ingaevonic and Ermannonic are sort of being abandoned in favor of Proto-Frankish and other dialectical protos, so I would say medium or even low. It does have some historical value. Perhaps medium? Oh, and post-post finally, the part about the relationship of the Chatti and other tribes to the Istaevones is pure guesswork, manufactured history, so to speak. All we know is what Tacitus says. He covers the tribes rather than the Istaevones, etc. Earlier German linguists often got carried away in speculation. I can't say I blame them as the topic is so interesting, but stories made up using scattered fragments out of context is historical fiction not history.Dave (talk) 12:49, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
I think articles on this and similar subjects face a challenge. There are actually several inter-related definitions for the same term. First, Istaevones are mentioned in classical sources, but not clearly defined. (I disagree that we can say that they "must include the Ripuarian Franks" for example, who were a later people, whose ancestry is unknown. But there is a possible link.) Secondly, the word has been picked up by modern linguists, but, as you correctly point out, they are talking about distinctions in Germanic which were probably not even existent in the classical period when the term was original used. Again, there might be a connection, but we need to be cautious.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:19, 6 December 2013 (UTC)