Jump to content

West Germanic languages

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
West Germanic
Originally between the Rhine, Alps, Elbe, and North Sea; today worldwide
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
ISO 639-5gmw
Linguasphere52-AB & 52-AC
Extent of Germanic languages in present day Europe

North Germanic languages


West Germanic languages

Dots indicate areas where multilingualism is common.

Extent of Germanic languages in present day Africa

West Germanic languages

The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic family of languages (the others being the North Germanic and the extinct East Germanic languages). The West Germanic branch is classically subdivided into three branches: Ingvaeonic, which includes English and the Frisian languages; Istvaeonic, which encompasses Dutch and its close relatives; and Irminonic, which includes German and its close relatives and variants.

English is by far the most-spoken West Germanic language, with more than 1 billion speakers worldwide. Within Europe, the three most prevalent West Germanic languages are English, German, and Dutch. Frisian, spoken by about 450,000 people, constitutes a fourth distinct variety of West Germanic. The language family also includes Afrikaans, Yiddish, Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, Hunsrik, and Scots. Additionally, several creoles, patois, and pidgins are based on Dutch, English, or German.


Origins and characteristics[edit]

The Germanic languages are traditionally divided into three groups: West, East and North Germanic.[1] In some cases, their exact relation was difficult to determine from the sparse evidence of runic inscriptions, so that some individual varieties have been difficult to classify. This is especially true for the unattested Jutish language; today, most scholars classify Jutish as a West Germanic variety with several features of North Germanic.[2]

Until the late 20th century, some scholars claimed that all Germanic languages remained mutually intelligible throughout the Migration Period, while others hold that speakers of West Germanic dialects like Old Frankish and speakers of Gothic were already unable to communicate fluently by around the 3rd century AD. As a result of the substantial progress in the study of Proto-West Germanic in the early 21st century, there is a growing consensus that East and West Germanic indeed would have been mutually unintelligible at that time,[3] whereas West and North Germanic remained partially intelligible.[4]

Dialects with the features assigned to the western group formed from Proto-Germanic in the late Jastorf culture (c. 1st century BC). The West Germanic group is characterized by a number of phonological, morphological and lexical innovations or archaisms not found in North and East Germanic. Examples of West Germanic phonological particularities are:[5]

  • The delabialization of all labiovelar consonants except word-initially.[6]
  • Change of *-zw- and *- đw- to *-ww- e.g. *izwiz > *iwwiz 'you' dat.pl.; *feđwōr > *fewwōr 'four'.[7]
  • [ð], the fricative allophone of /d/, becomes [d] in all positions.[8] (The two other fricatives [β] and [ɣ] are retained.). This must have occurred after *-zw- and *- đw- have become *-ww-.[9]
  • Replacement of the second-person singular preterite ending -t with (indicative and Subjunctive mood).[10] For more than 150 years there has been a scientific debate on the best explanation of these difficult forms. Today, most linguists, beginning with J. v. Fierlinger in 1885[11] and followed by R. Löwe (1907),[12] O. Behaghel (1922),[13] Jakob Sverdrup (1927), Hermann Hirt (1932),[14] E. Polomé (1964),[15] W. Meid (1971),[16] E. Hill (2004),[17] K.-H. Mottausch[18] and W. Euler (1992ff.)[19] explain(ed) this ending as a relict of the Indo-European aorist tense. Under this assumption, the ending -t would have replaced older -ī(z). Sceptical about this explanation – and mostly explaining these forms as influenced by optative forms – were/are W. Scherer (1868), W. L. van Helten (before 1917), Edward Schröder (1921), Bammesberger (1986) and Don Ringe (2014).
  • Loss of word-final /z/.[20][21][22] Only Old High German preserves it at all (as /r/) and only in single-syllable words. Following the later loss of word-final /a/ and /aN/, this made the nominative and accusative of many nouns identical.
  • Loss of final *-a (including from PGmc. *-an#) in polysyllables: e.g. acc. sg. OHG horn vs. ORu. horna 'horn'; this change must have occurred after the loss of word-final /z/.[9]
  • West Germanic gemination: lengthening of all consonants except /r/ before /j/.;[23][24] this change must have occurred after the loss of final *-a.[9]
  • Change of Proto-Germanic *e to i before i and j.[25]

A relative chronology of about 20 sound changes from Proto-Northwest Germanic to Proto-West Germanic (some of them only regional) has been published by Don Ringe in 2014.[26]

A phonological archaism of West Germanic is the preservation of grammatischer Wechsel in most verbs, particularly in Old High German.[27] This implies the same for West Germanic,[28] whereas in East and North Germanic many of these alternations (in Gothic almost all of them) had been levelled out analogically by the time of the earliest texts.

A common morphological innovation of the West Germanic languages is the development of a gerund.[29]

Common morphological archaisms of West Germanic include:

Furthermore, the West Germanic languages share many lexemes not existing in North Germanic and/or East Germanic – archaisms[35] as well as common neologisms.[36][37] Some lexemes have specific meanings in West Germanic[38] and there are specific innovations in word formation and derivational morphology,[39] for example neologisms ending with modern English -ship (< wgerm. -*skapi, cf. German -schaft) like friendship (< wg. *friund(a)skapi, cf. German Freundschaft) are specific to the West Germanic languages and are thus seen as a Proto West Germanic innovation.[40][41]

Validity of West Germanic as a subgroup[edit]

Since at least the early 20th century, a number of morphological, phonological, and lexical archaisms and innovations have been identified as specifically West Germanic. Since then, individual Proto-West Germanic lexemes have also been reconstructed. Yet, there was a long dispute if these West Germanic characteristics had to be explained with the existence of a West Germanic proto-language or rather with Sprachbund effects. Hans Frede Nielsen's 1981 study Old English and the Continental Germanic Languages[42] made the conviction grow that a West Germanic proto-language did exist. But up until the 1990s, some scholars doubted that there was once a Proto-West Germanic proto-language which was ancestral only to later West Germanic languages.[43] In 2002, Gert Klingenschmitt presented a series of pioneering reconstructions of Proto-West Germanic morphological paradigmas and new views on some early West Germanic phonological changes,[44] and in 2013 the first monographic analysis and description of Proto-West Germanic was published (second edition 2022).[45]

Today, there is a scientific consensus[46] on what Don Ringe stated in 2012, that "these [phonological and morphological] changes amount to a massive evidence for a valid West Germanic clade".[47]

After East Germanic broke off (an event usually dated to the 2nd or 1st century BC), the remaining Germanic languages, the Northwest Germanic languages, divided into four main dialects:[48][obsolete source] North Germanic, and the three groups conventionally called "West Germanic", namely:

Although there is quite a bit of knowledge about North Sea Germanic or Anglo-Frisian (because of the characteristic features of its daughter languages, Anglo-Saxon/Old English and Old Frisian), linguists know almost nothing about "Weser–Rhine Germanic" and "Elbe Germanic". In fact, both terms were coined in the 1940s to refer to groups of archaeological findings, rather than linguistic features. Only later were the terms applied to hypothetical dialectal differences within both regions. Even today, the very small number of Migration Period runic inscriptions from the area, many of them illegible, unclear or consisting only of one word, often a name, is insufficient to identify linguistic features specific to the two supposed dialect groups.

Evidence that East Germanic split off before the split between North and West Germanic comes from a number of linguistic innovations common to North and West Germanic,[5] including:

  • The lowering of Proto-Germanic ē (/ɛː/, also written ǣ) to ā.[49]
  • The development of umlaut.
  • The rhotacism of /z/ to /r/.
  • The development of the demonstrative pronoun ancestral to English this.

Under that view, the properties that the West Germanic languages have in common, separate from the North Germanic languages, are not necessarily inherited from a "Proto-West Germanic" language, but may have spread by language contact among the Germanic languages spoken in Central Europe, not reaching those spoken in Scandinavia or reaching them much later. Rhotacism, for example, was largely complete in West Germanic while North Germanic runic inscriptions still clearly distinguished the two phonemes. There is also evidence that the lowering of ē to ā occurred first in West Germanic and spread to North Germanic later since word-final ē was lowered before it was shortened in West Germanic, but in North Germanic the shortening occurred first, resulting in e that later merged with i. However, there are also a number of common archaisms in West Germanic shared by neither Old Norse nor Gothic. Some authors who support the concept of a West Germanic proto-language claim that, not only shared innovations can require the existence of a linguistic clade, but also that there are archaisms that cannot be explained simply as retentions later lost in the North or East, because this assumption can produce contradictions with attested features of the other branches.

The debate on the existence of a Proto-West Germanic clade was summarized (2006):

That North Germanic is ... a unitary subgroup [of Proto-Germanic] is completely obvious, as all of its dialects shared a long series of innovations, some of them very striking. That the same is true of West Germanic has been denied, but I will argue in vol. ii that all the West Germanic languages share several highly unusual innovations that virtually force us to posit a West Germanic clade. On the other hand, the internal subgrouping of both North Germanic and West Germanic is very messy, and it seems clear that each of those subfamilies diversified into a network of dialects that remained in contact for a considerable period of time (in some cases right up to the present).[50]

The reconstruction of Proto-West Germanic[edit]

Several scholars have published reconstructions of Proto-West Germanic morphological paradigms[51] and many authors have reconstructed individual Proto-West Germanic morphological forms or lexemes. The first comprehensive reconstruction of the Proto-West Germanic language was published in 2013 by Wolfram Euler,[52] followed in 2014 by the study of Donald Ringe and Ann Taylor.[53]

Dating Early West Germanic[edit]

A map
West Germanic languages c. 580 (Euler 2022)

If indeed Proto-West Germanic existed, it must have been between the 2nd and 7th centuries. Until the late 2nd century AD, the language of runic inscriptions found in Scandinavia and in Northern Germany were so similar that Proto-North Germanic and the Western dialects in the south were still part of one language ("Proto-Northwest Germanic").

Sometime after that, the split into West and North Germanic occurred. By the 4th and 5th centuries the great migration set in. By the end of the 6th century, the area in which West Germanic languages were spoken, at least by the upper classes, had tripled compared to the year 400. This caused an increasing disintegration of the West Germanic language and finally the formation of the daughter languages.[54]

It has been argued that, judging by their nearly identical syntax, the West Germanic dialects were closely enough related to have been mutually intelligible up to the 7th century.[55] Over the course of this period, the dialects diverged successively. The High German consonant shift that occurred mostly during the 7th century AD in what is now southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland can be considered the end of the linguistic unity among the West Germanic dialects, although its effects on their own should not be overestimated. Bordering dialects very probably continued to be mutually intelligible even beyond the boundaries of the consonant shift.

Middle Ages[edit]

The approximate extent of the continental West Germanic languages in the early 10th century:[56]
  Line marking the boundaries of the continental West Germanic dialect continuum.

During the Early Middle Ages, the West Germanic languages were separated by the insular development of Old and Middle English on one hand, and by the High German consonant shift on the continent on the other.

The High German consonant shift distinguished the High German languages from the other West Germanic languages. By early modern times, the span had extended into considerable differences, ranging from Highest Alemannic in the South (the Walliser dialect being the southernmost surviving German dialect) to Northern Low Saxon in the North. Although both extremes are considered German, they are not mutually intelligible. The southernmost varieties have completed the second sound shift, whereas the northern dialects remained unaffected by the consonant shift.

Of modern German varieties, Low German is the one that most resembles modern English. The district of Angeln (or Anglia), from which the name English derives, is in the extreme northern part of Germany between the Danish border and the Baltic coast. The area of the Saxons (parts of today's Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony) lay south of Anglia. The Angles and Saxons, two Germanic tribes, in combination with a number of other peoples from northern Germany and the Jutland Peninsula, particularly the Jutes, settled in Britain following the end of Roman rule in the island. Once in Britain, these Germanic peoples eventually developed a shared cultural and linguistic identity as Anglo-Saxons; the extent of the linguistic influence of the native Romano-British population on the incomers is debatable.

The varieties of the continental West Germanic dialect continuum since 1945:[57][58][59][60]

Family tree[edit]

Grouping of the main Germanic tribes (which can be equated with their languages/dialects) according to Friedrich Maurer

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

Comparison of phonological and morphological features[edit]

The following table shows a list of various linguistic features and their extent among the West Germanic languages, organized roughly from northwest to southeast. Some may only appear in the older languages but are no longer apparent in the modern languages.

Old English Old Frisian Old Saxon Old Dutch Old Central
Old Upper
Palatalisation of velars Yes Yes Partial No No No
Unrounding of front rounded vowels ø but not y Yes No Southwestern No No
Loss of intervocalic *-h- Yes Yes Developing Yes Developing No
Class II weak verb ending *-(ō)ja- Yes Yes Sometimes No No No
Merging of plural forms of verbs Yes Yes Yes No No No
Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law Yes Yes Yes Rare No No
Loss of the reflexive pronoun Yes Yes Most dialects Most dialects No No
Loss of final *-z in single-syllable words Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Reduction of weak class III to four relics Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Monophthongization of *ai, *au Yes Yes Yes Usually Partial Partial
Diphthongization of *ē, *ō No No Rare Yes Yes Yes
Final-obstruent devoicing No No No Yes Developing No
Loss of initial *h- before consonant No No No Yes Yes Developing
Loss of initial *w- before consonant No No No No Most dialects Yes
High German consonant shift No No No No Partial Yes

The following table shows some comparisons of consonant development in the respective dialect/language (online examples though) continuum, showing the gradually growing partake in the High German consonant shift and the anglofrisian palatalization. The table uses IPA, to avoid confusion via orthographical differences. The realisation of [r] will be ignored.

C = any consonant, A = back vowel, E = front vowel

Proto West Germanic *θ- *-ð- *-β- *-β *g- *-Aɣ- *-Eɣ- *-Ak- *-Ak *-Ek- *-Ek *d- *-d- *b- *sA- *sE- *sk *-t- *-p- *-tt- *t- *-pp- *p- *-kk- *kA- *kE-
PR-English θ ð v f ??? (f/ɣ/θ/ð) k t̠ʃ d b s ʃ ʃ t p t p p k k t̠ʃ
Frisian t ɾ~d k sk
South Low Franconian d d ɣ z sx k
North Low Franconian (Dutch) x x ç
West Low German ʃ
North/Central Low German g
East Low German ʝ ʃ
West Central German x ç x ʃ t t͡s
Mid Central German ɾ b ɣ ʝ ɣ x ʒ ʃ d z v b g
East Central German d b g x ʃ t s f p k
Upper German (only partly HG) ç p͡f
-> some southernmost dialects k x p s k͡x


The existence of a unified Proto-West Germanic language is debated. Features which are common to West Germanic languages may be attributed either to common inheritance or to areal effects.

The phonological system of the West Germanic branching as reconstructed is mostly similar to that of Proto-Germanic, with some changes in the categorization and phonetic realization of some phonemes.


In addition to the particular changes described above, some notable differences in the consonant system of West Germanic from Proto-Germanic are:

  • Fortition of /ð/ to /d/ in all positions
  • The transition of /z/ into a rhotic consonant (often transcribed as ʀ), which eventually merged with /r/
  • A process referred to as West Germanic gemination, which is visible in the history of all West Germanic languages
Consonant phonemes of West Germanic
Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Labio-Velar
Nasal m n (ŋ) (ŋʷ)
Stop p b~v t d k g~ɣ gʷ~ɣʷ
Fricative f θ s z x
Rhotic r
Approximant l j w


Some notable differences in the vowel system of West Germanic from Proto-Germanic are:

  • Reduction of overlong vowels to simple long vowels
  • Lowering of /ɛː/ to /æː/
  • The creation of a new short /o/ phoneme, from the lowering of /u/ in initial syllables before /a/, and the reduction of word-final /ɔː/
Monophthong phonemes of West Germanic
Front Central Back
unrounded unrounded rounded
short long short long short long
Close i u
Mid e o
Open æː a



The noun paradigms of Proto-West Germanic have been reconstructed as follows:[64][65]

Case Nouns in -a- (m.)
*dagă (day)
Nouns in -ja-
*herjă (army)
Nouns in -ija-
*hirdijă (herder)
Nouns in -a- (n.)
*joką (yoke)
Nouns in -ō-
*gebu (gift)
Nouns in -i-
*gastĭ[66]/*gasti[67] (guest)
Nouns in -u-
*sunu (son)
Nouns in -u- (n.)
*fehu (cattle)
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative *dag[68]/dagă[69] *dagō?[68]/dagā[70] *herjă[69]/*hari[68] *herjā[69]/*harjō?[68] *hirdijă *hirdijō *joką *joku *gebu *gebā[71]/*gebō[68] *gastĭ/*gasti *gastī *sunu *sunī<*suniwi[72]/*suniwi, -ō[67] *fehu (?)
Vocative *dag(ă) *herjă[69]/*hari[68] *hirdī
Accusative *dag[68]/dagă[70] *dagą̄?[68]/dagą[70] *herjă[69]/*hari[68] *herją[69]/*harją̄?[68] *hirdiją *hirdiją̄ *geba[71]/*gebā[68] *gebā *gastĭ/*gasti *gasti[66]/*gastį̄[67] *sunu *sunu < *sunų[72] / *sunų̄?[67]
Genitive *dagas *dagō *herjes[69]/*harjas[68] *herjō[69]/*harjō[68] *hirdijas *hirdijō *jokas *jokō *gebā *gebō(nō)[71]/*gebō[68] *gastes[66]/*gastī[67] *gastijō *sunō *suniwō *fehō
Dative *dagē *dagum *herjē[69]/*harjē[68] *herjum[69]/*harjum[68] *hirdijē *hirdijum *jokē *jokum *gebu[71]/*gebē[68] *gebōm *gastē[66]/*gastī[67] *gastim *suniu < *suniwi[72] / *suniwi, -ō[67] *sunum *fehiwi, -ō
Instrumental *dagu *herju[69]/*harju[68] *hirdiju *joku *gebu *sunu < *sunū[72] / *sunu[67] *fehu

West Germanic vocabulary[edit]

The following table compares a number of Frisian, English, Scots, Yola, Dutch, Limburgish, German and Afrikaans words with common West Germanic (or older) origin. The grammatical gender of each term is noted as masculine (m.), feminine (f.), or neuter (n.) where relevant.

West Frisian English Scots Yola Afrikaans Dutch Limburgish Standard High German Old English Old High German Proto-West Germanic[73] Proto-Germanic
kaam comb kaim khime / rack kam kam m. kâmp Kamm m. camb m. camb m. kąbă [see inscription of Erfurt-Frienstedt], *kambă m. *kambaz m.
dei day day dei dag dag m. daag Tag m. dæġ m. tag m. *dagă m. *dagaz m.
rein rain rain rhyne reën regen m. rengel, raege Regen m. reġn m. regan m. *regnă m. *regnaz m.
wei way wey wei / wye weg weg m. weeg Weg m. weġ m. weg m. *wegă m. *wegaz m.
neil nail nail niel nael nagel m. nieëgel Nagel m. næġel m. nagal m. *naglă m. *naglaz m.
tsiis cheese cheese cheese kaas kaas m. kieës Käse m. ċēse, ċīese m. chāsi, kāsi m. *kāsī m. *kāsijaz m. (late Proto-Germanic, from Latin cāseus)
tsjerke church kirk chourch kerk kerk f. kêrk Kirche f. ċiriċe f. chirihha, *kirihha f. *kirikā f. *kirikǭ f. (from Ancient Greek kuriakón "belonging to the lord")
sibbe sib; sibling[note 1] sib sibbe (dated) / meany sibbe f. Sippe f. sibb f. "kinship, peace" sippa f. [cp. Old Saxon: sibbia] sibbju, sibbjā f. *sibjō f. "relationship, kinship, friendship"
kaai f. key key kei / kie sleutel sleutel m. slueëtel Schlüssel m. cǣġ(e), cǣga f. "key, solution, experiment" sluzzil m. *slutilă m., *kēgă f. *slutilaz m. "key"; *kēgaz, *kēguz f. "stake, post, pole"
ha west have been hae(s)/hiv been ha bin was gewees ben geweest bin geweis(t) bin gewesen
twa skiep two sheep twa sheep twye zheep twee skape twee schapen n. twieë schäöp zwei Schafe n. twā sċēap n. zwei scāfa n. *twai skēpu n. *twai(?) skēpō n.
hawwe have hae ha het hebben hebbe, höbbe haben habban, hafian habēn *habbjană *habjaną
ús us us ouse ons ons os uns ūs uns *uns *uns
brea bread breid breed brood brood n. mik, broeëd Brot n. brēad n. "fragment, bit, morsel, crumb" also "bread" brōt n. *braudă m. *braudą n. "cooked food, leavened bread"
hier hair hair haar haar haar n. haor Haar n. hēr, hǣr n. hār n. *hǣră n. *hērą n.
ear ear lug lug oor oor n. oeër Ohr n. ēare n. < pre-English *ǣora ōra n. *aura < *auza n. *auzǭ, *ausōn n.
doar door door dher deur deur f. dueër Tür f. duru f. turi f. *duru f. *durz f.
grien green green green groen groen greun grün grēne gruoni *grōnĭ *grōniz
swiet sweet sweet sweet soet zoet zeut süß swēte s(w)uozi (< *swōti) *swōtŭ *swōtuz
troch through throu draugh deur door doeër durch þurh duruh *þurhw
wiet wet weet weate nat nat naat nass (traditional spelling: naß) wǣt naz (< *nat) *wǣtă / *nată *wētaz / *nataz
each eye ee ei / iee oog oog n. oug Auge n. ēage n. < pre-English *ǣoga ouga n. *auga n. *augō n.
dream dream dream dreem droom droom m. draum Traum m. drēam m. "joy, pleasure, ecstasy, music, song" troum m. *draumă m. *draumaz (< *draugmaz) m.
stien stone stane sthoan steen steen m. stein Stein m. stān m. stein m. *staină m. *stainaz m.
bed bed bed bed bed bed n. bed Bett n. bedd n. betti n. *baddjă n. *badją n.

Other words, with a variety of origins:

West Frisian English Scots Afrikaans Dutch Limburgish Standard High German Old English Old High German Proto-West Germanic[73] Proto-Germanic
tegearre together thegither saam
same zusammen tōgædere
*tōgadura, *tegadura / *tesamane *tōgadur
hynder horse pony perd paard n.
ros n. (dated)
Pferd n. / Ross n. (traditional spelling: Roß) hors n. eoh m. (h)ros n. / pfarifrit n. / ehu- (in compositions) *hrussă n. / *ehu m. *hrussą n., *ehwaz m.

Note that some of the shown similarities of Frisian and English vis-à-vis Dutch and German are secondary and not due to a closer relationship between them. For example, the plural of the word for "sheep" was originally unchanged in all four languages and still is in some Dutch dialects and a great deal of German dialects. Many other similarities, however, are indeed old inheritances.


  1. ^ Original meaning "relative" has become "brother or sister" in English.


  1. ^ Hawkins, John A. (1987). "Germanic languages". In Bernard Comrie (ed.). The World's Major Languages. Oxford University Press. pp. 68–76. ISBN 0-19-520521-9.
  2. ^ Euler (2022): p.25f, Seebold (1998): p.13
  3. ^ Euler (2022): p. 238, 243
  4. ^ Euler (2022): p. 243
  5. ^ a b Robinson, Orrin W. (1992). Old English and Its Closest Relatives. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2221-8.
  6. ^ Euler (2013): p. 53, Ringe / Tayler (2014): p. 104, Euler (2022): p. 61
  7. ^ Stiles (1985): p. 91-94, with references.
  8. ^ Ringe/Taylor (2014): p. 73, 104
  9. ^ a b c P. Stiles (2013): p. 15
  10. ^ Euler (2022): p. 71f
  11. ^ v. Fierlinger (1885): p. 432-446
  12. ^ Löwe, R.: Kuhns Zeitschrift [KZ] vol. 40, p. 267; quoted from Hirt (1932 / vol. 2), p. 152
  13. ^ Behaghel (1922), p. 167
  14. ^ Hirt (1932 / vol. 2), p. 152f.
  15. ^ Polomé (1964), pp. 870ff.
  16. ^ Meid (1971), p. 13ff.
  17. ^ Hill (2004): p. 281-286
  18. ^ Mottausch (2013)
  19. ^ Euler (2022): p. 153f
  20. ^ Crist, Sean: An Analysis of *z loss in West Germanic. Linguistic Society of America, Annual Meeting, 2002
  21. ^ Euler (2013): p. 53
  22. ^ Ringe/Taylor (2014): p. 43
  23. ^ Euler (2013): p.53
  24. ^ Ringe/Taylor (2014): p. 50-54
  25. ^ Euler (2013): p.54
  26. ^ Ringe/Taylor (2014): 104.
  27. ^ Stiles (2013): p. 24ff, Euler (2013): p. 49
  28. ^ Euler (2013): p.230
  29. ^ Euler (2013): p. 61, 133, 171, 174
  30. ^ Euler (2013): p. 67, 70, 74, 76, 97, 113 etc.
  31. ^ Euler (2013): p. 168-178
  32. ^ Euler (2013): p. 170-173
  33. ^ Meid, Wolfgang (1971). "Das germanische Präteritum", Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, p. 13; Euler, Wolfram/Badenheuer, Konrad (2009), "Sprache und Herkunft der Germanen", pp. 168–171, London/Berlin: Inspiration Un Ltd.
  34. ^ Euler (2013): p. 138-141
  35. ^ Euler (2022): p. 196-211
  36. ^ Euler (2013): p. 194-200
  37. ^ Ringe/Taylor (2014): p. 126-128
  38. ^ Ringe/Taylor (2014): p. 128f
  39. ^ Ringe/Taylor (2014): p. 129-132
  40. ^ Ringe (2014): p. 132
  41. ^ Euler (2022): p. 222
  42. ^ Nielsen (1981)
  43. ^ Robinson (1992): p. 17-18
  44. ^ Klingenschmitt (2002): p. 169-189
  45. ^ Euler (2013, 2022)
  46. ^ Hartmann 2023: 199 ("a West Germanic protolanguage is uncontroversial")
  47. ^ Don Ringe (2012): Cladistic Methodology and West Germanic – Yale Linguistics, p. 6
  48. ^ Kuhn, Hans (1955–56). "Zur Gliederung der germanischen Sprachen". Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Literatur. 86: 1–47.
  49. ^ However, see Cercignani, Fausto, Indo-European ē in Germanic, in «Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung», 86/1, 1972, pp. 104–110.
  50. ^ Ringe, Don. 2006: A Linguistic History of English. Volume I. From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic, Oxford University Press, p. 213-214.
  51. ^ H. F. Nielsen (1981, 2001), G. Klingenschmitt (2002) and K.-H. Mottausch (1998, 2011)
  52. ^ Wolfram Euler: Das Westgermanische – von der Herausbildung im 3. bis zur Aufgliederung im 7. Jahrhundert — Analyse und Rekonstruktion (West Germanic: From its Emergence in the 3rd Century to its Split in the 7th Century: Analyses and Reconstruction). 244 p., in German with English summary, London/Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-9812110-7-8.
  53. ^ Ringe, Donald R. and Taylor, Ann (2014). The Development of Old English – A Linguistic History of English, vol. II, 632p. ISBN 978-0199207848. Oxford.
  54. ^ Euler (2013): p. 20-34, 229, 231
  55. ^ Graeme Davis (2006:154) notes "the languages of the Germanic group in the Old period are much closer than has previously been noted. Indeed it would not be inappropriate to regard them as dialects of one language. They are undoubtedly far closer one to another than are the various dialects of modern Chinese, for example. A reasonable modern analogy might be Arabic, where considerable dialectical diversity exists but within the concept of a single Arabic language." In: Davis, Graeme (2006). Comparative Syntax of Old English and Old Icelandic: Linguistic, Literary and Historical Implications. Bern: Peter Lang. ISBN 3-03910-270-2.
  56. ^ Map based on: Meineke, Eckhard & Schwerdt, Judith, Einführung in das Althochdeutsche, Paderborn/Zürich 2001, pp. 209.
  57. ^ W. Heeringa: Measuring Dialect Pronunciation Differences using Levenshtein Distance. University of Groningen, 2009, pp. 232–234.
  58. ^ Peter Wiesinger: Die Einteilung der deutschen Dialekte. In: Werner Besch, Ulrich Knoop, Wolfgang Putschke, Herbert Ernst Wiegand (Hrsg.): Dialektologie. Ein Handbuch zur deutschen und allgemeinen Dialektforschung, 2. Halbband. de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1983, ISBN 3-11-009571-8, pp. 807–900.
  59. ^ Werner König: dtv-Atlas Deutsche Sprache. 19. Auflage. dtv, München 2019, ISBN 978-3-423-03025-0, pp. 230.
  60. ^ C. Giesbers: Dialecten op de grens van twee talen. Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 2008, pp. 233.
  61. ^ Hickey, Raymond (2005). Dublin English: Evolution and Change. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 196–198. ISBN 90-272-4895-8.
  62. ^ Hickey, Raymond (2002). A Source Book for Irish English. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 28–29. ISBN 9027237530.
  63. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian (2023-07-10). "Glottolog 4.8 - Irish Anglo-Norman". Glottolog. Leipzig, Germany: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. doi:10.5281/zenodo.8131084. Archived from the original on 2023-07-17. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  64. ^ Ringe and Taylor. The Development of Old English. Oxford University Press, 2nd ed. 2014. pp. 114–115.
  65. ^ Euler (2022), pp. 78–107
  66. ^ a b c d Euler (2022), p. 85
  67. ^ a b c d e f g h Ringe (2014), p. 115
  68. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Ringe (2014), p. 114
  69. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Euler (2022), p. 81
  70. ^ a b c Euler (2022), p. 78
  71. ^ a b c d Euler (2022), p. 83
  72. ^ a b c d Euler (2022), p. 88
  73. ^ a b sources: Ringe, Don / Taylor, Ann (2014) and Euler, Wolfram (2013), passim.


  • Adamus, Marian (1962). On the mutual relations between Nordic and other Germanic dialects. Germanica Wratislavensia 7. 115–158.
  • Bammesberger, Alfred (1984). Der indogermanische Aorist und das germanische Präteritum [The Indo-European aorist and the Germanic past tense], in: Languages and Cultures. Studies in Honor of Edgar C. Polomé. 791 pp., Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • Bammesberger, Alfred (Ed.) (1991). Old English Runes and their Continental Background. Heidelberg: Winter.
  • Bammesberger, Alfred (1996). The Preterite of Germanic Strong Verbs in Classes Fore and Five, in "North-Western European Language Evolution" 27, 33–43.
  • Behaghel, Otto (1922). Die 2. Pers. Sing. Ind. Prät. st. Flexion im Westgermanischen. IF (Indogermanische Forschungen), vol. 40, p. 167f.
  • Bremmer, Rolf H. (ed.) (1993). Current trends in West Germanic etymological lexicography: proceedings of the Symposium held in Amsterdam 12–13 June 1989. Leiden: Brill.
  • Bremmer, Rolf H., Jr. (2009). An Introduction to Old Frisian. History, Grammar, Reader, Glossary. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Euler, Wolfram (2002/03). Vom Westgermanischen zum Althochdeutschen (From West Germanic to Old High German), Sprachaufgliederung im Dialektkontinuum, in Klagenfurter Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft, Vol. 28/29, 69–90.
  • Euler, Wolfram (2013). Das Westgermanische – von der Herausbildung im 3. bis zur Aufgliederung im 7. Jahrhundert – Analyse und Rekonstruktion. 244 p., in German with English summary, Verlag Inspiration Un Limited, London/Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-9812110-7-8.
  • Euler, Wolfram (2022). Das Westgermanische – von der Herausbildung im 3. bis zur Aufgliederung im 7. Jahrhundert – Analyse und Rekonstruktion (West Germanic: from its Emergence in the 3rd up until its Dissolution in the 7th Century CE: Analyses and Reconstruction). 267 p., in German with English summary, 2nd edition, Verlag Inspiration Unlimited, Berlin 2022, ISBN 978-3-945127-414.
  • v. Fierlinger, J. (1885). Zur deutschen conjugation. (1. Die II. ps. sg. perf. starker flexion im westgerm. 2. Praesentia der wurzelclasse. 3. Zur westgerm. flexion des verb. subst.), in Kuhns Zeitschrift (KZ), vol. 27, p. 430ff. ([1])
  • Härke, Heinrich (2011). Anglo-Saxon Immigration and Ethnogenesis, in: "Medieval Archaeology" No. 55, 2011, pp. 1–28.
  • Hartmann, Frederik: Germanic Phylogeny (Oxford Studies in Diachronic and Historical Linguistics), Oxford University Press, 2023. ISBN 978-0-198-87273-3.
  • Hill, Eugen (2004). Das germanische Verb für 'tun' und die Ausgänge des germanischen schwachen Präteritums, in: Sprachwissenschaft, ISSN 0344-8169, Vol. 29, no. 3, p. 257–304.
  • Hilsberg, Susan (2009). Place-Names and Settlement History. Aspects of Selected Topographical Elements on the Continent and in England, Magister Theses, Universität Leipzig.
  • Hirt, Hermann (1931, 1932, 1934). Handbuch des Urgermanischen [Handbook of Proto-Germanic] (3 vols.). Heidelberg: Winter.
  • Klein, Thomas (2004). Im Vorfeld des Althochdeutschen und Altsächsischen (Prior to Old High German and Old Saxon), in Entstehung des Deutschen. Heidelberg, 241–270.
  • Klingenschmitt, Gert (2002). Zweck und Methode der sprachlichen Rekonstruktion, in: Peter Anreiter (et al.) Name, Sprache, und Kulturen. Festschrift Heinz Dieter Pohl. Wien, 453–474.
  • Kortlandt, Frederik (2008). Anglo-Frisian, in "North-Western European Language Evolution" 54/55, 265 – 278.
  • Looijenga, Jantina Helena (1997). Runes around the North Sea and on the Continent AD 150–700; Text & Contents. Groningen: SSG Uitgeverij.
  • Friedrich Maurer (1942), Nordgermanen und Alemannen: Studien zur germanischen und frühdeutschen Sprachgeschichte, Stammes- und Volkskunde, Straßburg: Hüneburg.
  • Mees, Bernard (2002). The Bergakker inscription and the beginnings of Dutch, in "Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik" 56, 23–26.
  • Meid, Wolfgang (1971). Das germanische Praeteritum. Indogermanische Grundlagen und Entfaltung im Germanischen [The Germanic Praeteritum. Indo-European foundations and development in Germanic] 134pp,. Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft; 3. University, Innsbruck.
  • Mottausch, Karl-Heinz (1998). Die reduplizierenden Verben im Nord- und Westgermanischen: Versuch eines Raum-Zeit-Modells, in "North-Western European Language Evolution" 33, 43–91.
  • Mottausch, Karl-Heinz (2011). Der Nominalakzent im Frühurgermanischen – Hamburg: Kovač.
  • Mottausch, Karl-Heinz (2013). Untersuchungen zur Vorgeschichte des germanischen starken Verbs. Die Rolle des Aorists, 278p. – Hamburg: Kovač.
  • Nielsen, Hans F. (1981). Old English and the Continental Germanic languages. A Survey of Morphological and Phonological Interrelations. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft. (2nd edition 1985), 311p., Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft.
  • Nielsen, Hans Frede. (2000). Ingwäonisch. In Heinrich Beck et al. (eds.), Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (2. Auflage), Band 15, 432–439. Berlin: De Gruyter.
  • Page, Raymond I. (1999). An Introduction to English Runes, 2. edition. Woodbridge: Bogdell Press.
  • Page, Raymond I. (2001). Frisian Runic Inscriptions, in Horst Munske et al., "Handbuch des Friesischen". Tübingen, 523–530.
  • Polomé, Edgar C. (1964). Diachronic development of structural patterns in the Germanic conjugation system, pp. 870–880, in: Lunt, Horace G. (ed.) (1964). Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Linguists. The Hague.
  • Ringe, Donald R. (2012). Cladistic principles and linguistic reality: the case of West Germanic. In Philomen Probert and Andreas Willi (eds.), Laws and Rules on Indo-European, 33–42. Oxford.
  • Ringe, Donald R. (2012): Cladistic Methodology and West Germanic. Yale Linguistics.
  • Ringe, Donald R. and Taylor, Ann (2014). The Development of Old English – A Linguistic History of English, vol. II, 632p. ISBN 978-0199207848. Oxford.
  • Robinson, Orrin W. (1992). Old English and Its Closest Relatives. A Survey of the Earliest Germanic Languages. Stanford University Press.
  • Seebold, Elmar (1998). "Die Sprache(n) der Germanen in der Zeit der Völkerwanderung" (The Language(s) of the Germanic Peoples during the Migration Period), in E. Koller & H. Laitenberger, Suevos – Schwaben. Das Königreich der Sueben auf der Iberischen Halbinsel (411–585). Tübingen, 11–20.
  • Seebold, Elmar (2006). "Westgermanische Sprachen" (West Germanic Languages), in Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde 33, 530–536.
  • Stifter, David (2009). "The Proto-Germanic shift *ā > ō and early Germanic linguistic contacts", in Historische Sprachforschung 122, 268–283.
  • Stiles, Patrick V. (1985–1986). The fate of the numeral "4" in Germanic. Nowele 6 pp. 81–104, 7 pp. 3–27, 8 pp. 3–25.
  • Stiles, Patrick V. (1995). Remarks on the "Anglo-Frisian" thesis, in "Friesische Studien I". Odense, 177–220.
  • Stiles, Patrick V. (2004). Place-adverbs and the development of Proto-Germanic long *ē1 in early West Germanic. In Irma Hyvärinen et al. (Hg.), Etymologie, Entlehnungen und Entwicklungen. Mémoires de la Soc. Néophil. de Helsinki 63. Helsinki. 385–396.
  • Stiles, Patrick V. (2013). The Pan-West Germanic Isoglosses and the Subrelationships of West Germanic to Other Branches. In Unity and Diversity in West Germanic, I. Special issue of NOWELE 66:1 (2013), Nielsen, Hans Frede and Patrick V. Stiles (eds.), 5 ff.
  • Voyles, Joseph B. (1974). West Germanic inflection, derivation and compounding, 240p., The Hague: Mouton.
  • Voyles, Joseph B. (1992). Early Germanic Grammar: pre-, proto-, and post-Germanic Language. San Diego: Academic Press

External links[edit]