The Germanic languages are according to Wikipedia subdivided into North Germanic languages and West Germanic languages (historically, there also existed East Germanic languages). The most important (by number of speakers) examples of these two branches are
- North Germanic languages: Danish, Swedish, Norwegian (sometimes subdivided into Bokmål and Nynorsk), Icelandic
- West Germanic languages: English, German, Dutch, Afrikaans (sometimes also considered as a dialect of Dutch)
Now for my question: As a native speaker of German, I (gut)feel that German is linguistically much closer to the listed North Germanic languages (except for Icelandic) than to English (but as far as I know Icelandic is also linguistically significantly away from the other North Germanic languages). If this were true, this would imply that this classification is somewhat dubious.
So: Why is in this classification German put together with English into the same branch (West Germanic languages) while the Scandinavian Germanic languages (that I feel are much closer to German) are put into a different branch?