Questions tagged [germanic-languages]

Branch of the Indo-European languages from Northern Europe, including English, German, Dutch, and the Scandinavian languages

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6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why are modal verbs in English defective?

Modal verbs exist in many languages; but they are often defective. English is an extreme example where they seem to only have present tense forms; and have no gerund, participle, or infinitive; some ...
-1 votes
1 answer
51 views

Qualifying similarities between languages - e.g., German and Norwegian

I learnt "fluent" German and Dutch and I am learning Norwegian. German is much closer to Dutch than Norwegian. Yet, there are obvious strong and fascinating similarities between German and ...
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2 votes
3 answers
116 views

Etymological relationship between picture/image and education/formation

There are German words Bild (picture/image) and Bildung (education/formation). In Russian, education is образова́ние [obrazovaniye], whilst obraz in many Slavic languages means either directly picture/...
1 vote
0 answers
99 views

Inherited kinship term that is attested only in a Scandinavian dialect out of all Germanic languages

This is again a memory refreshing question. I am looking for a specific kinship term that is considered to be inherited into a Scandinavian dialect despite the fact that no other Germanic language has ...
2 votes
2 answers
81 views

Epenthesis of /u/ before the syllabic sonorant "l"

Why does Old Russian have epenthesis of /u/ only before the syllabic sonorant "l"? (before the syllabic sonorants "r,m,n" the epenthesis is /i/)? I thought earlier that only Proto-...
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Development of Old Norse 2nd and 3rd person sg. (present indicative) forms of "to be"

I was comparing the conjugations of "to be" in Old Norse and Proto-Germanic, and it looks like ON has flipped the 2nd and 3rd person singular forms. Is this what happened, or is there some ...
1 vote
1 answer
110 views

Why do many languages analyse [e̞] as /ɛ/?

I experience that most analyses of many languages that I know, in particular Swedish, (Flemish) Dutch, Norwegian and Icelandic, analyse the languages' short ⟨e⟩ as /ɛ/, while they sound a lot more ...
1 vote
1 answer
466 views

Proximity of Dutch and German explained by the history of language

It seems to me that Dutch is closer to German in its pronunciation than in its writing. It is a bit approximative to say so, and that's rather a personal impression, shared by some German native ...
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0 votes
0 answers
90 views

Why did Old Norse influence English more than Saxon and Jutish?

I read a lot of etymologies but I don't remember reading about words that came from Saxon language or Jutish language, nearly all Germanic words who have non English origins came from Old Norse or ...
1 vote
0 answers
57 views

Why do Germanic languages signal stressed short vowels by writing orthographically closed syllables?

In learning spelling and pronunciation rules for English, German, and Swedish, I always assumed that Germanic languages tend to distinguish stressed short and long vowels according to orthographic ...
1 vote
0 answers
73 views

Why do Proto-germanic "-as" nouns have e-grade?

Why do Proto-germanic "-as" nouns have e-grade (don't have an ablaut like Ancient Greek τρέπ-ω τρόπ-ος, πέκ-ω πόκ-ος, λέχ-ομαι λόχ-ος, φέβ-ομαι φόβ-ος)?
7 votes
3 answers
431 views

Is there a clear linguistic reason for Swiss German not being considered its own Germanic language?

This question has been inspired by the fact that I’ve recently heard the Swiss talk among each other and I started to dig deeper. Having done minors in Italian and American studies which each included ...
0 votes
2 answers
203 views

Is there a reason germanic languages are more different from other PIE languages?

I apoligize that this question is not very formalized. Maybe the assumption in the question is wrong. I am asking because looking at latin, greek and sanskrit, these languages seem quite similar to ...
10 votes
5 answers
4k views

Why is it called proto-Germanic?

Why have we named this proto language proto-Germanic? Apparently it developed in southern Scandinavia. Then expanded (via migration or contact?) towards what's now Germany. I wonder why linguists ...
0 votes
0 answers
98 views

Percentage of Latin loanwords in northern Germanic languages

What is the percentage of Latin loanwords or words that are of ultimate Latin origin even from intermediate languages in each of the northern Germanic languages? I have noticed that there seem to be ...
-1 votes
3 answers
167 views

Is the word for "brother-in-law" in Germanic languages related to the Aramaic/Syriac גיס?

Here is the word for "brother-in-law" in various modern Germanic languages: schwager (German), shvugger (Yiddish), swaer (Afrikaans), svoger (Norweigan/Danish), sogor (Croatian), zwager (...
-4 votes
1 answer
104 views

What is the reason of w dissimilation?

What is the reason of w dissimilation? Gothic waurts + gards ~ aurtigards or OE wyrt +‎ ġeard ~ ortgeard
4 votes
1 answer
227 views

Fewest number of vowels in a Germanic language?

Yiddish has an unusually small vowel inventory for a Germanic language, which are generally notorious for their large number of vowel phonemes. Probably under the influence of the surrounding gentile ...
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1 vote
1 answer
119 views

How long were Old Frankish dialects spoken in modern France?

How long were the Germanic dialects commonly subsumed under the term "Frankish" spoken by Frankish people in Northern Gaul, and how long did it take until they were completely supplanted by ...
1 vote
1 answer
297 views

Why did 'r' disappear in English "speak" (compare German "sprechen") and in German "Welt" (compare English "world")?

I cannot help but notice some 'r'-s seem to have randomly disappeared in both German and English. What is going on there?
-1 votes
2 answers
169 views

Estimate the genesis of the language

Is it possible to estimate the birthday of a language based on vocabulary size (German language has probably larger vocabulary size than English language)? For example, Germanic languages contain a ...
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1 vote
1 answer
88 views

What is the name of Germanic n > m near f / Greek ν > μ near π transformation?

What is the name of Germanic n > m near f / Greek ν > μ near π transformation?
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0 votes
2 answers
119 views

Reconstruction of PIE consonants

So, I have a question about the reconstruction of PIE consonants. According to the Etymological Dictionaries, the words "rape" and "raven" have the same PIE root *ker- however how ...
2 votes
2 answers
632 views

Are Germanic languages closer to Italo-Celtic languages or Balto-Slavic languages?

I ask because in some recent classifications, Italo-Celtic languages (like French, Spanish, Italian, Irish, and Breton), Balto-Slavic languages (like Lithuanian, Russian, Polish, and Serbo-Croat), and ...
0 votes
2 answers
149 views

Why is Proto-Germanic long i /iː/ reconstructed as "ī"?

I know that Gothic has "a large number of archaic features". I know that Gothic writes Proto-Germanic (PGmc) "ī" /iː/ as "ei". wīną wein, swīną swein I know that Gothic ...
0 votes
0 answers
117 views

What is the mutual intelligibility between the Standard German and Hessisch?

If a native Standard German speaker from Leipzig listens to Hessisch spoken by an elderly person from Lich(a small town in Hessen), will he/she understand it?
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1 answer
107 views

Cowgill's law in satem languages [closed]

I had discovered a new law. I named it "Russian law". You may rename it as is good in your eyes. It says that a PIE laryngeal /h₃/, and possibly /h₂/, turns into /z/ in Satem languages. (...
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2 votes
0 answers
42 views

Which (of the Germanic) languages support resultative constructions?

my question regards resultative constructions. Which of the Germanic languages supports resultative constructions? It would be awesome if you could suggest any literature regarding any language. ...
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3 votes
0 answers
87 views

Germanic loanwords in Czech? The case of "lék" [duplicate]

Recently I started studying Czech and I learned the word "lék", pill/medicine and "lékař", doctor/physician. In Polish there is a similar one. They bear a superficial resemblance ...
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0 votes
1 answer
87 views

Is there evidence for expletives (ie. dummy subjects) in Proto-Germanic? What can we say about the situation in IE?

I am aware that obligatory expletives did not exist in early ON and perhaps also not in early OHG, but my knowledge of the specifics is hazy. In OE at least, I believe expletives in conjunction with ...
11 votes
0 answers
232 views

What kind of features support the claim that Slavic languages are closer to Germanic languages than to Indo-Iranian languages?

Inspired by this answer to a different question, I ask what kind of features justify a claim that Balto-Slavic languages are closer to Germanic languages than to Indo-Iranian languages. The features ...
3 votes
1 answer
193 views

Status of Nordwestblock / Ancient Belgian hypothesis

What is the status of the Nordwestblock or Ancient Belgian hypothesis right now? This hypothesis was proposed independently by two authors in the 1960ies (Kuhn and Gysseling) and is about an ...
2 votes
5 answers
4k views

Why are some Russian and Swedish words so strikingly similar? Два - två, по-шведски - på svenska, etc

Hur säger man ... på svenska? This common Swedish phrase means: How do you say ... in Swedish? As a student learning Russian, I instantly saw a striking similarity with the Russian language. Russians ...
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14 votes
3 answers
5k views

Does the letter p in a word mean that the word is not Germanic?

In Germanic languages, the p sound in Proto-Indo-European became f. I have wondered if the p sound means that the word does not come from a Germanic source. This is because words that have p in them ...
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2 votes
1 answer
102 views

Why does OE endleofan have "d"? [closed]

Why does OE endleofan have "d"?
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1 vote
0 answers
123 views

Origin of "will" in Germanic, wouldn't it be subjunctive?

Small print: This is language specific about English, but tangential to Germanic to a certain degree that is likely out of ELU's scope. . As a follow-up to this Q and several ones like it about the ...
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0 votes
1 answer
261 views

To what extent are North Germanic languages mutually intelligible with German?

Are they just as close as English and German? Has Swedish also suffered some phonological influences from German during the Hansatic league?
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6 votes
2 answers
361 views

"She" and "they" in West Germanic languages

In English, the third person singular feminine subject pronoun (she) and the third person plural subject pronoun (they) are phonetically different. However, they are phonetically the same in some West ...
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4 votes
1 answer
706 views

How did this alternation happen?

Wiktionary's entry for "seldom" contains the following etymology: From late Middle English seldom, alteration of earlier selden, from Old English seldan (“seldom”), from Proto- Germanic *...
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6 votes
0 answers
593 views

Why is the word "wherefore" not "whatfore" and the word "therefore" not "thatfore" and related anomalies

There is a pronominal adverb in many germanic languages that is a conjunction of the descendants of the proto-germanic words *hwar (where) + *furi (for/fore) which means something very similar to "for ...
3 votes
1 answer
220 views

When turned "to hear" into "to belong" in Germanic Languages?

In most Germanic languages the verbs for „to hear“ and „to belong [to]“ are the same or very closely related. It seems a plausible explanation, that in practice belonging to someone (G. gehören) meant ...
4 votes
3 answers
342 views

GVS similarity in cognate words other Germanic Languages

I am no professional Linguist (nor have I ever studied it) so there might be a straightforward explanation to this which I could't find searching in ordinary places. I was analysing a few words from ...
6 votes
2 answers
339 views

What was the original Germanic agent suffix before Proto-Germanic speakers borrowed -er from Latin speakers?

as you can see from the title I would like to know what was the original Germanic agent suffix before Proto-Germanic speakers borrowed -er from Latin speakers. All I know is -a in Old English and I ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
158 views

Help Identifying a rune, or binding [closed]

The german band Rammstein used this to portray the Letter "R" in their logo from 1993, but cannot find a matching rune or a mix of them what would produce this symbol, my guess it's a stylized Old ...
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0 votes
2 answers
192 views

Transcription of this computer-generated pronunciation of 1991 in Danish

I came across this Google Translate pronunciation of 1991 (which it appears to be interpreting as the year rather than the cardinal or ordinal); click the thumbnail for the video on YouTube: I don’t ...
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2 votes
1 answer
126 views

Was there a Proto-Germannic root of "miskunn"

I was not able to find an etymology of ON "miskunn" within PrG. Is the first syllable a prefix "mis-" indicating any "wrong kunn, lack of kunn" or a deformed "midi-" as in E "com-passion", G "Mit-leid"...
1 vote
1 answer
253 views

Are there traces of Old Turkish in ancient Germanic languages?

The question is quite clear and understandable as in the title. Are there traces of Old Turkish in ancient Germanic languages? Or traces of Germanic in Old Turkish?
6 votes
2 answers
584 views

Are English 'gay' and Norwegian 'gøy' cognates?

Norwegian gøy means "fun" in both Bokmål and Nynorsk. Does this word have anything to do with English gay? Wiktionary says gay comes ultimately from Proto-Germanic ganhuz "sudden" via Old French gai ...
2 votes
1 answer
175 views

Which Frisian language/dialect is the most similar to Modern English?

When person asks a question, "which language is the most similar to Modern English?", the most common answer is: Frisian But most people that answer this question as it is, are unaware, which ...
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2 votes
2 answers
124 views

Is English "<adjective> to <verb>" an idiomatic schema, or what do you call "easy to do"?

Is the question clear? Idiomatic scheme is not a term of art, I guess, but it's idiomatic and it follows a schema. It's a weird one, for sure. Some thoughts: The Adjective can't be removed * The ...
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