1. East Germanic Languages
The East Germanic tribes were known as the Goths. one of the most numerous and powerful Germanic tribes, returned form Scandinavia around 200 A.D. and settled in the east of Europe. two major branches:
• Visigotæ (lived on present-day France) –Celtic Dialects;
•Ostrogotæ (lived on present-day northern Italy) –the Gothic Language (dead).
Other East Germanic tribes(Burgundians, Vandals, Langobards) also had their languages.
The Gothic Language was THE MOST IMPORTANT OF THE OLD GERMANIC LANGUAGES because:
1. oldest written records – 4th – 6th c. A.D. The Goths were the first Germans to become Christians. The Gothic, having theearliest written records among the Germanic Languages, is considered to be very close to the Proto-Germanic Language and throws some light on the history of this common Proto-Germanic Language.
2. North Germanic Languages
The North Germanic tribes settled on the southern coast of Scandinavia and in Northern Denmark (since the 4th c. A.D.). They lived relatively isolated and showed littledialectal variation at that time.
one common language – Old Norse/Old Scandinavian:
It used the original Germanic Alphabet called the Runes/the Runic Alphabet. It appeared in the 3rd – 4th c. A.D. It has come down to us in runic inscriptions – separate words written/carved on objects made of wood, stone, metal.
• It was spoken by all North Germanic tribes.
In Scandinaviathe linguistic division=the political division: there were 3 kingdoms (Sweden, Denmark and Norway) that were constantly fighting for dominance and they had 3 respective languages (earliest records in these languages date back to the 13th c.):
• Old Danish – later it developed into Danish
• Old Swedish - later it developed into Swedish
• Old Norwegian – was the last todevelop, later transformed into Norwegian
In the 8th c. A.D. sea-rovers and merchants founded numerous colonies on the islands in the North Sea and in the Atlantic Ocean (the Shetland Islands, the Orkneys, the Faroe Islands) and reached even Iceland and Greenland. Thus two more North Germanic languages appeared:
• Faroese (In the Faroe Islands the writing was done in Danish forcenturies. The first written records in Faroese appeared only in the 18th c.);
• Icelandic (9th c. A.D.)
The Icelandic Language was THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL NORTH GERMANIC LANGUAGES because:
1. The isolation of Iceland caused the preservation of archaic vocabulary and grammatical system.
2. The preservation of archaic vocabulary and grammatical system makes this language very close toOld Norse and helps to reconstruct this ancient common Germanic language.
3. Icelandic has the largest body of written texts (12th – 13th c.), e.g.:
– “The Elder Edda” (12th c.) – a collection of heroic songs;
– “The Younger Edda” (13th c.) – a text-book forpoets;
– Old Icelandic Sagas.
3. West Germanic Languages
The West Germanic tribes lived betweenthe Oder and the Elbe and they never left the mainland.
• the Franconians (Low, Middle and High Franconians) – settled the lower basin of the Rhine and with time began to speak the language of the Romanised Celts,
• the Angles, the Saxons, the Jutes and the Frisians – settled the coastal territories of the Netherlands, Germany, the south of Denmark and the British Isles. Thelanguages they spoke were:
– Old English – later developed into ( English (national language – 16th c.; first
written records – 7th c.);
– Old Saxon – later developed into a territorial dialect in Germany;
– Old Frisian – later developed into ( Frisian
• High Germans – settled the southern mountainous areas of Germany and spoke Old High German that...