Germanic-speaking Europe  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Germanic-speaking Europe refers to the area of Europe that today uses a Germanic language.

Contents

Speakers

Well over 200 million Europeans (some 30%) speak a Germanic language natively.

Countries without officially recognized minority Countries with an officially recognized non-Germanic minority Countries with a Germanic minority

West Germanic

German

German is an official language in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Denmark and it's one of the 23 official languages of the European Union.

English

English is a West Germanic language originating in England, and the first language for most people in Australia, Canada, the Commonwealth Caribbean, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States (also commonly known as the Anglosphere).

One of the consequences of the French influence due to the Norman Conquest in the Middle Ages is that the vocabulary of the English language contains a massive number of non-Germanic words, i.e., Latin-derived words that entered the lexicon after the invasion.

English vocabulary is, to an extent divided between Germanic words (mostly Old English) and "Latinate" words (Latin-derived, directly from Norman French or other Romance languages). For instance, pairs of words such as ask and question (the first verb being Germanic and the second Latinate) show the division between Germanic and Latinate lexemes that compose Modern English vocabulary. The structure of the English language, however, remains Germanic.

Dutch

In Europe, Dutch is spoken in the Netherlands (~96%) and Flanders, the northern part of Belgium (~59%). In French Flanders, in northern France, some of the older generation still speaks the local Dutch dialect. Outside Europe, Dutch is official in Suriname, Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles. In Indonesia, Dutch is spoken by the Indo people. Afrikaans, the third language of South Africa in terms of native speakers (~13.3%), and the most widely understood in Namibia, evolved from Dutch and was standardised in the early 20th century. Both languages are still largely mutually intelligible.

Frisian

The Frisian languages are a closely related group of Germanic languages, spoken by about half a million members of Frisian ethnic groups, who live on the southern fringes of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany. They are the continental Germanic languages most closely related to English.

North Germanic

Approximately 20 million people in the Nordic countries have a North Germanic languages as their mother tongue, including a significant Swedish minority in Finland.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Germanic-speaking Europe" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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