This page contains useful hints and “practical linguistics” for the Germanic language family—English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, and several others. 


Close Cousins


The North Germanic (Scandinavian) and East Germanic (Continental and English) languages diverged from each other nearly 2,000 years ago, and the members of the West Germanic subfamily (English, German, Dutch, Frisian, Low German, various dialects) split about 1,500 years ago, around the time of the fall of the Roman Empire.  Yet they still retain remarkable similarities to each other in their basic vocabulary.  This essay consists mainly of a table that arrays common words in each language next to each other, plainly exemplifying the ancient connections among the Germanic tongues and the practical utility of these links, which can be used to more rapidly learn and retain the vocabulary of one language based on that of a closely related cousin.


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