What distinguishes English from other Germanic languages?

I can think of four things; two on lexics, one on grammar and a more linguistic cultural one:

  1. The English language was given an Old French-Norman superstrat of Romanesque origin early in the Middle Ages, which is still expressed in the vocabulary today; count, defend, defeat, join, warranty and many more. The majority of The Latin English words are of Old French origin, while in other Germanic languages they come directly from Latin (which, as we know, was a long-term written and educational language) and French words such as Trottoir are of more recent date (since about the 17th century, in principle New French origin).

In addition, the English language also imports “genuin” Latin words; they are usually associated with an upscale language register, unlike the Old French ones above, so that they often exist alongside a Germanic word (e.g. forbid versus prohibit).

  • There was more lively contact between Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon (‘nglisc’), i.e. between North and West Germanic dialect groups; Examples in today’s vocabulary are sky, skin, skill; toponyms ending on -by (village) such as Spilsby, as well as the bent verb form are too to be (danish/norweg.
  • he, swed.盲r). Also queen (gl.Den. kvinde, which simply means woman); quite commonly used verbs such as to take (Danish.days), indicating the affiliation of prepositions of (av) and with (ved); the /h/ in the sound of interrogativa such as where,what, etc.(d盲n hvar, hvad each with inversion) are of North Germanic origin and deviate from the West Germanic vocabulary. Where and the like question words are used in some English.variants are actually pronounced as [hw’ . For comparison each German and Dutch (only one selection) –dorf / -dorp, are / zijn, Frau / vrouw, von / van, mit / met as well as where and what or what. waar and wat, all without a hint.

  • On the grammatical structure: The Germanic languages have all lost more or less an originally high degree of flexion.
  • German and Icelandic are the most conservative and have maintained their nominal declination; English, on the other hand, has trimmed it the most, as it did for verbs, and it did quite a long time ago. All but English have at least residual stocks of a purely grammatical sex with a strong tendency to fusion masculine and femininum while maintaining the neutrum (nl.de man, de vrouw, het bedrijf). As a result, English has become the most germ of all. Languages changed from a flecing-synthetic to an insulating-analytical language construction.

  • Ultimately, a linguistic ally rather more modern: English has far more second speakers (ESL) than native speakers and developed globally significant modern variants.
  • This is not the case even with German, by far the second most common Germanic language by number of speakers 鈥?despite millions of DAF speakers. At most Dutch has a numerically significant overseas branch with Afrikaans. Such developments result in cultural returns to the country of origin. The other Indo-European languages to which this applies all come from the Romanesque branch (Francophonie, Hispanidad, Lusofona).

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