Germanic peoples, Linguistics

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The Germanic peoples (also called Teutonic, Suebian or Gothic in older literature) are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic starting during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.


These groups moved and interacted over the next centuries, and separate dialects among Germanic languages developed down to the present day. Linguists have sometimes used the terminology of the classical sources to name medieval divisions within Germanic. The names of the sons of Mannus, Istvaeones, Irminones, and Ingvaeones, are used to divide up the medieval and modern West Germanic languages, while the more easterly groups such as the Vandals are thought to be the origins of East Germanic languages, the most famous of which is Gothic. The dialect of the Germanic people who remained in Scandinavia is in contrast not called Ingvaeonic, but is classified as North Germanic, which developed into Old Norse. Within the West Germanic group, linguists associate the Hermiones (or "Irminones") are proposed to have spoken an "Elbe Germanic" which developed into Upper German including modern German. More speculatively, given the lack of any such clear explanation in any classical source, modern linguists designate the Frankish language (and its descendant Dutch) as Istvaeonic, sometimes referred to as "Weser-Rhine Germanic", in distinction to its close relatives Low German, Anglo-Saxon and Frisian, which are designated as Ingvaeonic, which are slightly more related to Norse, and also sometimes referred to as "North-Sea Germanic". But because Germanic languages such as Frankish, Low German, and English were long mutually intelligible to some extent, and formed by the mixing of migrating peoples after the classical period, it is not clear how well these medieval dialect divisions correspond to those mentioned by Tacitus and Pliny. For example, in Tacitus (Tac. Ger. 40Copyright: Attribute—Share Alike

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