West Germanic vs. the Stammbaum

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Mon Feb 23 16:47:14 CET 2009

Anthony Aristar scripsit:

> I would not look at the Ethnologue subgroupings, which for Germanic
> are not accepted by most scholars.  Ethnologue, for example, treats
> Dutch and Low German as being in the same Low Saxon/Low Franconian
> German Subgroup.  No Germanic scholar believes this. Instead they
> posit a group called "North Sea Germanic", which includes English,
> Low German languages, and Frisian.  Dutch is in the Franconian group,
> which is part of the High German group.

What this really shows, IMHO, is that no tree model is very good for
West Germanic, whose languages have been strongly influencing each other
almost since they split.  In particular, the modern Frisian languages
have been mugged by Dutch and Low German and High German and Danish,
modern Low German by Dutch in the Netherlands and High German in Germany,
and modern English by French and Latin, resulting in the near-total
obscuring of their original connections.

John Cowan    cowan at ccil.org    http://ccil.org/~cowan
Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion
that optimum or inadequate performance in the trend of competitive
activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity,
but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be
taken into account. --Ecclesiastes 9:11, Orwell/Brown version

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