Classification of Old Germanic tribes and Old Germanic languages
Classification of Old Germanic tribes and Old Germanic languages.
The languages brought into relationship by descent or progressive differentiation from a parent speech are conveniently calleda family of languages.
Indo-European language fall into eleven principal groups: Indian, Iranian, Armenian, Hellenic, Albanian, Italic, Balto-Slavic, Germanic, Celtic, Hittite, and Tocharian
Indian ----the Vedas or sacred books of India(The oldest literary texts)
These fall into four groups:
1)Rig-veda (is a collection of about a thousand hymns)
2)Atharva-veda(a body of incantations and ritual formulas connected with many kinds of current religious practice).
Classical Sanskrit is the medium of an extensive Indian literature including the two great national epics the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
Pali (colloquial use), about the middle of the sixth century B.C. became the language of Buddhism.
The most important are Hindi, Urdu (the official language of Pakistan), Bengali (the official language of Bangladesh), Punjabi, and Marathi. Romany, the language of the Gypsies, represents a dialect of northwestern India
Iranian ---The earliest remains of the Iranian branch fall into two divisions (an eastern and a western) represented by Avestan( is the language of the Avesta(sometimes called ZEND), the sacred book of the Zoroastrians; Avesta proper, an extensive collection of hymns, legends, prayers, and legal prescriptions that seem to spring from a period several hundred years later. ) and Old Persian (is preserved only in certain cuneiform inscriptions which record chiefly the conquests and achievements of Darius (522-486 B.C.) and Xerxes (486-466 B.C.).
Armenian --- The Armenians for several centuries were under Persian domination, and the vocabulary shows such strong Iranian influence that Armenian was at one time classed as an Iranian language. Numerous contacts with Semitic languages, with Greek, and with Turkish have contributed further to give the vocabulary a rich character.
Hellenic --- Into this mixture of often little-known populations and languages the Greeks penetrated from the north shortly after a date about 2000 B.C. In Athens were assembled the great writers of Greece - the dramatists /Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles in tragedy, Aristophanes in comedy, the historians Herodotus and Thucydides, the orator Demosthenes, the philosophers Plato and Aristotle. Largely because of the political and cultural prestige of Athens, the Attic dialect became the basis of a koine or common Greek that from the 4th century superseded the other dialects; the conquests of Alexander (336-323 B.C.) established this language in Asia Minor and Syria, in Mesopotamia and Egypt, as the general language of the eastern Mediterranean for purposes of international communication
Albanian ---Northwest of Greece on the eastern coast of the Adriatic is the small branch named Albanian. Our knowledge of Albanian, except for a few words, extends back only as far as the 15th century of our era, and, when we first meet with it, the vocabulary is so mixed Latin, Greek, Turkish, and Slavonic elements - owing to conquests and other causes - that it is somewhat difficult to isolate the original Albanian
Italic ---center in Italy, and to most people in ancient times suggests Rome and the language of Rome, Latin. The most extensive of the Romance languages are French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.The Romance languages, while representing a continuous evolution from Latin. Classical Latin was a literary language with an elaborate and somewhat artificial grammar.
Batio-Slavic --- Balto-Slavic --- covers a vast area in the eastern part of Europe. It falls into two groups, the Baltic and the Slavic.There are three Baltic languages: Prussian( is now extinct), Latvian(about two million people ), and Lithuanian(about three million people )
The earliest form in which we possess a Slavic language is a part of the Bible and certain liturgical texts translated by the missionaries Cyril and Methodius in the 9th c. East Slavic includes three varieties (largest group of Slavic languages). ( Russian (about 220 million people), Belorussian (about 9 million people), Ukrainian (50 million people).
West Slavic includes four languages (Polish (about 36 million people), Czech (about 10 million), Slovak (5 million), Sorbian (over 100,000 people)
South Slavic includes Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian(The two languages are practically identical but use different alphabets.), Slovene, and modern Macedonian.
Germanic--- The following table shows the classification of old and modern Germanic languages.
Celtic ---Celts covered the greater part of Western Europe.Today Celtic languages are found only in the far corners of France and the British Isles
The language of the Celts in Gaul who were conquered by Caesar is known as Gallic. With respect to the Celtic languages in Britain we are better off, although the many contradictory theories of Celticists make it impossible to say with any confidence how the Celts came to England. The older view, which is now questioned, holds that the first to come were Goidelic or Gaelic Celts. Some of these may have been driven to Ireland by the later invaders and from there may have spread into Scotland and the Isle of Man. Their language is represented in modem times by Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. The later Biythonic Celts, after occupying for some centuries what is now England, were in turn driven westward by Germanic invaders in the 5th c. Some of the fugitives crossed over into Brittany. The modern representatives of the Brythonic division are Welsh, Cornish, and Breton.
Germanic tribes in the 1st c. A.D. consisted of the following groups:
The great historian Pliny spent many years in the Roman provinces of Low and High Germany. He wrote a book called “Natural History”. He was the first who enumerated and classified the military tribes. It was proved by many scientists. According to Pliny there were several Germanic tribes:
1. The Vindili.They lived in the eastern part of the territory inhabited by the Germanic tribes (GT – Germanic territory). They consisted of the Goths, the Burgundians and the Vandals.
2. The Ingvaeons. They lived in the north-western part of the GT. They inhabited the Jutland peninsula and the coast of the North Sea. The tribes of Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians were formed later of this group.
3.The Istkveoni.They lived on the Rhine. Later they formed a very powerful tribal union of Franconians. In the early Middle Ages they were powerful group of West Germans.
4. The Pekvini or Bastarni. They lived closed to the place, which is now called Ruminia. Mostly this group is included to the first group of Germanic tribes.
5.The Germioni. They lived in the centre of Germany and later the German nation was formed of these tribes.
6. The Gellivioni. They were isolated from other Germanic tribes. They inhabited Scandinavia.
2. Old Germanic writing system. The common Germanic value system encapsulated in the runes.
The old Germanic alphabet consisted of 24 letters. In England at least 30 runes were used to reflect the Old English phonological changes. The runic alphabet is called FUTHARK according to the sequence of first 6 letter in the alphabet. According to Martin Lehnert – german scholar, the verse form was often chosen in teaching and learning the runes to make it easier to memorize the alph in Anglo-Saxon pagan times. Runic Poem has come down to us from the 18th and it consist of short stanzas, each of which describes the name of each rune. The name of each rune was associated with a certain word in the Old English, plus each rune could stand for the initial sound of the corresponding word, this property of runes was used by Cynewulf to sign his poems.The of runes is rooted in the era older than the oldest inscriptions .Almost any runic text when decoded and subjected to a thorough linguistic analysis can provide us with knowledge of common Germanic value system. Futhark is a system encoding info about common Germanic mentality seems to be the most important runic evidence that we posses nowadays. To depict such information YuriySergeevichStepanov suggests viewing writing system on two axes simultaneously: padadigmatic (as code) and syntagmatic (as text) Linguistically, every separate runic letter can be treated as a complex sign with its own sound value, shape and semantic associations. Thus, futhark can be referred to paradigmatic analysis which helps linguists recognize several semantic spheres revealing the traditional Germanic value systems. They show the Universe in microcosm, or rather the Germanic perception of the World explicit in the runic code, consequently this means that furhark – is a Germanic model of the microcosm. The essential ideas of germanicmacrocosm were forming semantic backgrounds for grouping words into lexical fields in the old Germanic language. Names of the letters in proto-Indo-European alphabets were associated with basic notions in the mentality of the people of that era. =>runic characters could stand for some central concepts symbolizing basic notions in mentality of that era people. For example feoh = cattle-possesions-wealth-property-money-riches; the semantic history of this word indicates the gradual change in peoples attitude to the idea of well-being and prosperity. Syntagmaticaly, names of runes are arranged setting up types of word combinations = syntagms.
3. Classification of Modern Germanic languages.
Languages can be classified according to different principles. The historical, or genealogical classification. Germanic being one of their major groups.
. The Germanic languages in the modern world are as follows:
English — in Great Britain, Ireland, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the South African Republic, and many other former British colonies and dominions;
German — in the German Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein, part of Switzerland;
Netherlandish — in the Netherlands and Flanders (Belgium) (known also as Dutch and Flemish respectively);
Afrikaans — in the South African Republic;
Danish — in Denmark;
Swedish — in Sweden and Finland;
Norwegian — in Norway;
Icelandic — in Iceland;
Frisian — in some regions of the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany;
Faroese — in the Faroe Islands;
Yiddish — in different countries.
It is difficult to estimate the number of people speaking Germanic languages.The total number of people speaking Germanic languages approaches 440 million.
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