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View Poll Results: What is your favorite Germanic language?

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  • Dutch (Nederlands, Flemish)

    2 4.44%
  • Frisian

    1 2.22%
  • Afrikaans

    0 0%
  • English

    15 33.33%
  • Scots (Lallans, Lowland Scots)

    2 4.44%
  • Low German (Plattdeutsch)

    1 2.22%
  • High German (Hochdeutsch, Standard German, Swiss German)

    9 20.00%
  • Yiddish

    0 0%
  • Danish

    2 4.44%
  • Icelandic

    5 11.11%
  • Norwegian Bokmal

    2 4.44%
  • Norwegian Nynorsk

    0 0%
  • Swedish

    1 2.22%
  • Faroese

    1 2.22%
  • Other living West Germanic language (specify)

    1 2.22%
  • Other living North Germanic language (specify)

    0 0%
  • An extinct Germanic language (specify)

    3 6.67%
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Thread: What's your favorite Germanic language?

  1. #26
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    Just returning to this (been on holiday!), I too have old Dutch texts which differentiate between both sounds: one being voiced and the other being unvoiced - and I can recall being confused by this because they both sounded the same to my ear, and my Dutch friends later confirming that as far as they were concerned, it was the same sound - so somewhere along the line, if they were two different sounds, they have come together.

    To be honest, being familiar with the sound myself, I can't for the life of me imagine how you can possibly make a voiced version of the sound.
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    English is universal. Easy grammar, melodic, versatile and the most useful language.

    But if there was no English, German would be my favourite. It is not very melodic, but rather robotic, orderly. It suits me... subjective thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey D View Post
    Just returning to this (been on holiday!), I too have old Dutch texts which differentiate between both sounds: one being voiced and the other being unvoiced - and I can recall being confused by this because they both sounded the same to my ear, and my Dutch friends later confirming that as far as they were concerned, it was the same sound - so somewhere along the line, if they were two different sounds, they have come together.

    To be honest, being familiar with the sound myself, I can't for the life of me imagine how you can possibly make a voiced version of the sound.
    I have no problem to articulate in two ways. The matter is only a question of strength in blowing the global articulation is still the same; do you know about the diverse arabic aspirated guttural sounds? they are very more numerous than the almost unique modern hebraic guttural (for my ears can identify).
    If ancient 'gh' was the same as the ancient 'ch' sound in lower-german languages why could have Flemish softened or abandoned only the 'gh' in some positions when (if I don't mistake) it doesn't for 'ch'???

    so it's possible that people have melted the 2 sounds in a lone one today, but it's not so evident for past.

  4. #29
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    Just for a bit of fun, and out of personal interest, and because clearly I have far too much time on my hands, I dug out some old Dutch texts I've been keeping in boxes in the garage for 20+ years.

    My wife always asks me, do you really need all these old books? and my answer is always the same: you just never know when I'll need to pull them out!

    The first one I pulled out was Dutch: Grammar and Reader by Smit and Meijer. I'll be honest, I can't recall ever looking through this book before, and it's in excellent condition, meaning I probably never have. Note: first published in 1958, and the 2nd edition I have was published in 1978 - so I would not be surprised if it's a bit behind the times.

    Anyway, on the very first page, we find this (which is consistent with a lot of our discussions above):

    Hard consonants: p, t, k, s, f, ch, h.
    The letters ch represent a single sound identical with ch in Scotch loch. [personally, I think it's a tiny bit harder]

    Soft consonants: b, d, z, g, v, w, j
    g represents the soft variation of ch. The difference between g and ch is often lost, especially with speakers from the western part of the Netherlands.



    Ok, this is starting to confirm what we're all thinking - they may have been a difference once, perhaps more noticeable in different parts of the country, but it has probably all now merged into the one sound.

    Now this is even more interesting, at some point I was going to say that personally, I didn't see all that much difference beween Dutch F and Dutch V.

    Smit and Meijer say in the very next line: v is a soft f, but here too the difference is not always noticeable.

    That's what I reckon too!

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Next, I pulled out some books by Bruce Donaldson, known here in Australia as an expert on Germanic languages, and a profilic writer on the Dutch language.

    I always enjoyed this particular book of his: Dutch: A linguistic history of Holland and Belgium, published in 1983.

    On page 51, he talks about the fricatives, and opens with g and ch:

    The fricatives g and ch are usually transcribed as [ ] and [X], i.e. as voiced and unvoiced respectively. However, nowadays in the North this represents more what was, that what is the case; they are now usually both voiceless, but this point will be discussed a little later.


    This is consistent with what Northerner mentioned in an earlier post, and is clearly bit more up to date than the Smit and Meijer quote above.


    He goes onto to say:L It is undoubtedly the common occurence of [X] which leads the layman to label Dutch a 'gutteral' language. Footnote: In English circles one often hears the same of German but the gutterals are not as hard nor as frequent as in Dutch, after all, g is a stop in German.


    He then provides this interesting table, consistent with what I wrote above:

    g > ch : now usually devoiced in all positions in northern ABN although a degree of voicing can still occur intervocalically; it is considered regional to give g a voiced pronunciation consistently.

    v > f : may be, and usually is devoiced in initial position north of the rivers, but not intervocalically.

    z > s: cannot be devoiced anywhere in a word without being considered socially inferior. This does not include devoicing of z under the influence of assimilation however.

    On page 15, Donaldson writes:

    There is one sound in particular which betrays a southern origin, namely g. The Dutch refer to the southern g as a zachte gee...

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    Folk likingmost English most likely should also like its near sibling Scots, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey D View Post
    Next, I pulled out some books by Bruce Donaldson, known here in Australia as an expert on Germanic languages, and a profilic writer on the Dutch language.

    I always enjoyed this particular book of his: Dutch: A linguistic history of Holland and Belgium, published in 1983.

    On page 51, he talks about the fricatives, and opens with g and ch:

    The fricatives g and ch are usually transcribed as [ ] and [X], i.e. as voiced and unvoiced respectively. However, nowadays in the North this represents more what was, that what is the case; they are now usually both voiceless, but this point will be discussed a little later.


    This is consistent with what Northerner mentioned in an earlier post, and is clearly bit more up to date than the Smit and Meijer quote above.


    He goes onto to say:L It is undoubtedly the common occurence of [X] which leads the layman to label Dutch a 'gutteral' language. Footnote: In English circles one often hears the same of German but the gutterals are not as hard nor as frequent as in Dutch, after all, g is a stop in German.


    He then provides this interesting table, consistent with what I wrote above:

    g > ch : now usually devoiced in all positions in northern ABN although a degree of voicing can still occur intervocalically; it is considered regional to give g a voiced pronunciation consistently.

    v > f : may be, and usually is devoiced in initial position north of the rivers, but not intervocalically.

    z > s: cannot be devoiced anywhere in a word without being considered socially inferior. This does not include devoicing of z under the influence of assimilation however.

    On page 15, Donaldson writes:

    There is one sound in particular which betrays a southern origin, namely g. The Dutch refer to the southern g as a zachte gee...
    OK: all that confirms we are right all of us for the parts we are aware of: historic local evolutions put differences for G - I recall that in gact some German dialects have a voiced fricatives for G in intervocalic position (Vogel, Wagen ...), as has Icelandic
    Concerning the initial F- and S- for standard Dutch V- and Z- mark for me the more North-Germanic origin of some regions; the voiced sounds at the initial COULD be the mark of some ancient Belgae's input (I already wrote about that and same phenomenon in S-W English dialects and some Breton dialects apparently linked to SW-Britain (Dumnonia?)

  8. #33
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    English- only because that is my primary language, lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    OK: all that confirms we are right all of us for the parts we are aware of: historic local evolutions put differences for G - I recall that in gact some German dialects have a voiced fricatives for G in intervocalic position (Vogel, Wagen ...), as has Icelandic
    Concerning the initial F- and S- for standard Dutch V- and Z- mark for me the more North-Germanic origin of some regions; the voiced sounds at the initial COULD be the mark of some ancient Belgae's input (I already wrote about that and same phenomenon in S-W English dialects and some Breton dialects apparently linked to SW-Britain (Dumnonia?)
    Just al little remark I spotted that the Frisians also have the soft g of 'goal' and not the standard language hard g.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Northener View Post
    Just al little remark I spotted that the Frisians also have the soft g of 'goal' and not the standard language hard g.


    Sent from my iPad using Eupedia Forum
    True! I didn't speak of them because it was so evident: apart for some palatalizations, their consonnants are closer to Scandinavians who have only S, F, and not Z, V and yes they have not the "soft" but the truly "occlusive" G, as had, I suppose, ancient nieder-sachsisch speakers of N-E Netherlands before adopting the standard; this late adoption COULD explain the confusion between hard 'CH' fricative with "soft" 'G' fricative (GH in some texts) , I think.
    G in intervocalic and final position is very often turned into fricative 'GH' in Germanic dialects of all sorts (and the same occurred to Anglo-Saxon too), sometimes turning into German 'ichlaut' (/ç/) or into /j/, and into /w/-> /v/ in back vowels environment (Elsassisch, English, spoken Danish...) BUT Dutch and Flemish languages are the only ones who have a fricative at the beginning of words, as you evidently know as you speak Dutch.
    &: but Frisian knows 'Gh' fricative in other positions as a lot of Germanic dialects.

    BTW, happy new year! Bloawezh mad deoc'h! (yearful good to-you)

  11. #36
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    Frisians: as Scandinavians, they have T and not D in place of old-Germanic 'TH'

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    How is Swedish different from other Germanic languages? It sounds more "open voweled" to me. Am I wrong?


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    I haven't heard enough of them to form a strong opinion.

    I love a Scottish accent though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey D View Post
    No love for Norwegian, I would have thought that Norwegian is even more musical than Swedish.
    I tend to prefer the flat accent of West Germanic languages, and I like Finland Swedish a bit better than Sweden's Swedish because of the loss of tones.

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    Swedish sounds somewhat archaic, because of it's vowel richness and many Old Nordic words that have been lost or replaced with Low German loan words in Norwegian or Danish. Of course Icelandic sounds even more archaic, but the Scandinavian languages have moved so far away from it, that Icelandic often appears more as a mysterious puzzle than an archaic version of our own languages.

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    I'm not familiar enough with the Scandinavian languages to be able to make a sound decision. I know English obviously and little bit of German. If I were to compare the two I'd go with German in the context of it being more pure Germanic than English. But I bet the extinct Gothic languages would be my favorite I think they were probably the most similar to Slavic.

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    Danish, for some reason it always was the best sounding one to me.

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    High German, Low German, Dutch & Swedish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Źıun View Post
    Danish, for some reason it always was the best sounding one to me.
    Not wishing to cause offence to anyone, but if there is one Germanic language I have trouble distinguishing by ear, it is Danish.

    I can recall catching a train through mainland Denmark, years ago, and at each stop, I'd look at the name of the town, and then listen to the name of the town uttered over the loudspeaker, and I was never able to match the spelling with the pronunciation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey D View Post
    Not wishing to cause offence to anyone, but if there is one Germanic language I have trouble distinguishing by ear, it is Danish.
    I can recall catching a train through mainland Denmark, years ago, and at each stop, I'd look at the name of the town, and then listen to the name of the town uttered over the loudspeaker, and I was never able to match the spelling with the pronunciation.
    That's normal. Unlike Norwegian and Swedish, written Danish is quite different from spoken Danish. Many final letters are dropped like in French, and other groups of letters get merged into another sound (like the -ight in light and night in English). Additionally, Danish is the European language with the highest number of vowel sounds. So it can be difficult to hear words for an untrained ear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    That's normal. Unlike Norwegian and Swedish, written Danish is quite different from spoken Danish. Many final letters are dropped like in French, and other groups of letters get merged into another sound (like the -ight in light and night in English). Additionally, Danish is the European language with the highest number of vowel sounds. So it can be difficult to hear words for an untrained ear.
    That makes sense, and I guess the glottal stop doesn't help matters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Denderplankenware View Post
    Folk likingmost English most likely should also like its near sibling Scots, right?
    late answer - there is not ONE Scot but Scots dialects - the more conservative seem the Northeast ones (East-Grampians/Aberdeen): they are far enough /'enochh'/ from English -
    - /'ow' diphtongs kept monophtongs /oo/ or IPA /u:/ except when in English 'ow' is an old '-og' (-ogh)
    ex: 'town' = 'toon' - 'about' = 'aboot', 'house' = 'hoose' ...
    - guttural stops conserved:
    'enough' = /enokh/ , IPA /X/ sound like also in 'night' = 'nicht' /nikht/ - 'low' = 'laich' /le(i)kh/ see dutch 'laag' -
    - conservation of old 'ee' as in dutch (german 'ei' /aj/ often) - no -> 'o' /ëu/ evolution as in English:
    more' = 'mair' - 'one' = 'ane', 'een' - 'stone' = 'stane' /ste:n/
    - anglish 'oo' tends towards german /ö/ or /ü/
    'moon' = /mö:n/ - 'good' = ~/göd/ - 'moor' = 'muir' /¨mö:r//mü:r/

    all that roughly said; my aim is to say typical scot is not so "soft" as english, and more all-germanic like"; except english has often very aspirated stops for T, P, K
    - thrilled 'r', not the english one -

    the Lallands scots are more on the way of a regional english than true conservative dialect

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    Hej,
    I voted for the faroese, I can't speak it but to me it just sounds very good. Prolly also way less influenced by other languages than others. Not because I "magically" "travelled" there yesterday (changed my flag for faroe islands) :p

    As for danish, it's the scandinavian language I know the better (I'm far from being able to speak, though), just because I lived some months in denmark. I think it's the scandinavian language which sounds the worse, though I still like it.
    It's indeed very hard to catch, not straightforward like norwegian is (both languages being very similar).

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    English followed by German and Dutch

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    GOTHIC FOREVER! Sadly, it was probably the Goths that caused the population bottleneck of my R1a-M458 haplogroup in ancient Poland. But Improvise, Adapt, Overcome, as I always say.

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