North Germanic languages

The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages—a sub-family of the Indo-European languages—along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages. The language group is also referred to as the Nordic languages, a direct translation of the most common term used among Danish, Faroese, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish scholars and people.

North Germanic
Nordic
Scandinavian
EthnicityNorth Germanic peoples
Geographic
distribution
Northern Europe
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Proto-languageProto-Norse (attested), later Old Norse
Subdivisions
ISO 639-5gmq
Glottolognort3160
North Germanic-speaking lands

Continental Scandinavian languages:

  Danish

Insular Nordic languages:

  Norn (†)

The term North Germanic languages is used in comparative linguistics,[1] whereas the term Scandinavian languages appears in studies of the modern standard languages and the dialect continuum of Scandinavia.[2][3] Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are close enough to form a strong mutual intelligibility where cross-border communication in native languages is very common.

Approximately 20 million people in the Nordic countries speak a Scandinavian language as their native language,[4] including an approximately 5% minority in Finland. Besides being the only North Germanic language with official status in two separate sovereign states, Swedish is also the most spoken of the languages overall. 15% of the population in Greenland speak Danish as a first language.[5]

This language branch is separated from the West Germanic languages to the south, like English and Dutch. It is also distinct from Finnish just to the East which belongs to a completely different language family: the Uralic languages.


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