Germanic languages

Low German is a collection of very diverse dialects spoken in the northeast of the Netherlands and northern Germany.

Faroese is the official language of the Faroe Islands, and is also spoken by some people in Denmark.

Germanic languages possess a number of defining features compared with other Indo-European languages.

Note that some of the above characteristics were not present in Proto-Germanic but developed later as areal features that spread from language to language:

Proto-Germanic developed a strong stress accent on the first syllable of the root, but remnants of the original free PIE accent are visible due to Verner's Law, which was sensitive to this accent. That caused a steady erosion of vowels in unstressed syllables. In Proto-Germanic, that had progressed only to the point that absolutely-final short vowels (other than /i/ and /u/) were lost and absolutely-final long vowels were shortened, but all of the early literary languages show a more advanced state of vowel loss. This ultimately resulted in some languages (like Modern English) losing practically all vowels following the main stress and the consequent rise of a very large number of monosyllabic words.

As a result, newer grammatical descriptions of the Germanic languages often avoid the terms "strong" and "weak" except in conjunction with German itself, preferring instead to use the terms "indefinite" and "definite" for adjectives and to distinguish nouns by their actual stem class.

In English, both two sets of adjective endings were lost entirely in the late Middle English period.

Modern classification looks like this. For a full classification, see List of Germanic languages.

The table compares cognates in several different Germanic languages. In some cases, the meanings may not be identical in each language.