Saint Ved Vyas relating the Bhagwatam to Shukdeo (3100 B.C.)

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(21) History, language and the civilization
of the British Isles; and the Germanic languages.

The Germanic languages.

Around 800-700 BC some ancient tribes lived along the North Sea and southern Scandinavia. They were later on called the Germanic people. After about 500 years they spread towards the south and five main groups were formed, North Germanic, North Sea Germanic, Rhine-Weser Germanic, Elbe Germanic and East Germanic. They all developed their own dialect. In a few centuries their population increased and to accommodate themselves into a larger area of land they started moving all over. It was called the great German tribal migration of the 4th century AD.

The North Germanic people moved towards Jutland and the North Sea Germanic group crossed the North Sea and settled in England (they were Angles, Saxons and Jutes). The Elbe group spread up to Switzerland and Austria, the Rhine-Weser group spread further around the river Rhine and Weser, and the East Germanic group that was centered around Vistula and Oder moved to different locations. They had their own dialect and when they mixed and migrated many more dialects appeared with a considerable change in their own system of pronunciation and spellings. People who settled in a particular area developed their own language. In this way a number of languages appeared in Europe. They were all called the Germanic languages.

There is no written record of the parent Germanic language. The earliest record of its Runic language is between 200-600 AD where there are only short inscriptions on some object or on the memorials of the dead. Another ancient record of a Germanic language is the Gothic translation of the Bible written in the 4th century. There are some parts of the Old Testament and more of the New Testament. Some parts are translated into Latin. In fact, the knowledge and the word formation of Gothic language came into light through these writings. Germanic languages could be categorized into East Germanic, North Germanic and West Germanic languages. They adopted the Latin alphabet.


It is the national language of Germany and Austria and also one of the four national languages of Switzerland. After the great Germanic tribal migration of the 4th century AD the proto-Germanic language took the shape of several Germanic languages. During the 6th century there came a big change in the history of German language called the High German consonant shift when the spellings and the pronunciation of German words changed considerably. It used the Runic alphabet of 23 letters, which was a derivative of the Northern Etruscan writing system. There were striking differences in the spelling and pronunciation of words between the dialects of German language called the Low German (spoken around the Netherlandic area of North Germany), High German (Southern Germany), East Middle German and West Middle German (near Belgium). According to the development of German language it could be divided into four periods: Old period (700 to 1000), Middle period (1000 to 1300), Early Modern period (1300 to 1650) and Modern period (1650 onward).


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