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Germanic family learning sequence

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Senior Member
United States
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Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: French

 Message 1 of 3
18 September 2005 at 1:17am | IP Logged 
What do you think a good sequence is for learning the Germanic family? In this case a sequence for a native English speaker. Thanks for the input.
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Senior Member
United States
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Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Russian

 Message 2 of 3
18 September 2005 at 1:28am | IP Logged 
Morprussell-It seems that German would be a good first choice. If you are an English speaker, it would help open up Dutch and Afrikaans. Then if you want to tackle the Northern Germanic languages, perhaps Swedish would be a good next choice. I don't speak Swedish, but from what others have said, a person can switch pretty easily between it and Danish or Norwegian. Icelandic seems to be the hardest of the Germanic languages. Maybe you would want to save that one for later. I am curious what others on the forum, with more experience than I, would say.

Edited by orion on 18 September 2005 at 1:29am

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Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 6582 days ago

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Speaks: English*, French, Spanish, German
Studies: Italian

 Message 3 of 3
18 September 2005 at 2:06am | IP Logged 
For an English speaker, German is the definite first choice. It has the most
speakers, and both the missing vocabulary, and the typical Germanic
grammatical structure that english partially lacks (it's like filling in the
missing pieces).

So to start with i'd say


For example with English and German you probably have 60-90 % (i don't
know exactly) of Swedish vocabulary and virtually all of the grammatical
structure (there are still minor differences such as the definite article
forming a suffix at the end of a noun). The simple words are refreshingly
similar to english, and higher vocabulary is shared with German (whereas
english obviously shares this with French). Basically once you know
English and German, all the other major Germanic languages will be very

So i would say

=3.Swedish (Norwegian and Danish are so similar they need not be
learnt.) or
=4 Icelandic (This is going to take a couple of years, and had less
in common with the other languages so is best saved for last. Again
German grammar and Scandinavian vocabulary will give you a starting
=5 Faroese, if you really want to. It only has 70,000 odd speakers.
This is very similar to Icelandic.

Hope this helps.

Edited by Paul on 18 September 2005 at 2:17am

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