Research topic: German and Germanic
German is one of the most widespread languages in Europe and a central language in European culture, politics and commerce. In Norwegian schools, German is the most widely-taught second foreign language.
German is a Germanic language which belongs to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family.
More than 100 million people have German as their mother tongue. Germany, Austria and Switzerland have the largest German-speaking populations. German is also very widespread as a foreign language, with around 20 million users worldwide.
‟German” is a collective term for many peoples and tribes of linguistically related Indo-Europeans that differed from the surrounding ethnic groups. The Germanic languages have long been spoken in central Europe, Scandinavia and on Iceland.
The Germanic languages are traditionally divided into three main branches: North Germanic in Scandinavia and on Iceland, West Germanic (sometimes also called South Germanic), which includes the modern languages of German, Dutch, Frisian and English and their historical precursors, and the extinct branch of East Germanic, which consisted of Gothic and the dialects of the Burgundians, Vandals, Gepids and Heruls.
By comparing the oldest known linguistic relics from the various Germanic languages which have been passed down, one can trace these languages back to a form generally referred to as Proto-Germanic.
The vocabulary includes a strikingly large number of elements (an estimated 30%) which are not found in other Indo-European languages. In pre-Christian centuries, Germanic was somewhat influenced by Celtic, and in Roman and later times by Latin and Romance languages, especially French.
Modern German is referred to as High German. Research and studies in the field cover language, literature and culture in the German-speaking countries.