I am currently looking for information about the migration of the Germanic tribes, and especially it's effects on European languages, or other languages.

Google Search provided me information about the migration itself, but not about the effects of Germanic migration on language.

Answers will be helpful, but sources would enable me to extend my research.

  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because a request for sources is off topic.
    – Tom Au
    Nov 30, 2017 at 6:36
  • 2
    After extensive discussion on meta, we've determined that most source request questions are out of scope. Your question is unlikely to result in a canonical source, and is therefore likely to be closed as out of scope. I'm going to offer a friendly revision to try to keep you in scope, but get you the answer you need.
    – MCW
    Nov 30, 2017 at 9:14
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    This question looks to be on-topic now. Nov 30, 2017 at 9:23
  • 1
    I'm reminded of the quote French is what happens when Germans learn Latin from @NSNoob's answer to a similar question on here. Nov 30, 2017 at 13:56
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    A wee bit more clarification might be nice. Are you looking for info on loanwords and grammar changes to non-Germanic languages? Or are you interested in where Germanic is spoken today, and what languages used to be in those places before Germanic languages displaced them? Are you perhaps only interested in the migrations that occurred prior to the collapse of the western Roman Empire, or are we talking all migrations from the Proto-Germanic period (750BCish) onward?
    – T.E.D.
    Nov 30, 2017 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


This topic is described in detail in Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler. It includes references to his sources.

Short version: relatively little, and we're not really sure why. Germanic Tribes were mostly assimilated wherever they settled.

The only exception is England - most likely due to the plague wiping out everyone else.


  • 3
    I believe this is the correct answer - Germanic speakers were largely assimilated with the exception of England, and for a while at least, in Crimea. But I think your post would be improved by including a little more details from the book.
    – Semaphore
    Nov 30, 2017 at 14:16
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    @Semaphore Noted. I'll dig up the book when I get home.
    – Kargathia
    Nov 30, 2017 at 14:43
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    @Semaphore - I find it kind of tautoligical. (Not blaming the poster for that. I suspect this is a faithful reporting of Ostler's work). As a people they likely all originated in Scandinavia somewhere. They were assimilated where they were assimilated, but obviously in Germany they were not.
    – T.E.D.
    Nov 30, 2017 at 15:24
  • Which plague in which year? Nov 30, 2017 at 19:41
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    French has a lot of German roots Nov 30, 2017 at 20:30

For Romance languages there is more German influence on the grammar than the vocabulary.

Wikipedia on the history of the development of Vulgar Latin (which led to the Romance languages):

What emerged in Western Europe was a common form of Latin which, though mostly Latin in vocabulary (with many Germanic words introduced), was heavily influenced by Germanic grammar and represented a radical shift away from the original Roman language. For a few centuries this language remained relatively common across most of Western Europe (hence the fact that Italian, Spanish, French, etc. are far more similar to each other than to Classical Latin), though regional dialects were already developing...

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