ein_wunderkind (ein_wunderkind) wrote in linguaphiles,

English in the Germanic Tree

Why is English classified as a West Germanic language (albeit in a subcategory)? I ask because ever since I started studying Swedish, and now particularly at an advanced level, I see so many more similarities between English and Swedish/The Scandinavian Dialect Family (if you will) than West Germanic languages such as modern High German or Dutch. That could just be my personal opinion or possibly I unconsciously exaggerate the similarities as Swedish becomes more and more natural to me. Please also note that there's no reason to berate me for this opinion because I have next to no knowledge about how any of these languages have changed historically and I'm aware that that plays a much more significant role in how they're classified than simply how they appear today.

But I would like to know... why is English in an "Anglo-Frisian" subcategory of West Germanic as opposed to some other possible classification.

If any of you out there have some sort of specialized knowledge or interest in Germanic languages; please give me all the knowledge you've got or at least point me in the right direction of some literature because I'm really fascinated by this topic.

Some major points I'm curious about:

-What is the basis for how English is presently classified?
-Has it differed historically at all?
-What is the consensus on this classification among linguists? Are there any scholars in dispute with the "Anglo-Frisian" category?
-Are there any alternative classifications proposed?
-How did it end up being where it is now?

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