Debate: Germanic languages vs. Romanic languages

Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.

Roger Bacon

If our beloved Hogwarts is known for one thing not related to magic, it’s the vast variety of languages that the students and staff speak. Because of that, there has been a lot of debate about whether a Germanic language is harder to learn or if Romanic languages take the crown. We at the Quibbler decided that it would be fun to educate you all on the difference between those two languages and finally let you vote on which one is the hardest to learn!

Starting off, we have the Germanic languages. They are a language family in the Indo-European languages, coming from Proto-Germanic, an old language spoken at about 500 BC (so about 2070 years ago!). Later, it branched off into multiple languages around northern, western, and central Europe. Dutch, Danish, German, Norwegian, Swedish, and English are only a few examples of Germanic languages.

Germanic languages have some characteristics that make it easier to differentiate between Germanic languages and other languages.

  1. A Germanic umlaut, which modifies vowel qualities when a high front vocalic segment follows in the next syllable. e.g. ä/ö/ü/æ/ø/œ
  2. A large number of vowel qualities
  3. “Verb second” word order. The finite verb must always be the second word in a regular sentence.

Moving on to the next family of languages, we have the Romanic—also known as the Romance—languages. They also belong to the Indo-European languages, originating from Vulgar Latin, better known as “Common Latin.” It was spoken between the 3rd and the 10th centuries, slowly branching off into languages such as Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Romanian.

Some typical characteristics for Romanic languages are:

  1. The Romance languages have a similar origin, and they may also share continued developments, as if they were already “in motion” when they split apart. 
  2. They are very similar to each other. A lot of them even share a very similar vocabulary.
  3. They seem musical and mellifluous.

There you have it, folks! These are the two language families that students have been debating about for ages. What do you think? Are Romanic languages really harder to learn than Germanic languages, or do you think that they’re equally difficult to learn? Let us know by answering the following poll!

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