|North Sea Germanic|
|Originally the North Sea coast from Friesland to Jutland; today, worldwide|
North Sea Germanic, also known as Ingvaeonic //, is a postulated grouping of the northern West Germanic languages that consists of Old Frisian, Old English, and Old Saxon, and their descendants.
Ingvaeonic is named after the Ingaevones, a West Germanic cultural group or proto-tribe along the North Sea coast that was mentioned by both Tacitus and Pliny the Elder (the latter also mentioned that tribes in the group included the Cimbri, the Teutoni and the Chauci). It is thought of as not a monolithic proto-language but as a group of closely related dialects that underwent several areal changes in relative unison.
The grouping was first proposed in Nordgermanen und Alemannen (1942) by German linguist and philologist Friedrich Maurer as an alternative to the strict tree diagrams, which had become popular following the work of 19th-century linguist August Schleicher and assumed the existence of a special Anglo-Frisian group. The other groupings are Istvaeonic, from the Istvaeones, including Dutch, Afrikaans and related languages; and Irminonic, from the Irminones, including the High German languages.
Broadly speaking, the changes that characterise the Ingvaeonic languages can be divided into two groups, those being changes that occurred after the split from Proto-Northwest-Germanic (Ingvaeonic B) and those preceding it (Ingvaeonic A). Linguistic evidence for Ingvaeonic B observed in Old Frisian, Old English and Old Saxon is as follows:
Changes originating in Ingvaeonic A, like Old Norse but unlike Gothic and Old High German include:
Several, but not all, characteristics are also found in Dutch, which did not generally undergo the nasal spirant law (except for a few words), retained the three distinct plural endings (only to merge them in a later, unrelated change), and exhibits the -s plural in only a limited number of words. However, it lost the reflexive pronoun (even though it did later regain it via borrowing) and had the same four relic weak verbs in Class III.