The Germanic peoples (also called Teutonic, Suebian or Gothic in older literature) are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic starting during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.
The term "Germanic" originated in classical times, when groups of tribes were referred to using this term by Roman authors. For them, the term was not necessarily based upon language, but rather referred to tribal groups and alliances who were considered less civilized, and more physically hardened, than the Celtic Gauls living in the region of modern France. Tribes referred to as Germanic in that period lived generally to the north and east of the Gauls.
The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family spoken by a sizable population in Western Europe, North America and Australasia. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic (also known as Common Germanic), which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe. Proto-Germanic, along with all of its descendants, is characterized by a number of unique linguistic features, most famously the consonant change known as Grimm's law. Early varieties of Germanic enter history with the Germanic tribes moving south from northern Europe in the 2nd century BC, to settle in north-central Europe.
The most widely spoken Germanic languages are English and German, with approximately 300–400 million native English speakers and over 100 million native German speakers. They belong to the West Germanic family. The West Germanic group also includes other major languages, such as Dutch with 23 million and Afrikaans with over 6 million native speakers. The North Germanic languages include Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic, and Faroese, which have a combined total of about 20 million speakers. The SIL Ethnologue lists 53 different Germanic languages.
Algeria · Nigeria · Sudan · Ethiopia · Seychelles
Uganda · Zambia · Kenya · South Africa
Afghanistan · Pakistan · India
Nepal · Sri Lanka · Vietnam
China · Hong Kong · Macau · Taiwan
North Korea · South Korea · Japan
Malaysia · Singapore · Philippines · Thailand