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Map of the Pre-Roman Iron Age culture(s) associated with Proto-Germanic, c. 500 BC. The red area shows the areal of the preceding Nordic Bronze Age in Scandinavia; the magenta-colored area towards the south represents the Jastorf culture of the North German Plain.

Proto-Germanic (PGmc; German Urgermanisch{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}; also called Common Germanic, German Gemeingermanisch{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}) is the reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family of languages.

Proto-Germanic developed into three branches during the first half of the 1st millennium AD, West Germanic, East Germanic and North Germanic, which however remained in contact over a considerable time, especially the North Sea Germanic group (including the English), which arose from West Germanic dialects which remained in continued contact with North Germanic.

The defining feature of Proto-Germanic is the completion of the First Germanic Sound Shift. As it is probable that the development of this sound law spanned a considerable time (several centuries), Proto-Germanic cannot adequately be reconstructed as a simple node in a tree model but rather represents a phase of development that may span close to a thousand years. The end of the Common Germanic period is reached with the beginning of the Germanic migrations in the 4th century.

The alternative term Germanic Parent Language may be used to include a larger scope of linguistic developments, spanning the Nordic Bronze Age and Pre-Roman Iron Age (2nd to 1st millennia BC) to include "Pre-Germanic" (PreGmc), "Early Proto Germanic" (EPGmc) and "Late Proto-Germanic" (LPGmc).<ref>See e.g. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

The Proto-Germanic language is not directly attested by any coherent surviving texts; it has been reconstructed using the comparative method. Fragmentary direct attestation of (late) Common Germanic in early runic inscriptions (specifically the 2nd-century Vimose inscriptions and the 2nd-century BC Negau helmet inscription),<ref name="Comrie">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> and in Roman Empire era transcriptions of individual words (notably in Tacitus' Germania, c. AD 90<ref> this includes common nouns such as framea "spear, javelin", mythological characters such as Mannus and tribal names such as Ingaevones</ref>).


Proto-Germanic language sections
Intro  Evolution of Proto-Germanic  Morphology  Schleicher's PIE fable rendered into Proto-Germanic  See also  Notes  References  [[Proto-Germanic_language?section=External</a>_links|External</a> links]]  

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