I attempted a list of features of the English language that are clearly Germanic, and wrote only what came to mind off the top of my head. Doubtless it is woefully incomplete and has other flaws. What should be added or emended?
- Only two verb tenses in English are simple (as opposed to compound, i.e. requiring more than one word to express the verb). And they're the same two that are simple in German. In typical European languages, maybe six or more are simple.
- With many English verbs, the vowel changes with the tense: He sings/He sang/He has sung, He gives/He gave/He has given, He keeps/He kept, etc.
- One particular sequence of three vowels is often used in such "strong" verbs: He sings/He sang/He has sung, He swims/He swam/He has swum, The bell rings/The bell rang/The bell has rung. That same sequence, i/a/u is used in that same way in many verbs in German.
- As in German modal auxiliary verb is used to form a sort of future tense: He will sing/Er wird singen.
- "Reader", "singer", "runner", "worker", etc. In both English and German, that same suffix is used in that same way to make a noun from a verb.
- In English and German, the "-er" suffix on an adjective forms the comparative degree: "bigger", "cheaper", "slower", "healthier". And "good" is an irregular adjective in that its comparative is not "gooder" but "better"; likewise in German "gut" and "besser".
- In English and German, unlike most European languages, the infinitive is formed with an initial monosyllabic word rhyming with "who": "to sing", "to read", etc. ("to" in English and "zu" in German, with "z" pronounced as in "Mozart")
- In English and German, some verbs when used catenatively require the following verb to have "to" and others don't, thus:
"I make him sing." versus "I force him to sing."
"I let him sing." versus "I allow him to sing."
"I must sing." versus "I have to sing."
- The plural of "he", "she", or "it" is "they". The distinction between masculine, feminine, and neuter pronouns is present only in the singular number, never in the plural. In English I think this is the last vestige; in German it effects all nouns and adjectives and many pronouns.
- If you know what "give" means and what "up" means, that doesn't tell you what "give up" means. English has many such phrasal verbs. So does German. (But in German the particle that completes the phrasal verb is a separable prefix.)
- Words like "herewith", "therefrom", "hereby", etc. are Germanisms, although their counterparts in German are used not only in somewhat formal writing but also in the most informal speech and writing.
- A certain amount of vocabulary. (But in English you hardly ever utter a sentence that isn't very short without also using words that evolved from French words or other sources. German has also borrowed from French and Latin, etc., but nowhere near so much.)
So how should one improve and complete this list?