Gothic is an extinct East Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable text corpus. All others, including Burgundian and Vandalic, are known, if at all, only from proper names that survived in historical accounts, and from loanwords in other languages such as Portuguese, Spanish, and French.
As a Germanic language, Gothic is a part of the Indo-European language family. It is the earliest Germanic language that is attested in any sizable texts, but it lacks any modern descendants. The oldest documents in Gothic date back to the fourth century. The language was in decline by the mid-sixth century, partly because of the military defeat of the Goths at the hands of the Franks, the elimination of the Goths in Italy, and geographic isolation (in Spain the Gothic language lost its last and probably already declining function as a church language when the Visigoths converted to Catholicism in 589). The language survived as a domestic language in the Iberian peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal) as late as the eighth century. Gothic-seeming terms are found in manuscripts subsequent to this date, but these may or may not belong to the same language. In particular, a language known as Crimean Gothic survived in the lower Danube area and in isolated mountain regions in Crimea. Lacking certain sound changes characteristic of Gothic, however, Crimean Gothic cannot be a lineal descendant of Bible Gothic.
The existence of such early attested texts makes it a language of considerable interest in comparative linguistics.
|Region||Oium, Dacia, Pannonia, Dalmatia, Italy, Gallia Narbonensis, Gallia Aquitania, Hispania, Crimea, North Caucasus.|
|Era||attested 3rd–10th century; related dialects survived until 18th century in Crimea|
Only a few documents in Gothic survive, not enough for completely reconstructing the language. Most Gothic-language sources are translations or glosses of other languages (namely, Greek), so foreign linguistic elements most certainly influenced the texts. These are the primary sources:
Reports of the discovery of other parts of Ulfilas' Bible have not been substantiated. Heinrich May in 1968 claimed to have found in England 12 leaves of a palimpsest containing parts of the Gospel of Matthew.
Only fragments of the Gothic translation of the Bible have been preserved. The translation was apparently done in the Balkans region by people in close contact with Greek Christian culture. The Gothic Bible apparently was used by the Visigoths in Iberia until about 700, and perhaps for a time in Italy, the Balkans, and Ukraine; in the latter country at Mangup, ninth-century inscriptions have been found of a prayer in the Gothic alphabet using Biblical Gothic orthography. In exterminating Arianism, many texts in Gothic were probably expunged and overwritten as palimpsests or collected and burned. Apart from Biblical texts, the only substantial Gothic document that still exists and the only lengthy text known to have been composed originally in the Gothic language, is the Skeireins, a few pages of commentary on the Gospel of John.
Very few secondary sources make reference to the Gothic language after about 800. In De incrementis ecclesiae Christianae (840–842), Walafrid Strabo, a Frankish monk who lived in Swabia, speaks of a group of monks, who reported that "even now certain peoples in Scythia (Dobruja), especially around Tomis spoke a sermo Theotiscus ('Germanic language'), the language of the Gothic translation of the Bible, and they used such a liturgy.
In evaluating medieval texts that mention the Goths, many writers used the word Goths to mean any Germanic people in eastern Europe (such as the Varangians), many of whom certainly did not use the Gothic language as known from the Gothic Bible. Some writers even referred to Slavic-speaking people as Goths. However, it is clear from Ulfilas' translation that despite some puzzles the language belongs with the Germanic language group, not with Slavic.
The relationship between the language of the Crimean Goths and Ulfilas's Gothic is less clear. The few fragments of Crimean Gothic from the 16th century show significant differences from the language of the Gothic Bible although some of the glosses, such as ada for "egg", could indicate a common heritage, and Gothic mena ("moon"), compared to Crimean Gothic mine, can suggest an East Germanic connection.
Generally, the Gothic language refers to the language of Ulfilas, but the attestations themselves are largely from the 6th century, long after Ulfilas had died. The above list is not exhaustive, and a more extensive list is available on the website of the Wulfila project.
Ulfilas's Gothic, as well as that of the Skeireins and various other manuscripts, was written using an alphabet that was most likely invented by Ulfilas himself for his translation. Some scholars (such as Braune) claim that it was derived from the Greek alphabet only while others maintain that there are some Gothic letters of Runic or Latin origin.
A standardized system is used for transliterating Gothic words into the Latin script. The system mirrors the conventions of the native alphabet, such as writing long /iː/ as ei. The Goths used their equivalents of e and o alone only for long higher vowels, using the digraphs ai and au (much as in French) for the corresponding short or lower vowels. There are two variant spelling systems: a "raw" one that directly transliterates the original Gothic script and a "normalized" one that adds diacritics (macrons and acute accents) to certain vowels to clarify the pronunciation or, in certain cases, to indicate the Proto-Germanic origin of the vowel in question. The latter system is usually used in the academic literature.
The following table shows the correspondence between spelling and sound for vowels:
|Sound||Normal environment of occurrence
(in native words)
|Paradigmatically alternating sound
in other environments
|ā||/aː/||Before /h/, /hʷ/||Does not occur||/ãː/ (before /h/)|
|𐌰𐌹||ai||aí||/ɛ/||Before /h/, /hʷ/, /r/||i /i/||/e/, /i/|
|ai||/ɛː/||Before vowels||ē /eː/||/ɛː/, /eː/|
|ái||/ɛː/||Not before vowels||aj /aj/||/ɑi/|
|𐌰𐌿||au||aú||/ɔ/||Before /h/, /hʷ/, /r/||u /u/||/u/|
|au||/ɔː/||Before vowels||ō /oː/||/ɔː/|
|áu||/ɔː/||Not before vowels||aw /aw/||/ɑu/|
|𐌴||e||ē||/eː/||Not before vowels||ai /ɛː/||/ɛː/, /eː/|
|𐌴𐌹||ei||ei||/iː/||Everywhere||—||/iː/; /ĩː/ (before /h/)|
|𐌹||i||i||/i/||Everywhere except before /h/, /hʷ/, /r/||aí /ɛ/||/e/, /i/|
|𐌹𐌿||iu||iu||/iu/||Not before vowels||iw /iw/||/eu/ (and its allophone [iu])|
|𐍉||o||ō||/oː/||Not before vowels||au /ɔː/||/ɔː/|
|𐌿||u||u||/u/||Everywhere except before /h/, /hʷ/, /r/||aú /ɔ/||/u/|
|ū||/uː/||Everywhere||—||/uː/; /ũː/ (before /h/)|
The following table shows the correspondence between spelling and sound for consonants:
|Gothic Letter||Roman||Sound (phoneme)||Sound (allophone)||Environment of occurrence||Paradigmatically alternating sound, in other environments||Proto-Germanic origin|
|𐌱||b||/b/||[b]||Word-initially; after a consonant||–||/b/|
|[β]||After a vowel, before a voiced sound||/ɸ/ (after a vowel, before an unvoiced sound)|
|𐌳||d||/d/||[d]||Word-initially; after a consonant||–||/d/|
|[ð]||After a vowel, before a voiced sound||/θ/ (after a vowel, before an unvoiced sound)|
|𐍆||f||/ɸ/||[ɸ]||Everywhere except before a voiced consonant||/b/ [β]||/ɸ/; /b/|
|𐌲||g||/ɡ/||[ɡ]||Word-initially; after a consonant||–||/g/|
|[ɣ]||After a vowel, before a voiced sound||/ɡ/ [x] (after a vowel, not before a voiced sound)|
|[x]||After a vowel, not before a voiced sound||/ɡ/ [ɣ] (after a vowel, before a voiced sound)|
|/n/||[ŋ]||Before k /k/, g /ɡ/ [ɡ], gw /ɡʷ/
(such usage influenced by Greek, compare gamma)
|gw||/ɡʷ/||[ɡʷ]||After g /n/ [ŋ]||–||/ɡʷ/|
|𐌷||h||/h/||[h]||Everywhere except before a voiced consonant||/g/ [ɣ]||/x/|
|𐍈||ƕ||/hʷ/||[hʷ]||Everywhere except before a voiced consonant||–||/xʷ/|
|𐌺||k||/k/||[k]||Everywhere except before a voiced consonant||–||/k/|
|𐍀||p||/p/||[p]||Everywhere except before a voiced consonant||–||/p/|
|𐌵||q||/kʷ/||[kʷ]||Everywhere except before a voiced consonant||–||/kʷ/|
|𐍃||s||/s/||[s]||Everywhere except before a voiced consonant||/z/||/s/; /z/|
|𐍄||t||/t/||[t]||Everywhere except before a voiced consonant||–||/t/|
|𐌸||þ||/θ/||[θ]||Everywhere except before a voiced consonant||/d/ [ð]||/θ/; /d/|
|𐌶||z||/z/||[z]||After a vowel, before a voiced sound||/s/||/z/|
It is possible to determine more or less exactly how the Gothic of Ulfilas was pronounced, primarily through comparative phonetic reconstruction. Furthermore, because Ulfilas tried to follow the original Greek text as much as possible in his translation, it is known that he used the same writing conventions as those of contemporary Greek. Since the Greek of that period is well documented, it is possible to reconstruct much of Gothic pronunciation from translated texts. In addition, the way in which non-Greek names are transcribed in the Greek Bible and in Ulfilas's Bible is very informative.
|Nasal||m /m/||n /n/||g, n [ŋ]|
|Stop||p /p/||b /b/||t /t/||d /d/||ddj? /ɟː/||k /k/||g /ɡ/||q /kʷ/||gw /ɡʷ/|
|Fricative||f /ɸ/||b [β]||þ /θ/||d [ð]||s /s/||z /z/||g, h [x]||g [ɣ]||ƕ /ʍ/||h /h/|
|Approximant||l /l/||j /j/||w /w/|
In general, Gothic consonants are devoiced at the ends of words. Gothic is rich in fricative consonants (although many of them may have been approximants, it is hard to separate the two) derived by the processes described in Grimm's law and Verner's law and characteristic of Germanic languages. Gothic is unusual among Germanic languages in having a /z/ phoneme, which has not become /r/ through rhotacization. Furthermore, the doubling of written consonants between vowels suggests that Gothic made distinctions between long and short, or geminated consonants: atta [atːa] "dad", kunnan [kunːan] "to know" (Dutch kennen, German kennen "to know", Icelandic kunna).
Gothic has three nasal consonants, one of which is an allophone of the others, all found only in complementary distribution with them. Nasals in Gothic, like most other languages, are pronounced at the same point of articulation as either the consonant that follows them (assimilation). Therefore, clusters like [md] and [nb] are not possible.
Accentuation in Gothic can be reconstructed through phonetic comparison, Grimm's law and Verner's law. Gothic used a stress accent rather than the pitch accent of Proto-Indo-European. This is indicated by the shortening of long vowels [eː] and [oː] and the loss of short vowels [a] and [i] in unstressed final syllables.
Just as in other Germanic languages, the free moving Proto-Indo-European accent was replaced with one fixed on the first syllable of simple words. Accents do not shift when words are inflected. In most compound words, the location of the stress depends on the type of compound:
For example, with comparable words from modern Germanic languages:
Gothic preserves many archaic Indo-European features that are not always present in modern Germanic languages, in particular the rich Indo-European declension system. Gothic had nominative, accusative, genitive and dative cases, as well as vestiges of a vocative case that was sometimes identical to the nominative and sometimes to the accusative. The three genders of Indo-European were all present. Nouns and adjectives were inflected according to one of two grammatical numbers: the singular and the plural.
Nouns can be divided into numerous declensions according to the form of the stem: a, ō, i, u, an, ōn, ein, r, etc. Adjectives have two variants, indefinite and definite (sometimes indeterminate and determinate), with definite adjectives normally used in combination with the definite determiners (such as the definite article sa/þata/sō) while indefinite adjectives are used in other circumstances., Indefinite adjectives generally use a combination of a-stem and ō-stem endings, and definite adjectives use a combination of an-stem and ōn-stem endings. The concept of "strong" and "weak" declensions that is prevalent in the grammar of many other Germanic languages is less significant in Gothic because of its conservative nature: the so-called "weak" declensions (those ending in n) are, in fact, no weaker in Gothic (in terms of having fewer endings) than the "strong" declensions (those ending in a vowel), and the "strong" declensions do not form a coherent class that can be clearly distinguished from the "weak" declensions.
Although descriptive adjectives in Gothic (as well as superlatives ending in -ist and -ost) and the past participle may take both definite and indefinite forms, some adjectival words are restricted to one variant. Some pronouns take only definite forms: for example, sama (English "same"), adjectives like unƕeila ("constantly", from the root ƕeila, "time"; compare to the English "while"), comparative adjective and present participles. Others, such as áins ("some"), take only the indefinite forms.
The table below displays the declension of the Gothic adjective blind (English: "blind"), compared with the an-stem noun guma "man"(human) and the a-stem noun dags "day":
|Singular||nom.||guma||blind-||-a||-o||dags||blind-||-s||— / -ata||-a|
This table is, of course, not exhaustive. (There are secondary inflexions of various sorts not described here.) An exhaustive table of only the types of endings that Gothic took is presented below.
Gothic adjectives follow noun declensions closely; they take same types of inflexion.
Gothic inherited the full set of Indo-European pronouns: personal pronouns (including reflexive pronouns for each of the three grammatical persons), possessive pronouns, both simple and compound demonstratives, relative pronouns, interrogatives and indefinite pronouns. Each follows a particular pattern of inflexion (partially mirroring the noun declension), much like other Indo-European languages. One particularly noteworthy characteristic is the preservation of the dual number, referring to two people or things; the plural was used only for quantities greater than two. Thus, "the two of us" and "we" for numbers greater than two were expressed as wit and weis respectively. While proto-Indo-European used the dual for all grammatical categories that took a number (as did Classical Greek and Sanskrit), most Old Germanic languages are unusual in that they preserved it only for pronouns. Gothic preserves an older system with dual marking on both pronouns and verbs (but not nouns or adjectives).
The simple demonstrative pronoun sa (neuter: þata, feminine: so, from the Indo-European root *so, *seh2, *tod; cognate to the Greek article ὁ, ἡ, τό and the Latin istud) can be used as an article, allowing constructions of the type definite article + weak adjective + noun.
The interrogative pronouns begin with ƕ-, which derives from the proto-Indo-European consonant *kʷ that was present at the beginning of all interrogratives in proto-Indo-European. That is cognate with the wh- at the beginning of many English interrogative, which, as in Gothic, are pronounced with [ʍ] in some dialects. The same etymology is present in the interrogatives of many other Indo-European languages": w- [v] in German, hv- in Danish, the Latin qu- (which persists in modern Romance languages), the Greek τ- or π-, the Slavic and Indic k- as well as many others.
The bulk of Gothic verbs follow the type of Indo-European conjugation called 'thematic' because they insert a vowel derived from the reconstructed proto-Indo-European phonemes *e or *o between roots and inflexional suffixes. The pattern is also present in Greek and Latin:
The other conjugation, called 'athematic', in which suffixes are added directly to roots, exists only in unproductive vestigial forms in Gothic, just like in Greek and Latin. The most important such instance is the verb "to be", which is athematic in Greek, Latin, Sanskrit and many other Indo-European languages.
Gothic verbs are, like nouns and adjectives, divided into strong verbs and weak verbs. Weak verbs are characterised by preterites formed by appending the suffixes -da or -ta, parallel to past participles formed with -þ / -t. Strong verbs form preterites by ablaut (the alternating of vowels in their root forms) or by reduplication (prefixing the root with the first consonant in the root plus aí) but without adding a suffix in either case. That parallels the Greek and Sanskrit perfects. The dichotomy is still present in modern Germanic languages:
Verbal conjugation in Gothic have two grammatical voices: the active and the medial; three numbers: singular, dual (except in the third person) and plural; two tenses: present and preterite (derived from a former perfect); three grammatical moods: indicative, subjunctive (from an old optative form) and imperative as well as three kinds of nominal forms: a present infinitive, a present participle, and a past passive. Not all tenses and persons are represented in all moods and voices, as some conjugations use auxiliary forms.
Finally, there are forms called 'preterite-present': the old Indo-European perfect was reinterpreted as present tense. The Gothic word wáit, from the proto-Indo-European *woid-h2e ("to see" in the perfect), corresponds exactly to its Sanskrit cognate véda and in Greek to ϝοἶδα. Both etymologically should mean "I have seen" (in the perfect sense) but mean "I know" (in the preterite-present meaning). Latin follows the same rule with nōuī ("I have learned" and "I know"). The preterite-present verbs include áigan ("to possess") and kunnan ("to know") among others.
The word order of Gothic is fairly free as is typical of other inflected languages. The natural word order of Gothic is assumed to have been like that of the other old Germanic languages; however, nearly all extant Gothic texts are translations of Greek originals and have been heavily influenced by Greek syntax.
Sometimes what can be expressed in one word in the original Greek will require a verb and a complement in the Gothic translation; for example, διωχθήσονται (diōchthēsontai, "they will be persecuted") is rendered:
|wrakos||winnand||(2 Timothy 3:12)|
|"they will suffer persecution"|
Likewise Gothic translations of Greek noun phrases may feature a verb and a complement. In both cases, the verb follows the complement, giving weight to the theory that basic word order in Gothic is object–verb. This aligns with what is known of other early Germanic languages.
However, this pattern is reversed in imperatives and negations:
|waírþ||hráins||(Matthew 8:3, Mark 1:42, Luke 5:13)|
|"he shall not become heir"|
And in a wh-question the verb directly follows the question word:
|"What shall the child become?"|
One such clitic particle is -u, indicating a yes–no question or an indirect question, like Latin -ne:
|"Were there not ten that were cleansed?"|
|"that we see whether or not Elias will come to save him"|
It should be noted that the prepositional phrase without the clitic -u appears as af þus silbin: the clitic causes the reversion of originally voiced fricatives, unvoiced at the end of a word, to their voiced form; another such example is wileid-u "do you (pl.) want" from wileiþ "you (pl.) want". If the first word has a preverb attached, the clitic actually splits the preverb from the verb: ga-u-láubjats "do you both believe...?" from galáubjats "you both believe".
Another such clitic is -uh "and", appearing as -h after a vowel: ga-h-mēlida "and he wrote" from gamēlida "he wrote", urreis nim-uh "arise and take!" from the imperative form nim "take". After iþ or any indefinite besides sums "some" and anþar "another", -uh cannot be placed; in the latter category, this is only because indefinite determiner phrases cannot move to the front of a clause. It should be pointed out that, unlike, for example, Latin -que, -uh can only join two or more main clauses. In all other cases, the word jah "and" is used, which can also join main clauses.
More than one such clitics can occur in one word: diz-uh-þan-sat ijōs "and then he seized them (fem.)" from dissat "he seized" (notice again the voicing of diz-), ga-u-ƕa-sēƕi "whether he saw anything" from gasēƕi "he saw".
For the most part, Gothic is known to be significantly closer to Proto-Germanic than any other Germanic language except for that of the (scantily attested) early Norse runic inscriptions, which has made it invaluable in the reconstruction of Proto-Germanic. In fact, Gothic tends to serve as the primary foundation for reconstructing Proto-Germanic. The reconstructed Proto-Germanic conflicts with Gothic only when there is clearly identifiable evidence from other branches that the Gothic form is a secondary development.
Gothic fails to display a number of innovations shared by all Germanic languages attested later:
The language has also preserved many features that have been lost mostly in other early Germanic languages:
Most conspicuously, Gothic shows no sign of morphological umlaut. Gothic fotus, pl. fotjus, can be contrasted with English foot : feet, German Fuß : Füße, Old Icelandic fótr : fœtr, Danish fod : fødder. These forms contain the characteristic change /oː/ > /øː/ (> English /iː/, German /yː/) due to i-umlaut; the Gothic form shows no such change.
Proto-Germanic *z remains in Gothic as z or is devoiced to s. In North and West Germanic, *z changes to r by rhotacism.
Gothic retains a morphological passive voice inherited from Indo-European but unattested in all other Germanic languages except for the single fossilised form preserved in, for example, Old English hātte or Runic Norse (c. 400) haitē "am called", derived from Proto-Germanic *haitaną "to call, command". (It should be noted that the related verbs heißen in modern German and heten in Dutch are both derived from the active voice of this verb but have the passive meaning "to be called" alongside the dated active meaning "to command".)
Unlike other Germanic languages, which retained dual number marking only in some pronoun forms, Gothic has dual forms both in pronouns and in verbs. Dual verb forms exist in the first and second person only and only in the active voice; in all other cases, the corresponding plural forms are used. In pronouns, Gothic has first and second person dual pronouns: Gothic/Old English/Old Norse wit "we two" (thought to have been in fact derived from *wi-du literally "we two").
Gothic possesses a number of verbs which form their preterite by reduplication, another archaic feature inherited from Indo-European. While traces of this category survived elsewhere in Germanic, the phenomenon is largely obscured in these other languages by later sound changes and analogy. In the following examples the infinitive is compared to the third person singular preterite indicative:
The standard theory of the origin of the Germanic languages divides the languages into three groups: East Germanic (Gothic and a few other very scantily-attested languages), North Germanic (Old Norse and its derivatives, such as Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese) and West Germanic (all others, including Old English, Old High German, Old Saxon, Old Low Franconian, Old Frisian and the numerous modern languages derived from these, including English, German, and Dutch). Sometimes, a further grouping, that of the Northwest Germanic languages, is posited as containing the North Germanic and West Germanic languages, reflecting the hypothesis that Gothic was the first attested language to branch off.
A minority opinion (the so-called Gotho-Nordic Hypothesis) instead groups North Germanic and East Germanic together. It is based partly on historical claims: for example, Jordanes, writing in the 6th century, ascribes to the Goths a Scandinavian origin. There are a few linguistically significant areas in which Gothic and Old Norse agree against the West Germanic languages.
Perhaps the most obvious is the evolution of the Proto-Germanic *-jj- and *-ww- into Gothic ddj (from Pre-Gothic ggj?) and ggw, and Old Norse ggj and ggv ("Holtzmann's Law"), in contrast to West Germanic where they remained as semivowels. Compare Modern English true, German treu, with Gothic triggws, Old Norse tryggr.
However, it has been suggested that these are, in fact, two separate and unrelated changes. A number of other posited similarities exist (for example, the existence of numerous inchoative verbs ending in -na, such as Gothic ga-waknan, Old Norse vakna; and the absence of gemination before j, or (in the case of old Norse) only g geminated before j, e.g. Proto-Germanic *kunją > Gothic kuni (kin), Old Norse kyn, but Old English cynn, Old High German kunni). However, for the most part these represent shared retentions, which are not valid means of grouping languages. That is, if a parent language splits into three daughters A, B and C, and C innovates in a particular area but A and B do not change, A and B will appear to agree against C. That shared retention in A and B is not necessarily indicative of any special relationship between the two.
Another commonly-given example involves Gothic and Old Norse verbs with the ending -t in the 2nd person singular preterite indicative, and the West Germanic languages have -i. The ending -t can regularly descend from the Proto-Indo-European perfect ending *-th₂e, while the origin of the West Germanic ending -i (which, unlike the -t-ending, unexpectedly combines with the zero-grade of the root as in the plural) is unclear, suggesting that it is an innovation of some kind, possibly an import from the optative. Another possibility is that this is an example of independent choices made from a doublet existing in the proto-language. That is, Proto-Germanic may have allowed either -t or -i to be used as the ending, either in free variation or perhaps depending on dialects within Proto-Germanic or the particular verb in question. Each of the three daughters independently standardized on one of the two endings and, by chance, Gothic and Old Norse ended up with the same ending.
Other isoglosses have led scholars to propose an early split between East and Northwest Germanic. Furthermore, features shared by any two branches of Germanic do not necessarily require the postulation of a proto-language excluding the third, as the early Germanic languages were all part of a dialect continuum in the early stages of their development, and contact between the three branches of Germanic was extensive.
Polish linguist Witold Mańczak had argued that Gothic is closer to German (specifically Upper German) than to Scandinavian and suggests that their ancestral homeland was located southernmost part of the Germanic territories, close to present day Austria rather than in Scandinavia. Frederik Kortlandt has agreed with Mańczak's hypothesis, stating: "I think that his argument is correct and that it is time to abandon Iordanes' classic view that the Goths came from Scandinavia."
Several linguists have made use of Gothic as a creative language. The most famous example is Bagme Bloma ("Flower of the Trees") by J. R. R. Tolkien, part of Songs for the Philologists. It was published privately in 1936 for Tolkien and his colleague E. V. Gordon.
Tolkien's use of Gothic is also known from a letter from 1965 to Zillah Sherring. When she bought a copy of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War in Salisbury, she found strange inscriptions in it; after she found his name in it, she wrote him a letter and asked him if the inscriptions were his, including the longest one on the back, which was in Gothic. In his reply to her he corrected some of the mistakes in the text; he wrote for example that hundai should be hunda and þizo boko (of those books), which he suggested should be þizos bokos (of this book). A semantic inaccuracy of the text which he mentioned himself is the use of lisan for read, while this was ussiggwan. Tolkien also made a calque of his own name in Gothic in the letter, which according to him should be Ruginwaldus Dwalakoneis.
The Thorvaldsen museum also has an alliterative poem, Thunravalds Sunau, from 1841 by Massmann, the first publisher of the Skeireins, written in the Gothic language. It was read at a great feast dedicated to Thorvaldsen in the Gesellschaft der Zwanglosen in Munich on July 15, 1841. This event is mentioned by Ludwig Schorn in the magazine Kunstblatt from the 19th of July, 1841. Massmann also translated the academic commercium song Gaudeamus into Gothic in 1837.
In Fleurs du Mal, an online magazine for art and literature, the poem Overvloed of Dutch poet Bert Bevers appeared in a Gothic translation.
|Gothic||Transliteration||Word-for-word translation||IPA transcription|
|𐌰𐍄𐍄𐌰 𐌿𐌽𐍃𐌰𐍂 𐌸𐌿 𐌹𐌽 𐌷𐌹𐌼𐌹𐌽𐌰𐌼||atta unsar þu in himinam||Father our, thou in heaven,||/ˈatːa ˈunsar θuː in ˈhiminam|
|𐍅𐌴𐌹𐌷𐌽𐌰𐌹 𐌽𐌰𐌼𐍉 𐌸𐌴𐌹𐌽||weihnai namo þein||be holy name thy.||ˈwiːhnɛː ˈnamoː θiːn|
|𐌵𐌹𐌼𐌰𐌹 𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌹𐌽𐌰𐍃𐍃𐌿𐍃 𐌸𐌴𐌹𐌽𐍃||qimai þiudinassus þeins||Come kingdom thy,||ˈkʷimɛː ˈθiu̯ðinasːus θiːns|
|𐍅𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌸𐌰𐌹 𐍅𐌹𐌻𐌾𐌰 𐌸𐌴𐌹𐌽𐍃||wairþai wilja þeins||happen will thy,||ˈwɛrθɛː ˈwilja θiːns|
|𐍃𐍅𐌴 𐌹𐌽 𐌷𐌹𐌼𐌹𐌽𐌰 𐌾𐌰𐌷 𐌰𐌽𐌰 𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌸𐌰𐌹||swe in himina jah ana airþai||as in heaven also on earth.||sweː in ˈhimina jah ana ˈɛrθɛː|
|𐌷𐌻𐌰𐌹𐍆 𐌿𐌽𐍃𐌰𐍂𐌰𐌽𐌰 𐌸𐌰𐌽𐌰 𐍃𐌹𐌽𐍄𐌴𐌹𐌽𐌰𐌽 𐌲𐌹𐍆 𐌿𐌽𐍃 𐌷𐌹𐌼𐌼𐌰 𐌳𐌰𐌲𐌰||hlaif unsarana þana sinteinan gif uns himma daga||Loaf our, the everyday, give us this day,||hlɛːɸ ˈunsarana ˈθana ˈsinˌtiːnan ɡiɸ uns ˈhimːa ˈdaɣa|
|𐌾𐌰𐌷 𐌰𐍆𐌻𐌴𐍄 𐌿𐌽𐍃 𐌸𐌰𐍄𐌴𐌹 𐍃𐌺𐌿𐌻𐌰𐌽𐍃 𐍃𐌹𐌾𐌰𐌹𐌼𐌰||jah aflet uns þatei skulans sijaima||and forgive us, that debtors be,||jah aɸˈleːt uns ˈθatiː ˈskulans ˈsijɛːma|
|𐍃𐍅𐌰𐍃𐍅𐌴 𐌾𐌰𐌷 𐍅𐌴𐌹𐍃 𐌰𐍆𐌻𐌴𐍄𐌰𐌼 𐌸𐌰𐌹𐌼 𐍃𐌺𐌿𐌻𐌰𐌼 𐌿𐌽𐍃𐌰𐍂𐌰𐌹𐌼||swaswe jah weis afletam þaim skulam unsaraim||just as also we forgive those debtors our.||ˈswasweː jah ˈwiːs aɸˈleːtam θɛːm ˈskulam ˈunsarɛːm|
|𐌾𐌰𐌷 𐌽𐌹 𐌱𐍂𐌹𐌲𐌲𐌰𐌹𐍃 𐌿𐌽𐍃 𐌹𐌽 𐍆𐍂𐌰𐌹𐍃𐍄𐌿𐌱𐌽𐌾𐌰𐌹||jah ni briggais uns in fraistubnjai||And not bring us in temptation,||jah ni ˈbriŋɡɛːs uns in ˈɸrɛːstuβnijɛː|
|𐌰𐌺 𐌻𐌰𐌿𐍃𐌴𐌹 𐌿𐌽𐍃 𐌰𐍆 𐌸𐌰𐌼𐌼𐌰 𐌿𐌱𐌹𐌻𐌹𐌽||ak lausei uns af þamma ubilin||but loose us from the evil.||ak ˈlɔːsiː uns aɸ ˈθamːa ˈuβilin|
|𐌿𐌽𐍄𐌴 𐌸𐌴𐌹𐌽𐌰 𐌹𐍃𐍄 𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰𐌽𐌲𐌰𐍂𐌳𐌹 𐌾𐌰𐌷 𐌼𐌰𐌷𐍄𐍃||unte þeina ist þiudangardi jah mahts||For thine is kingdom and might||ˈunteː ˈθiːna ist ˈθiu̯ðanˌɡardi jah mahts|
|𐌾𐌰𐌷 𐍅𐌿𐌻𐌸𐌿𐍃 𐌹𐌽 𐌰𐌹𐍅𐌹𐌽𐍃||jah wulþus in aiwins||and glory in eternity.||jah ˈwulθus in ˈɛːwins/|
The belagines were written laws which, according to Jordanes, were given to the Goths by Dicineus / Dekaineos, the Dacian-Getic legislator, Zalmoxian priest at the time of Burebista.These belagines laws entered in the tradition of the Ostrogoths but it does not exclude similar Visigothic traditions, since the Dicineu / Dekaineos tradition no matter how literary it may be, points to Dacia.Blót
Blót is the term for "sacrifice" in Norse paganism. A blót could be dedicated to any of the Norse gods, the spirits of the land, and to ancestors.
The sacrifice involved aspects of a sacramental meal or feast.
The cognate term blōt or geblōt in Old English would have referred to comparable traditions in Anglo-Saxon paganism, and comparanda can also be reconstructed for the wider (prehistoric) Germanic Indo-European.Crimean Gothic
Crimean Gothic was a Gothic dialect spoken by the Crimean Goths in some isolated locations in Crimea until the late 18th century.Ermanaric
Ermanaric (Gothic: *Aírmanareiks; Latin: Ermanaricus; Old English: Eormanrīc [ˈeormɑnriːtʃ]; Old Norse: Jǫrmunrekr [ˈjɔrmunrekr]; died 376) was a Greuthungian Gothic King who before the Hunnic invasion evidently ruled a sizable portion of Oium, the part of Scythia inhabited by the Goths at the time. He is mentioned in two Roman sources; the contemporary writings of Ammianus Marcellinus and in Getica by the 6th-century historian Jordanes. Modern historians disagree on the size of Ermanaric's realm. Herwig Wolfram postulates that he at one point ruled a realm stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea as far eastwards as the Ural Mountains. Peter Heather is skeptical of the claim that Ermanaric ruled all Goths except the Tervingi, and furthermore points to the fact that such an enormous empire would have been larger than any known Gothic political unit, that it would have left bigger traces in the sources and that the sources on which the claim is based are not nearly reliable enough to be taken at face value.Germanic calendar
The Germanic calendars were the regional calendars used amongst the early Germanic peoples, prior to the adoption of the Julian calendar in the Early Middle Ages.
The Germanic peoples had names for the months which varied by region and dialect, which were later replaced with local adaptations of the Roman month names. Records of Old English and Old High German month names date to the 8th and 9th centuries, respectively. Old Norse month names are attested from the 13th century. Like most pre-modern calendars, the reckoning used in early Germanic culture was likely lunisolar. As an example, the Runic calendar developed in medieval Sweden is lunisolar, fixing the beginning of the year at the first full moon after winter solstice.God (word)
The English word god continues the Old English god (guþ, gudis in Gothic, guð in Old Norse, god in Frisian and Dutch, and Gott in modern German), which is derived from Proto-Germanic *ǥuđán.Gothic Bible
The Gothic Bible or Wulfila Bible is the Christian Bible in the Gothic language spoken by the Eastern Germanic (Gothic) tribes in the early Middle Ages.The translation was allegedly made by the Arian bishop and missionary Wulfila in the fourth century. Recent scholarly opinion, based on analyzing the linguistic properties of the Gothic text, holds that the translation of the Bible into Gothic was not or not solely performed by Wulfila, or any one person, but rather by a team of scholars.Gothic alphabet
The Gothic alphabet is an alphabet for writing the Gothic language, created in the 4th century by Ulfilas (or Wulfila) for the purpose of translating the Bible.The alphabet is essentially an uncial form of the Greek alphabet, with a few additional letters to account for Gothic phonology: Latin F and G, a questionably Runic letter to distinguish the /w/ glide from vocalic /u/, and the letter ƕair to express the Gothic labiovelar.Goths
The Goths (Gothic: Gut-þiuda; Latin: Gothi) were an East Germanic people, two of whose branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire through the long series of Gothic Wars and in the emergence of Medieval Europe. The Goths dominated a vast area, which at its peak under the Germanic king Ermanaric and his sub-king Athanaric possibly extended all the way from the Danube to the Don, and from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.The Goths spoke the Gothic language, one of the extinct East Germanic languages.Midgard
Midgard (an anglicised form of Old Norse Miðgarðr; Old English Middangeard, Swedish and Danish Midgård, Old Saxon Middilgard, Old High German Mittilagart, Gothic Midjun-gards; "middle yard") is the name for Earth (equivalent in meaning to the Greek term οἰκουμένη, "inhabited") inhabited by and known to humans in early Germanic cosmology, and specifically one of the Nine Worlds in Norse mythology.Mood (psychology)
In psychology, a mood is an emotional state. In contrast to emotions, feelings, or affects, moods are less specific, less intense and less likely to be provoked or instantiated by a particular stimulus or event. Moods are typically described as having either a positive or negative valence. In other words, people usually talk about being in a good mood or a bad mood.
Mood also differs from temperament or personality traits which are even longer-lasting. Nevertheless, personality traits such as optimism and neuroticism predispose certain types of moods. Long term disturbances of mood such as clinical depression and bipolar disorder are considered mood disorders. Mood is an internal, subjective state but it often can be inferred from posture and other behaviors. "We can be sent into a mood by an unexpected event, from the happiness of seeing an old friend to the anger of discovering betrayal by a partner. We may also just fall into a mood."Research also shows that a person's mood can influence how they process advertising. Mood has been found to interact with gender to affect consumer processing of information.Paganism
Paganism (from classical Latin pāgānus "rural, rustic", later "civilian"), is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism. This was either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population, or because they were not milites Christi (soldiers of Christ). Alternate terms in Christian texts for the same group were hellene, gentile, and heathen. Ritual sacrifice was an integral part of ancient Graeco-Roman religion and was regarded as an indication of whether a person was pagan or Christian.Paganism was originally a pejorative and derogatory term for polytheism, implying its inferiority. Paganism has broadly connoted the "religion of the peasantry", During and after the Middle Ages, the term paganism was applied to any non-Abrahamic or unfamiliar religion, and the term presumed a belief in false god(s). Most modern pagan religions existing today - Modern Paganism, or Neopaganism -
express a world view that is pantheistic, polytheistic or animistic; but some are monotheistic.The origin of the application of the term pagan to polytheism is debated. In the 19th century, paganism was adopted as a self-descriptor by members of various artistic groups inspired by the ancient world. In the 20th century, it came to be applied as a self-descriptor by practitioners of Modern Paganism, Neopagan movements and Polytheistic reconstructionists. Modern pagan traditions often incorporate beliefs or practices, such as nature worship, that are different from those in the largest world religions.Contemporary knowledge of old pagan religions comes from several sources, including anthropological field research records, the evidence of archaeological artifacts, and the historical accounts of ancient writers regarding cultures known to Classical antiquity.Sif
In Norse mythology, Sif () is a goddess associated with earth. Sif is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, and in the poetry of skalds. In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, Sif is the wife of the thunder god Thor and is known for her golden hair.
In the Prose Edda, Sif is named as the mother of the goddess Þrúðr by Thor and of Ullr with a father whose name is not recorded. The Prose Edda also recounts that Sif once had her hair shorn by Loki, and that Thor forced Loki to have a golden headpiece made for Sif, resulting in not only Sif's golden tresses but also five other objects for other gods.
Scholars have proposed that Sif's hair may represent fields of golden wheat, that she may be associated with fertility, family, wedlock and/or that she is connected to rowan, and that there may be an allusion to her role or possibly her name in the Old English poem Beowulf.Ulfilas
Ulfilas (c. 311–383), also known as Ulphilas and Orphila, all Latinized forms of the Gothic 𐍅𐌿𐌻𐍆𐌹𐌻𐌰 Wulfila, literally "Little Wolf", was a Goth of Cappadocian Greek descent who served as a bishop and missionary, is credited with the translation of the Bible into the Gothic Bible, and participated in the Arian controversy. He developed the Gothic alphabet in order for the Bible to be translated, sans Kings due to the war narratives he feared would entice the Goths, into the Gothic language. Although traditionally the translation of the Bible into the Gothic language has been ascribed to Ulfilas, analysis of the Gothic text indicates the involvement of a team of translators, possibly under the supervision of Ulfilas.Vandalic language
Vandalic was the Germanic language spoken by the Vandals during roughly the 3rd to 6th centuries. It was probably closely related to Gothic, and as such is traditionally classified as an East Germanic language. Its attestation is very fragmentary, mainly due to Vandals' constant migrations and late adoption of writing. All modern sources from the time when Vandalic was spoken are protohistoric.
The Vandals, Hasdingi and Silingi established themselves in Gallaecia (northern Portugal and Galicia) and in southern Spain, following other Germanic and non-Germanic peoples (Visigoths, Alans and Suebi) in c. 410 before they moved to North Africa in the 430s. Their kingdom flourished in the early 6th century, but after their defeat in 536 they were placed under Byzantine administration and their language likely disappeared before the end of the century.Were
Were and wer are archaic terms for adult male humans and were often used for alliteration with wife as "were and wife" in Germanic-speaking cultures, and in the Old English construction werman, paired with the parallel wifman, denoting males and females respectively, which share structure with the current English woman. (Old English: were, Old Dutch: wer, Gothic: waír, Old Frisian: wer, Old Saxon: wer, Old High German: wer, Old Norse: verr).Yule
Yule or Yuletide ("Yule time" or "Yule season") is a festival historically observed by the Germanic peoples. Scholars have connected the original celebrations of Yule to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin, and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht.
Later departing from its pagan roots, Yule underwent Christianised reformulation resulting in the term Christmastide. Many present-day Christmas customs and traditions such as the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar, Yule singing, and others stem from pagan Yule traditions. Terms with an etymological equivalent to Yule are still used in Nordic countries to describe Christmas and other festivals occurring during the winter holiday season. Today, Yule is celebrated in Heathenry and other forms of Neopaganism, as well as in LaVeyan Satanism.Æsir
In Old Norse, ǫ́ss (or áss, ás, plural æsir; feminine ásynja, plural ásynjur) is a member of the principal pantheon in Norse religion. This pantheon includes Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Týr. The second pantheon is known as the Vanir. In Norse mythology, the two pantheons wage war against each other, which results in a unified pantheon.
The cognate term in Old English is ōs (plural ēse) denoting a deity in Anglo-Saxon paganism. The Old High German is ans, plural ensî.
The Gothic language had ans- (based only on Jordanes who glossed anses with uncertain meaning, possibly 'demi-god' and presumably a Latinized form of actual plural *anseis).
The reconstructed Proto-Germanic form is *ansuz (plural *ansiwiz). The ansuz rune, ᚫ, was named after the Æsir.
Unlike the Old English word god (and Old Norse goð), the term ōs (áss) was never adopted into Christian use.
According to contemporary philology