Gothic is a language of the East Germanic branch of Indo-European. Spoken around 500 CE in eastern Europe, it retains several archaic features that set it apart from extant Germanic languages. For this reason, it gives some insights into what the Proto-Germanic language must have been like, which itself was a sister language to other proto-languages that were the ancestors of Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Slavonic, et cetera. Gothic therefore resembles the other classical languages a lot more than, say, English or German do, yet at the same time demonstrates quite a bit of similarity to these and other related languages spoken today.
The main corpus of extant Gothic literature is a partial copy of a Bible translated from ancient Greek by Goths
under the supervision of the Greek-born bishop
Make sure to look over the The Sounds of Gothic for information about how to pronounce the words presented in these lessons.
Here is a simple sentence in Gothic:
|The bird eats the corn.
Here the verb
|The corn doesn't remain.
|The bird doesn't remain.
|The wild beast eats the corn.
|The wild beast eats the bird.
In sentence 1, the bird was in the nominative case (
Gothic has a total of 5 cases for nouns. Since this is not a feature of the English language, it can seem confusing and overwhelming for some students. (If you speak or have studied an inflected language such as German, Greek, Latin, Russian, or Sanskrit, then declensions will already be familiar to you.) However, English does still have cases for personal pronouns: notice that you cannot substitute "I" for "me" in a sentence, for example, and that a sentence fragment like "ever him saw she" cannot mean "him" is the one doing the seeing, otherwise the pronouns would be "he" and "her". Nevertheless, to make cases easier to learn for those encountering them for the first time, and to make Gothic cases easier for those accustomed to other languages' declension systems, the cases are color coded for the first few lessons and for a while afterwards when introducing a new declension. Here they are with the definite article:
|the bird (subject)
|the bird (direct object)
|of the bird
|for/to the bird
|the corn (subject)
|the corn (direct object)
|of the corn
|for/to the corn
*Included for completeness.
A great many masculine nouns are declined the same as
The accusative construction
Neuter nouns declined like
| fear (genitive:
| wild animal (genitive:
| grass (genitive:
| darkness (genitive:
Here are some more sentences. You can recognize the verbs in these sentences by their
|A bird sits in a tree.
|The servant doesn't drink the king's wine.
|There is iron in the blood.
|The king gives silver to the servant.
|Grass grows in the field in the daytime.
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