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Gothic for Goths: Behind the Inflections...

Gothic for Goths really started out as a bit of a joke.

One day, a few summers ago, my dear gothy neighbor Ms. Fledermaus and I were sitting around the paeceo laughing about all things gothy and gothic, and we thought it was funny how a lot of goth kids didn't seem to know that there was a difference between being goth and being a goth, or had any idea that gothic was actually a real language at all, let alone a culture, an architectural style, or anything prior to Edgar Allen Poe.

With my background in germanic linguistics, i mentioned how any time i said anything about the gothic language in the presence of any goth kids, they all wanted me to teach them how to say things in gothic, usually thinking it was some sort of made-up language invented for one vampire movie or another.  Ms. Fledermaus, with her background in art and architecture, had the same experience when talking about "gothic" in her related fields. 

We laughed away the afternoon coming up with inappropriate things to say in gothic, like, "Sa feina niuja swarta undarklaiþs meina gneidiþ mik." (My fancy new black underwear is chafing,) "Wileis þu paúmaís þarmiþ haban?" (Do you want fries with that?), "Ƕar ist gaitsūgja meins?" (Where is my chupacabra?) and "Gutans frijōnd Daweid Hasalhufa!" (The goths love David Hasselhof!) 

For the next few months, we gradually added more inappropriate phrases to our collexion, making up words where there was no equivalent.  Before long, though, it became apparent that just typing them up didn't really suffice anymore, and the need for the audio of someone actually pronouncing the words became clear, especially in light of the diphthongs ai and au, which even linguists can't agree on.  (As you've probably noticed, my own studies of gothic and germanic linguistics have led me to my own conclusions about how these should be pronounced.)

Anyway, in the spring of 2009, amid pressure to teach people how to pronounce things and to give a little depth to the language, i created Gothic for Goths Lesson 02: Gaitsūgja Meins, which i followed up in quick order with Gothic for Goths Lesson 01: The Alphabet, which seemed like a more realistic albeit less interesting starting point.

I'll admit that when i first started down this primrose path, i knew only a rudimentary amount of gothic which comes with studying anything about proto-germanic language, and i didn't particularly like it very much: I thought it sounded silly without having gone through rhotacism or the ē > ā change, and most of the literature out there deals so heavily with the bible that a heathen like myself couldn't always choke through it.  Eventually, though, it grew on me, and I figured if there's nothing out there about it beyond the bible, it's time to create some!

So please enjoy Gothic for Goths, and may your gothic learning experience be a far sight gother than mine!