Gothic for Goths Lesson 02: The Script

Gutiska Razda faúr Gutans. Welcome to the second lesson in my series, Gothic for Goths.  Today we’ll talk about what to do if you’re lost in gothic territory when you discover that a beloved family pet has gone missing.

Ƕar ist gáitsūgja meins? 
Where is my chupacabra?

Aflēt mis, 
Excuse me, <[I don't know if anyone really said "excuse me" in gothic, but it never hurts to be polite to people with swords.]

Ga-u-saƕt gáitsūgjan meinana? 
Have you seen my chupacabra?

Is habaiþ ráuþa áuǥōna, 
He has red eyes,

Grēw jah grōni filli, 
Grey and green skin,

Þaúrneinana hrugi, 
A spiny back,

Wulƀis háuƀiþ, 
The head of a wolf,

Mūstriggis feþarakna, 
The wings of a bat,

Is fliugiþ, 
He flies,

Jah drigkiþ gáitē blōþ. 
And he drinks the blood of goats.

...hananēh, lambēh. 
...and chickens, and sheep.

Hilp mis ina finþan. 
Help me find him.

Now let’s talk about the words we’ve just learned.

Ƕar ist gáitsūgja meins?

ƕar
where 

ist
is 

gáitsūgja
chupacabra. This literally means “goat-sucker,” just like chupacabras does in spanish.

meins
my. The possessive pronoun follows the noun in gothic, like in italian “il ciupacabra mio,” icelandic “geitsúgarinn minn,” or greek “ὁ τσουπακάβρας μου.”

Aflēt mis

aflētan
to forgive or to excuse

mis
me (dative)

gausaƕt gáitsūgjan meinana?

saíƕan
to see

þu saíƕis
you see

þu saƕt
you saw

þu gasaƕt
you have seen

(þu) ga-u-saƕt
have you seen.  Here the particle “-u” drops in and makes the statement a question without having to muck about with word order.  Be aware, though, that u is separate from the rest of the word, so don’t pronounce it as a diphthong with a, like gaú-saƕt or gáu-saƕt! It’s ga-u-saƕt.

gáitsūgjan meinana
my chupacabra.  

Here we say gáitsūgjan meinana instead of gáitsūgja meins because it is in the accusative case.  This means that something is being done to the chupacabra (it is being seen), as opposed to it doing something (being missing).

Is habaiþ ráuþa áugōna

is 
he

haban 
to have

is habaiþ 
he has 

ráuþs 
red 

áugō 
eye 

ráuþa áugōna 
red eyes.  Like we discussed before with the difference between gaitsugja meins and gaitsugjan meinana, rauþa augona is the accusative plural form.

Grēw jah grōni felli

grēws 
grey 

jah 
and 

grōneis
green 

fill
skin 

Þaúrneinana hrugi

þaúrneins 
spiny, thorny

hrugs 
back.  Again, we say þaúrneinana instead of þaúrneins because it is accusative.  As you can see, you can sometimes tell what is accusative because it will often have an ending of -na.

Wulƀis háuƀiþ

wulfs 
wolf 

wulƀis 
of a wolf/wolf’s.  This is in the genitive case, which is a lot like forming the possessive in english by adding ’s to the end of a noun.

háuƀiþ 
head

Mūstriggis feþarakna

mūstriggs 
bat 

mūstriggis 
bat’s, of a bat.  Again,  this is the genitive case.

feþarak 
wing 

feþarakna 
wings.  Wings here are in the accusative, as you can tell by the -na ending, because something is happening to them – they are being owned by the chupacabra.

Is fliugiþ

fliugan 
to fly

is fliugiþ 
he flies

Jah drigkiþ gáitē blōþ

drigkan – to drink

is drigkiþ 
he drinks

gáits 
goat

gáitē 
goats’ or of goats. This is in the genitive plural, which in gothic is always indicated by ending with the letter aíƕus.

blōþ 
blood 

...hananēh, lambēh.

hanō 
chicken 

lamb 
sheep

Now we have a tricky new word.  We’ve already learned that jah means ‘and,’ but you can also say ‘and’ by adding the suffix ‘uh’ onto the end of a noun.  Since chickens, sheep, and oxen in this case are in the genitive plural, which, as we know, always ends with -ē, we drop the -u- and just tack -h right onto the end of the word.  If anybody’s curious about when you drop the -u and when you don’t,  here’s a quick overview, so pause now.  <[Slide is of Joseph B Voyles’ Early Germanic Grammar: Pre-, Proto-, and Post-Germanic Languages, §4.1.13] But that’s for a future lesson.

So “and chickens’,” or “and of chickens” is hananēh, 

“and sheep’s” is lambēh

Hilp mis ina finþan.

hilpan 
to help

ina 
him, in the accusative case.

finþan 
to find.  We put finþan at the end of the sentence like in german, “Hilf mir ihn finden.”  Also as in german, we use the dative pronoun mis with the verb hilpan.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson on gothic grammar, and please: Remember to have your chupacabra spayed or neutered.