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Gothic for Goths Lesson 06: Raþjan

Gutiska Razda faúr Gutans: Raþjan (“Counting”)

It has occurred to me that before we go much further with new gothic lessons, it would behoove me to teach you how to count, especially since numbers are going to become particularly necessary in the next few lessons.

Now with most languages, just teaching you some numbers isn’t really enough to fill up a seven-to-nine minute video, but fortunately for you, gothic has a few tricks up its sleeve when it comes to some of the numbers.

First of all, the goths did not have arabic numbers like we use today.  They also didn’t use a numeral system like the romans.  Instead, they followed the greek model, as they tended to do with a lot of things, and greek, in turn, follows hebrew.  That is, the letters of the alphabet double as numerals.  However, in an effort to get some of the numbers to line up properly with the greek model, Wulfilas ended up adding two additional letters to the alphabet, which represent the numbers ninety and nine hundred.

So let’s get right to it.

áins, written as ans.
twái, written as baírkan.
þreis, written as giba.
fidwōr, written as dags.
fimf, written as aíƕs.
saíhs, written as azēts.
sibun, written as qaírþra.
ahtáu, written as hagl.
niun, written as þiuþ.
taíhun, written as eis.

And of course the numbers through ten aren’t going to get you too far in this world, so let’s go further.

áinlif, which is written as eis ans.
twalif, written as eis baírkan.

Then we continue by compounding numbers like we do in english.


And finally

twáitigjus, written as káuns.
þreistigjus, written lagus.
fidwōrtigjus, written manna.
fimftigjus, written náuþs.
saíhstigjus, written jēr.
sibuntēhund, written ūrus.
ahtáutēhund, written paírþra.
niuntēhund, which is written with its own letter.
taíhuntēhund, written as raida. This may also be called áinhund (one hundred).

twahunda, written saúwil.
þrijahunda, written teiws.
fidwōrhunda, written winja.
fimfhunda, written faíhu.
saíhshunda, written iggws.
sibunhunda, written ƕair.
ahtáuhunda, written ōþal.
niunhunda, which is written with its own letter.
Finally there is þūsundi, a thousand, which is a contraction of þūs, meaning big, and hund, meaning hundred.  In fact, our word “hundred” comes from the same word, hund, and the word red, meaning “count,” which in gothic is raþja, and the title of this lesson.

So let’s try it out.

Áins gáitsūgja.  One chupacabra.
Twái gutans.  Two goths.
Þreis mūstriggōs.  Three bats.
Fidwōr eimōkida.  Four emo kids.
Fimf gutaklubans.  Five goth clubs.
Saíhs leitilōns raidōs. Six small cars.
Sibun gafilha.  Seven funerals.
Ahtáu wulbōs. Eight wolves.
Niun riqōns nahts.  Nine dark nights.
Taíhun ƕaírneins.  Ten skulls.

Easy, right?  Well, yes, except for the beginning.  You see, the number one doubles as what we call the indefinite article, and as such, it changes based on case and gender.  And I can hear you german speakers out there saying, “So what?  German does too.”  Unfortuantely, though, Gothic doesn’t stop there.  The numbers two and three also change – sometimes radically – based on case and gender.  (And here you Icelanders can laugh, since gothic doesn’t inflect beyond three!)

So going back to lesson four, in which we discussed the various declensions of the goth, let’s continue with that example.

So in the nominative, if we have goths just sort of hanging around doing nominative sorts of things, we have guta (masculine singular) and gutans (masculine plural).

Áins guta gaggiþ in gutakluban. One goth guy is going into the goth club.
Twái gutans sōkjand gáitsūgjan seinana. Two goth guys are looking for their chupacabra.
Þreis gutans láikand. Three goth guys are frolicking.

But suppose the goths in question are female?

Áina gutō láikaiþ in gutaklubin. One goth girl is frolicking in the goth club.

Twōs gutōns hilpand twaim gutans gáitsūgjan izē finþan. The two goth girls help the two goth guys find their chupacabra.
Þreis gutōns riukand ūtana þamma gutaklubin. Three goth girls are smoking outside of the goth club.

(By the way, if you’re wondering why this is gutaklubin while the last example had gutakluban, it’s because this one is dative and the last is accusative. I’ll explain why at another time.)

With me so far?  That’s just the nominative masculine and feminine, though we did get a glimpse of the dative.  The dative is much simpler, and we’ll cover that quickly in a minute.

Finally, let’s deal with the nominative neuter. The neuter singular normally can either take no ending at all, or the ending –ata.  Of course, this doesn’t really work well with people, generally, but remember that we can use the neuter in the plural when there is more than one gender represented.  For the moment, let’s assume that the androgynous goth in question is indeed “in question.”

Áinata gutō andhruskaiþ.  A questionable goth is questioning.

Twa gutōna gawasjand sik miþ swartamma undarhama. Two goths (presumably of different genders) put on black underwear.

Þrija eimokida grētand in waíhstin.  Three emo kids are crying in the corner.

The dative masculine and neuter forms of áins are both áinamma, and the feminine form is áinai.  The dative of two in all genders is twaim, and three in all genders is þrim.  So you might say:

Ik hilpa áinamma gutin swartata áugagarwi finþan.  I’m helping a goth boy find black eyeliner.
Þu ist twaim gutam gutiza!  You’re gother than two goths put together!
Ni ist þrim gutam rūmis.  There isn’t room for three goths.

The accusative case is very similar to the nominative.  In the singular, the only difference is the additional of –ana to the end of the masculine.  For the dual, the feminine and neuter are the same, but the masculine form is twans, as in:

Ik saíƕa twans gutans. I see two goth guys.

Finally the number three remains the same in the neuter – þrija – but the masculine and feminine forms are both þrins, as in:

Hilp mis þrins gáitsūjans meinans finþan! 

To which the proper answer is:

Nē, ik ni wilja diwan hina dag! No, I’d rather not die today!

Finally there’s the genitive, which is a pain in the ass, so for the sake of time and boring you to death, I’ll save that for another day.  Here it is if you want to see it:

[slide of genitive highlighted]

I tried not to add too much new vocabulary to this lesson, but there are a couple of new terms I threw in there aside from the numbers themselves.

Ƕairnei. Skull.

Sōkjan. To seek, to look for, to search.

Seins. His, her, its, their.  This is a tricky word – a reflexive possessive – that we’ll have to talk about at another time.  The simplified version, though, is that you only use this possessive when the possessor is in the nominative case; otherwise the third person possessives are all in the genitive.

Izē.  Their, theirs.  This is the genitive possessive I just mentioned, since in the phrase “Twōs gutōns hilpand twaim gutans gáitsūgja izē finþan,” the chupacabra belongs to the two goth guys, who are in the dative, not the goth girls who are in the nominative.

Ūtana.  Outside (of).

Andhruskaiþ, third person singular present indicative of

Andhruskan. To question, to investigate.

Diwan. To die.

Hina dag. Today. (cf. hija naht)

That’s all for today, gothlings.  And remember:  There are only three kinds of people in this world.  The ones who can count, and the ones who can’t.