The Gothic language, rich in vocabulary and archaic in structure, has survived in the earliest substantial corpus of texts written in any Germanic language. The primary texts of Gothic were translations of the Greek New Testament, probably produced or overseen by the missionary Bishop Wulfila (or Ulfilas) in the mid-4th century A.D. The Gothic language provides an essential resource for exploring the historical development of all the Germanic languages from English to German to Icelandic and beyond. The focus of the course will be on learning to read and translate texts written in Gothic, while also covering in detail the background of the language, the language’s structure and vocabulary, the cultural achievements and history of the Goths, and the role that Gothic plays in our understanding of related Germanic languages through the lens of Germanic philology.
Prior familiarity with any language besides modern English is not expected or required. The coursework involves primarily reading secondary texts, preparing translation exercises and assignments, taking two written exams (a midterm and a final), and delivering one short oral presentation in the second half of the course on a linguistic or cultural topic; individual preceptors may vary this plan to reach learning outcomes. The overall aim of the course is to acquire a basic reading knowledge of the Gothic language and to begin to understand the full context of the Gothic language.
There will be two 1-hour lectures and two 1-hour weekly discussion sessions per week.
- Introduction to Gothic
- Historical Setting of Gothic
- Alphabet and Orthography
- Texts and Manuscripts
- Overview of Gothic Grammar
- Translation Basics
- Translation Practice
- Strong Verbs
- Weak Verbs
- Basic and Irregular Verbs
- Prepositions, Adverbs, and Conjunctions
- Word Formation
- Introduction to Germanic Philology
- Gothic in Germanic Philology
- Gothic Innovations
- Reconstructing Proto-Germanic
- Reconstructing Proto-Indo-European
- The Art of Etymology
- Gothic and Greek
- Goths in Literature
- The Future of Gothic
All required texts will be provided in class.
- Grammar of the Gothic Language, Joseph Wright (1910)
- An Introduction to the Gothic Language, William H. Bennett (1980)
- An Introduction to the Gothic Language, Thomas O. Lambdin (2005)
The Amazon links are provided for convenience only, and we encourage students to purchase texts wherever they wish.
This course has been offered in the following semesters.
|Spring 2021||Dr. Paul Peterson & Dr. Nelson Goering|