About the Gothic language
Gothic is the earliest extensively recorded Germanic language that has come down to us. Knowledge of it is derived primarily from the remains of a Bible translation made in the 4th century by the Visigothic bishop Wulfila or Ulfilas, although the surviving manuscripts are not originals but later copies thought to have been written in northern Italy during the period of Ostrogothic rule (first half of the 6th century). They include considerable portions of the New Testament and a minor part of the Old Testament (Nehemiah). Other remains are scarce and include fragments of a commentary on St. John's Gospel (the so-called Skeireins), a fragment of a calendar, two deeds containing some Gothic sentences, and a 10th-century manuscript which gives the Gothic alphabet, a few Gothic words with Latin translation, and some phonetic remarks with illustrative examples.
Anyone who is seriously interested in the history of Germanic languages should have at least some knowledge of Gothic: the language sheds light on the transition from Indo-European to the various Germanic languages and gives clear understanding of their structure in general. For a thorough discussion, we refer to our digital facsimile edition of Wilhelm Streitberg's Gotisches Elementarbuch (1920). Although a little dated in some aspects, notably Streitberg's reliance on Sievers' Intonationsforschung, it's still a very useful primer.
The standard bibliography is the Bibliographia Gotica, started by Fernand Mossé in 1950, continued by James Marchand, Ernst Ebbinghaus and now Christian Petersen. A selection is available online at David Landau's Database of Selected Books and Articles (edited by Petersen). WEMSK is also an interesting starting point.
Gothic on the Internet
Good overviews are Peter Tunstall's Gothic Links (including references to other Old Germanic languages) and Reimar Müller's Gotisch im WWW (in German). Here is a small selection:
- Codex Argenteus Online
- Digital facsimile of the Codex Argenteus and its editions at Uppsala University Library, official ‘home’ of the codex.
- The Codex Argenteus Online
- Digital version of the facsimile edition from 1927, the result of a joint project between Tampere University of Technology and Uppsala University Library. Features reproductions of all fluorescence and ultra-violet photographs of the manuscript as well as four text files with a literal rendering of the manuscript text (a welcome complement to Streitberg's critical edition, which tends to normalise). Digitised by David Landau.
- Database of the Gothic Language
- The place to be if you are interested in the Gothic manuscripts. David Landau, who maintains the site, has prepared a digitized text of the Codex Argenteus, as close to the original as possible. You will also find information on the Gothic alphabet, examples of how to read the manuscripts (with selected scannings from Codex Argenteus and Skeireins) and a database of books and articles, among others.
- Carefully edited editions of the various minor Gothic fragments, with comprehensive bibliographical references. Maintained by Christian T. Petersen, author of the latest supplements to the Bibliographia Gotica. His Skeireins Project presents the Skeireins based on Bennett's readings, along with several translations and a complete bibliography on this topic.
- Germanic Lexicon Project
- Large collection of resources provided by Sean Crist (with contributions by volunteers). The goal is to create comprehensive online coverage of the early Germanic lexicon. Includes scannings (TIFF/PNG images and evolving OCR-based text) of at least the following works related to Gothic: Grammar of the Gothic Language (Wright 1910), Ulfilas (Stamm, Heyne, and Wrede 1896), A Comparative Glossary of the Gothic Language (Balg 1887) and Gotische Grammatik (Braune 1912).
- The Gothic-List
- Mailing list,
devoted to the study and discussion of the historical East-Germanic people known as the Goths, Visigoths and Ostrogoths. This list is concerned with all aspects of that tribe: social, cultural, historical and linguistic.