Gothic declension

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Gothic is an inflected language, and as such its nouns, pronouns, and adjectives must be declined in order to serve a grammatical function. A set of declined forms of the same word pattern is called a declension. There are five grammatical cases in Gothic with a few traces of an old sixth instrumental case.

Grammatical cases[edit]

A complete declension consists of five grammatical cases.

Description of cases[edit]

  • The nominative case, which is used to express the subject of a statement. It is also used with copulative verbs.
  • The vocative case, which is used to address someone or something in direct speech. This case is indicated in English by intonation or punctuation, e.g. "Mary is going to the store" ("Mary" is nominative) compared to "Mary, are you going to the store?" or "Mary!" ("Mary" is vocative).
  • The accusative case, which expresses the direct object of a verb. In English, except for a small number of words which display a distinct accusative case (e.g., who > whom, I > me, he > him), the accusative and nominative cases are identical.
  • The genitive case, which expresses possession, measurement, or source. In English, the genitive case is represented analytically by the preposition of or by the enclitic "–'s", which itself developed from the genitive case. This –'s is related to the common Gothic "-s".
  • The dative case, which expresses the recipient of an action, the indirect object of a verb. In English, the prepositions to, from and for most commonly denote this case analytically.
  • The instrumental case, which is used to express the place in or on which, or the time at which, an action is performed. The instrumental case only survives in a few preposition forms in Gothic.

Order of cases[edit]

Gothic language grammars often follow the common NOM-ACC-GEN-DAT order used for the Germanic languages. VOC is usually attached to the same line as ACC as a combined VOC-ACC, but if not, it may be placed between NOM and ACC (as in Wright's "Grammar of the Gothic Language").

Short vs. long stems[edit]

An important distinction in many of the declension classes below is the difference between "short" and "long" stems. Frequently declension classes are divided into two subclasses, one for short-stemmed nouns and one for long-stemmed nouns.

A short stem contains:

  • Either a short vowel followed by at most a single consonant (consonants at the beginning of an ending do not count),
  • Or a long vowel or diphthong with no following consonant (other than possibly a consonant at the beginning of an ending),

A long stem is all other types of stems:

  • Either a long vowel or diphthong followed by at least a single consonant (not counting consonants at the beginning of an ending),
  • Or a short vowel followed by at least two consonants (same caveat concerning consonants at the beginning of an ending),
  • Or a word whose root (minus any prefixes and suffixes) is more than one syllable in length, e.g. ragineis "counsellor", with root ragin- and -eis being the long-stemmed -ja declension ending.

Strong declensions[edit]

The -a declension[edit]

This declension has as counterparts the second declension (us/um) of Latin, and the omicron declension (os/on) of Greek. It contains masculine and neuter nouns.

Case dags, dagōs
day m.
waúrd, waúrda
word n.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative dags –s dagōs –ōs waúrd waúrda –a
Accusative dag dagans –ans waúrd waúrda –a
Vocative dag
Genitive dagis –is dagē –ē waúrdis –is waúrdē –ē
Dative daga –a dagam –am waúrda –a waúrdam –am

A varied set of nouns have two stems, one occurring with endings that are null or begin with a consonant (the nominative, accusative and vocative singular) and another that occurs with endings beginning with a vowel (all but the previously listed forms).

One common situation leading to two-stem nouns is the automatic devoicing of voiced fricatives at (or near) the end of a word, e.g.:

Case hláifs, hláibōs
loaf, bread m.
háubiþ, háubida
head n.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative hláifs –s hláibōs –ōs háubiþ háubida –a
Accusative hláif hláibans –ans háubiþ háubida –a
Vocative hláif
Genitive hláibis –is hláibē –ē háubidis –is háubidē –ē
Dative hláiba –a hláibam –am háubida –a háubidam –am

Other nouns with two stems are:

  • masculine þius "servant" (accusative singular þiu but genitive singular þiwis, nominative plural þiwōs, etc.)
  • neuter kniu "knee" (accusative singular kniu but genitive singular kniwis, nominative plural kniwa, etc.);
  • neuter triu "tree" (forms parallel to kniu).

The -ja declension[edit]

This declension is really just the -a declension with a j immediately preceding. However, due to various sound laws, a new declension subcategory has arisen that does not exactly follow the form of the plain -a declension. Similar developments occurred in Greek and the Slavic languages, among others.

This declension has as counterparts the second declension nouns in (-ius/-ium) of Latin. The counterparts in Greek are some second declension nouns in (-ios/-ion), as well as many that show effects of palatalization (e.g., -zdos < *-gyos or *-dyos; -llos < *-lyos; -ptos < -*pyos; -ssos or -ttos < -*tyos; -airos/-eiros/-oiros < *-aryos/-eryos/-oryos; -ainos/-einos/-oinos < *-anyos/enyos/onyos; etc., and similarly for neuter nouns in -ion or *-yon). It contains masculine and neuter nouns.

Case harjis, harjōs
army m.
haírdeis, haírdjōs
herdsman m.
kuni, kunja
race n.
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative harjis –jis harjōs –jōs haírdeis –eis haírdjōs –jōs kuni -i kunja –ja
Accusative hari -i harjans –jans haírdi -i haírdjans –jans kuni -i kunja –ja
Vocative hari -i haírdi -i
Genitive harjis –jis harjē –jē haírdeis –eis haírdjē –jē kunjis –jis kunjē –jē
Dative harja –ja harjam –jam haírdja –ja haírdjam –jam kunja –ja kunjam –jam

The masculine nouns have a distinction between short- and long-stemmed nouns, as described above. harjis "army" is a prototypical short-stem noun, and haírdeis is a prototypical long-stem noun. Neuters, however, have merged the two types in favor of the short-stem endings. Properly, there should be a distinction in the genitive singular between short-stem -jis and long-stem -eis, as for the masculine nouns, but -jis has mostly taken over. For a few nouns, however, both forms can be used, as in genitive andbahteis or andbahtjis "of service", gawaírþeis or gawaírþjis "of peace", from neuter nouns andbahti "service" and gawaírþi "peace", respectively.

Note that the neuters in this declension can be said to follow the two-stem pattern (e.g. kuni vs. kunj-) described above for a-stems. A few neuters in this declension follow the same overall pattern but have additional vowel changes between the stems:

  • gawi "region, district" (genitive gáujis)
  • hawi "hay" (genitive háujis)
  • taui "deed, work" (genitive tōjis)

The -ō declension[edit]

This declension counterparts the first declension (a) of Latin, and the alpha declension (a/as) of Greek. It contains feminine nouns.

Case giba, gibōs
gift f.
Singular Plural
Nominative giba –a gibōs –ōs
Accusative giba –a gibōs –ōs
Genitive gibōs –ōs gibō –ō
Dative gibái –ái gibōm –ōm

The -jō declension[edit]

Nouns ending in -jō that have a short stem (see discussion above) behave identically to normal stems, e.g. brakja "strife", sibja "relationship", sunja "truth". However, long-stemmed nouns in -jō have a different nominative singular ending in -i:

Case bandi, bandjōs
band f.
Singular Plural
Nominative bandi –i bandjōs –jōs
Accusative bandja –ja bandjōs –jōs
Genitive bandjōs –jōs bandjō –jō
Dative bandjái –jái bandjōm –jōm

Note that in this particular case the "long-stem" declension includes nouns with a long vowel or diphthong and no following consonant. In addition, these nouns have a different stem in the nominative singular from all other cases:

  • mawi (genitive máujōs) "maiden"
  • þiwi (genitive þiujōs) "maidservant"

The -i declension[edit]

This declension counterparts the vowel stems of the third declension (is) of Latin, and the third declension of Greek. It contains masculine and feminine nouns. Note that masculine nouns have become identical to -a stem nouns in the singular, while feminine nouns have preserved the original declension.

Case gasts, gastis
stranger, guest m.
qēns, qēneis
wife f.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative gasts –s gasteis –eis qēns –s qēneis –eis
Acc. gast gastins –ins qēn qēnins –ins
Vocative gast
Gen. gastis –is gastē –ē qēnáis –áis qēnē –ē
Dative gasta –a gastim –im qēnái –ái qēnim –im

Similar to the situation with -a stems, some nouns have a different stem in the nominative and accusative singular than in other cases:

  • drus (acc. drus, gen. drusis) "fall", masc.
  • baúr (acc. baúr, gen. baúris) "child, son", masc.
  • náus (acc. náu, gen. nawis) "corpse", masc.
  • brūþfaþs (gen. brūþfadis) "bridegroom", masc.; similarly sáuþs "sacrifice", staþs "place"
  • usstass (acc. usstass, gen. usstassáis) "resurrection", fem.
  • arbáiþs (gen. arbáidáis) "labor", fem.; similarly dēþs "deed", fahēþs "joy"

Some additional complications:

  • háims "village" (fem.) is declined like a feminine -i stem in the singular, but like an -ō stem in the plural.
  • Feminine abstract -i stems in -eins are declined partly like -ō stems in the plural:
Case láiseins, láiseinōs
doctrine f.
Singular Plural
Nominative láiseins –s láiseinōs –ōs
Accusative láisein láiseinins –ins
Genitive láiseináis –áis láiseinō –ō
Dative láiseinái –ái láiseinim –im

The -u declension[edit]

This declension counterparts the fourth declension (us) of Latin. It contains nouns of all genders. faíhu "property" is the only well-attested neuter -u stem, and lacks a plural. Other remnants are the invariant neuter adjective filu "much" (with an adverbial genitive filáus), and gáiru "goad", occurring once in a gloss. leiþu "cider, fruit wine" is attested only in the accusative singular and without any context to infer its gender, so it may have been masculine or neuter.

Case sunus, sunjus
son m.
faíhu
property n.
Singular Plural Singular
Nominative sunus –us sunjus –jus faíhu –u
Accusative sunu –u sununs –uns faíhu –u
Vocative sunu –u
Genitive sunáus –áus suniwē –iwē faíháus –áus
Dative sunáu –áu sunum –um faíháu –áu

The weak declension, n-stems[edit]

The an, on and in declensions constitute a Germanic word derivation, which is also used for adjectives in the weak form marking definiteness. The declensions are unique for Germanic languages, and so have no counterparts in Latin or Greek.

The -an declension[edit]

Masculines and neuters belong to this declension.

Case guma, gumans
man m.
haírtō, haírtōna
heart n.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative guma –a gumans –ans haírtō –ō haírtōna –ōna
Accusative guman –an gumans –ans haírtō –ō haírtōna –ōna
Genitive gumins –ins gumanē –anē haírtins –ins haírtanē –anē
Dative gumin –in gumam –am haírtin –in haírtam –am

There are a few neuter irregularities:

Case watō, watna
water n.
namō, namna
name n.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative watō watna –na namō namna –na
Accusative watō watna –na namō namna –na
Vocative watō namō
Genitive watins –ins watnē –nē namins –ins namnē –nē
Dative watin –in watnam –nam namin –in namnam –nam

The -ōn declension[edit]

This declension is the feminine counterpart of the an declension.

Case tuggō¹, tuggōns
tongue f.
Singular Plural
Nominative tuggō –ō tuggōns –ōns
Accusative tuggōn –ōn tuggōns –ōns
Genitive tuggōns –ōns tuggōnō –ōnō
Dative tuggōn –ōn tuggōm –ōm

¹: the first g in tuggō is pronounced [ŋ], the Gothic language borrowed the practice to denote [ŋ] by gg and [ŋk] by gk from Koine Greek in which the New Testament was originally written.

The -ein declension[edit]

This declension contains abstract feminines only.

Case frōdei, frōdeins
wisdom f.
Singular Plural
Nominative frōdei –ei frōdeins –eins
Accusative frōdein –ein frōdeins –eins
Genitive frōdeins –eins frōdeinō –einō
Dative frōdein –ein frōdeim –eim

Minor declensions[edit]

The -r declension[edit]

A few family nouns inherited from Proto-Indo-European have a very archaic declension. Feminines and masculines have identical forms.

Case swistar, swistrjus
sister f.
Singular Plural
Nominative swistar –ar swistrjus –rjus
Accusative swistar –ar swistruns –runs
Genitive swistrs –rs swistrē –rē
Dative swistr –r swistrum –rum

Inflected thus are also brōþar m., brother, fadar m., father, daúhtar f., daughter.

The -nd declension[edit]

These nouns are old present participles, corresponding to nouns in -nt in Latin and Greek.

Case frijōnds, frijōnds
friend m.
Singular Plural
Nominative frijōnds –s frijōnds –s
Accusative frijōnd frijōnds –s
Genitive frijōndis –is frijōndē –ē
Dative frijōnd frijōndam –am

The root nouns[edit]

These nouns correspond to the consonant declensions in Latin and Greek (in both cases, part of the third declension). Only traces of masculines are extant, but feminines are fairly well attested.

Case reiks, reiks
ruler m.
baúrgs, baúrgs
city f.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative reiks –s reiks –s baúrgs –s baúrgs –s
Acc. reik reiks –s baúrg baúrgs –s
Gen. reikis –is, –s reikē –ē baúrgs –s baúrgē –ē
Dative reik reikam –am, um baúrg baúrgim –im

The only masculine nouns extant are mēnōþs "month" (gen. sg. mēnōþs or mēnōþis?, dat. pl. mēnōþum); reiks "ruler" (gen. sg. reikis, dat. pl. reikam); and weitwōds "witness" (gen. sg., dat. pl. not attested).

There are nine feminine nouns attested. Note the following irregularities:

  • mitaþs "measure" (gen. sg. mitads)
  • nahts "night" (dat. pl. nahtam, formed after dat. pl. dagam "days")
  • dulþs "feast" and waíhts "thing", also declined as i-stems.

The other five feminine nouns are alhs "temple", baúrgs "city", brusts "breast", miluks "milk", and spaúrds "racecourse".

Adjectives[edit]

Adjectives in Gothic, as in the other Germanic languages, can be declined according to two different paradigms, commonly called "strong" and "weak". This represents a significant innovation in Germanic, although a similar development has taken place in the Baltic and Slavic languages.

Adjectives in Proto-Indo-European -- as is still the case in Latin, Greek, and most other daughters—are declined in exactly the same way as nouns. Germanic "strong" adjectives, however, take many of their endings from the declension of pronouns, while "weak" adjectives take the endings of -n stem nouns, regardless of the underlying stem class of the adjective.

In general, weak adjectival endings are used when the adjective is accompanied by a definite article, and strong endings are used in other situations. However, weak endings are occasionally used in the absence of a definite article, and cause the associated noun to have the same semantics as if a definite article were present. Weak adjectives are also used when the associated noun is in the vocative case. In addition, some adjectives are always declined weak or strong, regardless of any accompanying articles.

The strong -a declension[edit]

Case blinds, blind/blindata, blinda
blind
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative blinds –s blind, blindata –, –ata blinda –a blindái –ái blinda –a blindōs –ōs
Accusative blindana -ana blind, blindata –, –ata blinda –a blindans -ans blinda –a blindōs –ōs
Genitive blindis –is blindis –is blindáizōs –áizōs blindáizē –áizē blindáizē –áizē blindáizō –áizō
Dative blindamma –amma blindamma –amma blindái –ái blindáim –áim blindáim –áim blindáim –áim

The strong -ja declension[edit]

Similar to the situation with nouns, the ja-stem adjectives are divided into two subtypes, depending on whether the stem is short or long.

Short-stemmed -ja declension[edit]

Case midjis, midi/midjata, midja
middle
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative midjis –jis midi, midjata –i, –jata midja –ja midjái –jái midja –ja midjōs –jōs
Accusative midjana -ana midi, midjata –i, –jata midja –ja midjans -ans midja –ja midjōs –jōs
Genitive midjis –jis midjis –jis midjáizōs –jáizōs midjáizē –jáizē midjáizē –jáizē midjáizō –jáizō
Dative midjamma –jamma midjamma –jamma midjái –jái midjáim –jáim midjáim –jáim midjáim –jáim

This declension has only the following extant adjectives: aljis "other", freis "free" (stem frij-, see below), fullatōjis "perfect", gawiljis "willing", midjis "middle", niujis "new", sunjis "true", ubiltōjis "evil-doing", and unsibjis "lawless". Notes about the above adjectives:

  • freis "free"has the stem frij- outside of the nominative masculine singular and presumably also the short-form nominative and accusative neuter singular and genitive masculine and neuter singular, although apparently it is unattested in those forms.
  • fullatōjis "perfect" and ubiltōjis "evil-doing" should end in –taui in the short-form nominative and accusative neuter singular, although apparently it is unattested in those forms.
  • Similarly, niujis "new" should have niwi as its short-form nominative and accusative neuter singular, although apparently it is unattested in those forms.

Long-stemmed –ja declension[edit]

Case wilþeis, wilþi/wilþjata, wilþi
wild
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative wilþeis –eis wilþi, wilþjata –i, –jata wilþi –i wilþjái –jái wilþja –ja wilþjōs –jōs
Accusative wilþjana -ana wilþi, wilþjata –i, –jata wilþja –ja wilþjans -ans wilþja –ja wilþjōs –jōs
Genitive wilþeis –eis wilþeis (or -jis?) –eis (–jis?) wilþjáizōs –jáizōs wilþjáizē –jáizē wilþjáizē –jáizē wilþjáizō –jáizō
Dative wilþjamma –jamma wilþjamma –jamma wilþjái –jái wilþjáim –jáim wilþjáim –jáim wilþjáim –jáim

This declension is built out of long-stemmed -ja masculine and neuter nouns and long-stemmed -jō feminine nouns.

This declension has only five extant adjectives: aírzeis "astray", alþeis "old", faírneis "old", wilþeis "wild", and wōþeis "sweet". None of these adjectives are extent in any genitive singular forms, and hence the forms given above are reconstructions based on the behavior of the corresponding nouns. The hesitation between wilþeis or wilþjis as the neuter genitive singular form stems from the following facts:

  • The –eis ending is the phonologically expected ending, and masculines genitive singulars use this ending.
  • Neuter genitive singulars of long-stem nouns, on the other hand, generally use –jis, by analogy with short-stem neuter nouns.
  • However, some long-stem neuter nouns use both the (phonologically regular) –eis and the (analogically replaced) –jis, as in genitive andbahteis or andbahtjis "of service", gawaírþeis or gawaírþjis "of peace".
  • Given that masculine and neuter adjectives have the same genitive and dative forms in all other types of adjectives, the influence of the masculine on the neuter is expected to be very strong. This is why the most likely form is assumed to be the one in –eis, despite the impact of the corresponding neuter nouns.

The strong -i declension[edit]

Adjectives of this class have replaced most forms with forms taken from the -ja declension. Only the nominative singular, the neuter accusative singular and the masculine and neuter genitive singular have genuine -i stem forms.

Case hráins, hráin, hráins
clean
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative hráins –s hráin hráins –s hráinjái –jái hráinja –ja hráinjōs –jōs
Accusative hráinjana -ana hráin hráinja –ja hráinjans -ans hráinja –ja hráinjōs –jōs
Genitive hráinis –is hráinis –is *hráinjáizōs *–jáizōs hráinjáizē –jáizē hráinjáizē –jáizē hráinjáizō –jáizō
Dative hráinjamma –jamma hráinjamma –jamma hráinjái –jái hráinjáim –jáim hráinjáim –jáim hráinjáim –jáim

The following adjectives of this type are extant (along with a few others): analáugns "hidden", anasiuns "visible", andanēms "pleasant", áuþs "desert", brūks "useful", gafáurs "well-behaved", gamáins "common", hráins "clean", sēls "kind", skáuns "beautiful", skeirs "clear", suts (?sūts) "sweet".

The strong -u declension[edit]

Similarly to -i stem adjectives, -u stem adjectives have replaced most forms with those taken from the -ja declension.

Case hardus, hardu/hardjata, hardus
hard
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative hardus –us hardu, hardjata –u, –jata hardus –us hardjái –jái *hardja *–ja hardjōs –jōs
Accusative hardjana -ana hardu, hardjata –u, –jata hardja –ja hardjans -ans *hardja *–ja hardjōs –jōs
Genitive *hardáus *–áus *hardáus *–áus *hardjáizōs *–jáizōs hardjáizē –jáizē hardjáizē –jáizē hardjáizō –jáizō
Dative *hardjamma *–jamma *hardjamma *–jamma *hardjái *–jái hardjáim –jáim hardjáim –jáim hardjáim –jáim

The following adjectives of this type are extant: aggwus "narrow", aglus "difficult", hardus "hard", hnasqus "soft", kaúrus "heavy", manwus "ready", qaírrus "gentle", seiþus "late", tulgus "steadfast", twalibwintrus "twelve years old", þaúrsus "withered", þlaqus "soft".

The weak declension[edit]

Weak adjectival endings are taken from the corresponding endings of masculine, feminine and neuter n-stems, e.g. masculine guma "man", feminine tuggō "tongue", neuter haírtō "heart". All adjectives have the same endings, regardless of the underlying stem class of the adjective. The only difference is that ja-stems, i-stems and u-stems have a -j- at the end of the stem, e.g. masculine singular nominative weak niuja "new", wilþja "wild", hráinja "clean", hardja "hard", corresponding to the strong forms niujis (short ja-stem), wilþeis (long ja-stem), hráins (i-stem), hardus (u-stem).

Case blinda, blindō, blindō
blind
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative blinda –a blindō –ō blindō –ō blindans –ái blindōna –ōna blindōns –ōns
Accusative blindan -an blindō –ō blindōn –ōn blindans -ans blindōna –ōna blindōns –ōns
Genitive blindins –ins blindins –ins blindōns –ōns blindanē –anē blindanē –anē blindōnō –ōnō
Dative blindin –in blindin –in blindōn –ōn blindam –am blindam –am blindōm –ōm

Pronouns[edit]

Personal pronouns[edit]

Case First person
Singular Dual Plural
Nominative ik wit weis
Accusative mik ugkis unsis
Genitive meina ugkara unsara
Dative mis ugkis unsis
Case Second person
Singular Dual Plural
Nominative þu jut jus
Accusative þuk igqis izwis
Genitive þeina igqara izwara
Dative þus igqis izwis
Case Third person
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative is ita si eis ija ijōs
Accusative ina ita ija ins ija ijōs
Genitive is is izōs izē izē izō
Dative imma imma izái im im im

Reflexive pronouns[edit]

Nominative
Accusative sik
Genitive seina
Dative sis

Possessive pronouns[edit]

Case First person
Singular Dual Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative meins mein(ata) meina ugkar ugkar ugkara unsar unsar unsara
Accusative meinana mein(ata) meina ugkarana ugkar ugkara unsarana unsar unsara
Genitive meinis meinis meináizōs ugkaris ugkaris ugkaráizōs unsaris unsaris unsaráizōs
Dative meinamma meinamma meinái ugkaramma ugkaramma ugkarái unsaramma unsaramma unsarái
Case Second person
Singular Dual Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative þeins þein(ata) þeina igqar igqar igqara izwar izwar izwara
Accusative þeinana þein(ata) þeina igqarana igqar igqara izwarana izwar izwara
Genitive þeinis þeinis þeináizōs igqaris igqaris igqaráizōs izwaris izwaris izwaráizōs
Dative þeinamma þeinamma þeinái igqaramma igqaramma igqarái izwaramma izwaramma izwarái
Case Third person reflexive
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative
Accusative seinana sein(ata) seina seinans seina seinōs
Genitive seinis seinis seináizōs seináizē seináizē seináizō
Dative seinamma seinamma seinái seináim seináim seináim

Demonstrative pronouns[edit]

Case Simple Demonstrative: This/That, The
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative sa þata þái þō þōs
Accusative þana þata þō þans þō þōs
Genitive þis þis þizōs þizē þizē þizō
Dative þamma þamma þizái þáim þáim þáim
Case Compound Demonstrative: This/That
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative sah þatuh sōh þáih þōh þōzuh
Accusative þanuh þatuh þōh þanzuh þōh þōzuh
Genitive þizuh þizuh þizōzuh þizēh þizēh þizōh
Dative þammuh þammuh þizáih þáimuh þáimuh þáimuh

Relative pronouns[edit]

Case Relative pronoun: That/Who/Which
Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative saei, izei, izē þatei sōei, sei þáiei, izei, izē þōei þōzei
Accusative þanei þatei þōei þanzei þōei þōzei
Genitive þizei þizei þizōzei þizēei þizēei *þizōei
Dative þammei þammei þizáiei þáimei þáimei þáimei

First and second person relative pronouns also exist, formed by compounding -ei to the normal first and second person pronouns, with final -s becoming -z. The following forms are extant: first person singular nominative ikei; second person singular nominative þuei, accusative þukei, dative þuzei; second person plural nominative juzei, dative izwizei.

Interrogative pronouns[edit]

Case Interrogative: Who/What
Singular
Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative ƕas ƕa ƕō
Accusative ƕana ƕa ƕō
Genitive ƕis ƕis *ƕizōs
Dative ƕamma ƕamma ƕizái

The plural form *ƕans (masculine accusative) occurs once as part of the indefinite pronoun ƕanzuh "each, every"; see below.

The following additional pronouns exist:

  • ƕaþar "which of two" (extant only in the nominative singular masculine and neuter);
  • ƕarjis "which (of many)", declined as a short-stem -ja stem except that only the longer neuter singular form ƕarjata exists;
  • ƕileiks "what sort of", declined as an -a stem;
  • ƕēláuþs (stem ƕēláud-) "how great", declined as an -a stem;
  • swaleiks "such", declined as an -a stem;
  • swaláuþs (stem swaláud-) "so great", declined as an -a stem.

Indefinite pronouns[edit]

Three indefinite pronouns are formed by appending -uh "and" to the interrogative pronouns ƕas "who, what", ƕarjis "which (of many)", and ƕaþar "which of two"; compare the analogously formed Latin pronoun quisque "each", formed from quis "who" and -que "and". Both ƕazuh and ƕarjizuh mean "each, every"; *ƕaþaruh means "each of two".

Before -uh, -s appears in the original form of -z-, and after long vowels and stressed short vowels, the u of -uh is elided. Ustressed short vowels are dropped before -uh in the declension of ƕazuh; however, in the other two pronouns, long vowels appear in place of unstressed short vowels, preserving an older state of affairs, and the u of -uh is elided. Declension tables of ƕazuh and ƕarjizuh are presented below. Of *ƕaþaruh, only a single form is extant, the dative singular *ƕaþarammēh, occurring in the compound form áinƕaþarammēh "to each one of two".

The plural form ƕanzuh (masculine accusative) occurs once, in the expression insandida ins twans ƕanzuh "he sent them forth two and two".

Case Indefinite #1: Each/Every
Singular
Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative ƕazuh ƕah ƕōh
Accusative ƕanuh ƕah ƕōh
Genitive ƕizuh ƕizuh ƕizōzuh
Dative ƕammuh ƕammuh ƕizáih
Case Indefinite #2: Each/Every
Singular
Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative ƕarjizuh ƕarjatōh ƕarjōh
Accusative ƕarjanōh ƕarjatōh ƕarjōh
Genitive ƕarjizuh ƕarjizuh ƕarjizōzuh
Dative ƕarjammēh ƕarjammēh ƕarjáih

Additional pronominal forms are

  • áinƕarjizuh "every one"
  • ƕazuh saei, saƕazuh saei, saƕazuh izei, all meaning "whoever" and involving the relative pronoun saei/izei. The corresponding neuter form is þataƕah þei "whatever", extant only in the accusative singular.
  • þisƕazuh saei "whoever/whatever", formed from indeclinable þis "of this" and ƕazuh saei, extant in the following forms:
Case þisƕazuh saei "Whoever/Whatever"
Singular
Masculine Neuter
Nominative þisƕazuh saei þisƕah þei, þisƕah þatei
Accusative þisƕanōh saei þisƕah þei, þisƕah þatei
Genitive  ? þisƕizuh þei
Dative þisƕammēh saei þisƕammēh þei
  • sums "some, a certain", declined as an -a stem with an associated genitive plural object.
  • sums ... sums "the one ... the other", in plural "some ... and others". -uh is generally attached to the second form and sometimes the first, as in nominative plural sumái(h) ... sumáih.
  • Negative pronouns ni ƕashun, ni mannahun, ni áinshun, all meaning "no one, no, none, nothing"; compare the analogously formed Sanskrit pronoun ná káś caná "no one, none", lit. "not who and not". ni ƕashun occurs only in the nominative masculine singular. ni mannahun (always masculine) and ni áinshun are declined as follows:
Case ni mannahun "No one"
Singular
Masculine
Nominative ni mannahun
Accusative ni mannanhun
Genitive ni manshun
Dative ni mannhun
Case ni áinshun "No one, no, none, nothing"
Singular
Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative ni áinshun ni áinhun ni áinōhun
Accusative ni áinnōhun, ni áinōhun ni áinhun ni áinōhun
Genitive ni áinishun ni áinishun *ni áináizōshun
Dative ni áinummēhun ni áinummēhun ni áináihun
  • Plain ƕas can be used indefinitely to mean "anyone, anything".
  • Plain áins can be used indefinitely to mean "one, a certain one".

Numbers[edit]

Cardinals[edit]

áins "one" is always strong and is declined as a strong -a stem. Plural forms meaning "only, alone" also occur.

Case twái/twa/twōs
two
Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative twái twa twōs
Accusative twans twa twōs
Genitive twaddjē twaddjē  ?
Dative twáim twáim twáim
Case þreis/þrija/þreis
three
Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative þreis þrija þreis
Accusative þrins þrija þrins
Genitive þrijē þrijē  ?
Dative þrim þrim  ?

Higher numbers from fidwōr "four" through niuntaíhun "nineteen" are normally undeclined, but can be declined as -i stems, e.g. dative fidwōrim, genitive *fidwōrē.

Decades twái tigjus "twenty" through saíhs tigjus "sixty" have tigjus declined as a plural -u stem, e.g.

þreis tigjus
thirty
Nominative þreis tigjus
Accusative þrins tiguns
Genitive þrijē tigiwē
Dative þrim tigum

Decades sibuntēhund "seventy", ahtáutēhund "eighty", niuntēhund "ninety" and taíhuntēhund/taíhuntaíhund "one hundred" are normally undeclined, but genitive niuntēhundis "of ninety" occurs.

Multiples of "hundred" decline hund "hundred" as a neuter plural -a stem, with the units digit agreeing accordingly, e.g. nominative twa hunda, genitive twáim hundam "two hundred".

Multiples of "thousand" decline þūsundi "thousand" as a feminine plural -jōstem, with the units digit agreeing accordingly, e.g. nominative twōs þūsundjōs, dative *twáim þūsundjōm "two thousand".

Numbers below 20 behave as adjectives, whereas those starting at 20 behave as nouns and govern the genitive case of an associated object, e.g. dagē fidwōr tiguns "for forty days", fimf þūsundjōs waírē "five thousand men", miþ twáim tigum þūsundjō mannē "with twenty thousand men".

Ordinals[edit]

The extant numerals are fruma or frumists "first", anþar "second", þridja "third", fimfta "fifth", saíhsta "sixth", ahtuda "eighth", niunda "ninth", taíhunda "tenth", and fimftataíhunda "fifteenth". They are declined as follows:

  • fruma is declined weak like blinda "blind" except that the feminine is declined according to the ei-stems like managei "multitude", e.g. feminine nominative frumei.
  • frumists is declined strong, like blinds "blind".
  • anþar has nominative masculine and neuter anþar (no -ata form exists), and otherwise is declined strong, like blinds "blind".
  • Other ordinals are declined weak like blinda "blind".

Other numerals[edit]

"Both" is bái or bajōþs, of which the following forms are extant:

Case twái/twa/twōs
two
Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative bái, bajōþs ba  ?
Accusative bans ba  ?
Genitive  ?  ?  ?
Dative báim, bajōþum báim báim

The extant forms of bái match the corresponding forms of twái "two", and evidence from other Germanic languages, e.g. Old English, indicates that all forms are constructed in this fashion.

Distributive numerals answer the question "how many at a time?". The isolated form tweihnái "two each" exists, declined as a plural strong adjective. Otherwise, distributive numerals are expressed using prepositional phrases, e.g. bi twans aíþþáu máist þrins "by twos or at most by threes"; ana ƕarjanōh fimftiguns "by fifties in each (company)"; insandida ins twans ƕanzuh "he sent them forth two and two".

Multiplicative numerals answer the question "how many times more?" and are formed by adding the adjectival stem -falþs to the stem of the corresponding cardinal. Extant are áinfalþs "onefold, simple"; fidurfalþs "fourfold" (note, not *fidwōrfalþs); taíhuntaíhundfalþs "hundredfold"; managfalþs "manifold".

Numeral adverbs answer the question "how often?" or "how many times?". They are formed by combining the cardinal or ordinal with the noun *sinþs "time" (lit. "a going"), and placing the result in the dative case: áinamma sinþa "once"; anþaramma sinþa "a second time"; twáim sinþam "twice"; þrim sinþam "thrice"; fimf sinþam "five times"; sibun sinþam "seven times". Compare Old English ǣne sīða "once", fīf sīða "five times".

References[edit]

  • Bennett, William Holmes (1980). An Introduction to the Gothic Language. New York: Modern Language Association of America. 
  • Wright, Joseph (1910). Grammar of the Gothic Language. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 

See also[edit]