Lesson 8

Strong nouns: wa-stems

These are a small class, not very strongly distinguished from the normal a-stems except by a tendency for the w to form a diphthong ending in u with a preceding vowel; when this occurs, the endings are:
Masculine Neuter
N -us -wos -u -wa
A -u -wans -u -wa
G -wis -we -wis -we
D -wa -wam -wa -wam

Examples: sa thius: the servant” (cf. Old English theow; the Gothic feminine is thiwi)
N sa thius thai thiwos
A thana thiu thans thiwans
G this thiwis thize thiwe
D thamma thiwa thaim thiwam

thata triu: the wood (cf. “tree”)
N thata triu tho triwa
A thata triu tho triwa
G this triwis thize triwe
D thamma triwa thaim triwam

thata kniu: “the knee” is declined in the same way as triu. Other nouns in these classes end in -w and are declined just like the normal a-stems:

thata fraiw: the seed
thata gaidw: the want, the lack
thata hlaiw: the grave
thata lew: the occasion
sa snaiws: the snow
thata waurstw: the work

There are also -wo stems, but they are not declined any differently from the normal o-stems; some are:

so fijathwa: the hatred
so frijathwa: the love
so triggwa: the covenant
so bandwa: the sign, the token
so nidwa: the rust

wa-stem adjectives were probably declined in the same manner as strong a-stem adjectives; the change of w to u probably occurred, but isn’t attested in the existing Gothic texts.

*faus, fau, fawa: little, few (only plural forms known)
lasiws, lasiw, lasiwa: weak, feeble
*qius, qiu, qiwa: alive, living (only plural forms known) (cf. “quick”)
triggws, triggw, triggwa: true, faithful
*usskaus, usskau, usskawa: vigilant (only plural forms known)

Strong i-stem nouns

There were masculine and feminine i-stem nouns, but no neuters. The masculines declined identically to the strong a-stems except in the Nominative, Accusative, and Dative plural; the feminine i-stem is identical to the masculine i-stem except in the Genitive and Dative singular.

Masculine i-stem endings:
N -s -eis
A zero -ins
G -is -e
D -a -im

Note that i substitutes for a in the accusative and dative plurals (-ans v. -ins; -am v. -im).

Example: sa saggws: the song
N sa saggws thai saggweis
A thana saggw thans saggwins
G this saggwis thize saggwe
D thamma saggwa thaim saggwim

Other masculine i-stems

sa arms: the arm
sa balgs: the wineskin (cf. “bellows”)
sa barms: the bosom, the lap
sa baur: the child, the son
sa gards: the house
sa gasts: the guest
sa hups: the hip
sa mats: the meat
sa saggws: the song
sa saiws: the sea
sa slahs: the stroke, the stripe (e.g. of stick or whip) (cf. slahan “to strike”)
sa staths: the place (plural thai stadeis; cf. “stead”)
sa striks: the stroke, the line (e.g. of pen)
sa thlauhs: the flight (cf. thliuhan “to flee”)

Feminine i-stem endings
N -s -eis
A zero -ins
G -ais -e
D -ai -im

Example: so magaths: the maid
N so magaths thos magatheis
A tho magath thos magathins
G thizos magathais thizo magathe
D thizai magathai thaim magathim

Some other i-stem feminines:

so arbaiths (pl. thos arbaideis): the labor (cf. German “Arbeit”)
so dails: the portion (cf. “dole” and “deal”, German “Teil”)
so deths: the deed (pl. thos dedeis)
so fadreins: the family (cf. “father”)
so gabaurths: the birth (cf. bairan “to bear”)
so gakusts: the test (cf. kiusan “to test”)
so gaqumths: the assembly (cf. qiman “to come”)
so gaskafts: the creation (that which is “shaped”)
so magaths: the maid
so mahts: the power, the might (cf. magan “to be able”)
so nauths: the need
so qens: the woman (cf. “queen”)
so rohsns: the hall
so sauhts: the sickness (cf. siukan “to be sick”)
so siuns: the sight (cf. saihwan “to see”)
so slauhts: the slaughter (cf. slahan “to strike”, afslahan “to kill”)
so sokns: the search (cf. “seek”, “sought”)
so taikns: the token
so thaurfts: the need (cf. thaurban “to need”, tharba “beggar”)
so urrists: the resurrection (“rising up”, us “out, up” + ris-; cf. “rise”)
so waurts: the root (cf. -wort in plant names, e.g. bloodwort, St. John’s-wort)

so haims: the village (cf. “home”) has an unusual declension: the plural is like the a-stems, but the singular like the i-stems.
N so haims thos haimos
A tho haim thos haimos
G thizos haimais thizo haimo
D thizai haimai thaim haimom
The Passive:

Unlike other Germanic languages, but like Latin or Greek, Gothic has a passive voice indicated by endings on the verb. Happily, it is quite simple, having only one tense (Present) and only three distinct forms. The indicative endings are:
Singular Plural
1st person -ada -anda
2nd person -aza -anda
3rd person -ada -anda

No distinctive dual forms are known. Examples:
ik gibada “I am given” weis gibanda “we are given”
thu gibaza “you are given” jus gibanda “you are given”
ita gibada “it is given” ija gibanda “they are given”
Reflexive Pronoun

We already had the reflexive possessive adjective, sein-. There is also a reflexive pronoun si- which like sein- has no nominative case. Its forms are just like those of ik, except that they begin with s-:
A sik “himself, herself, itself, themselves”
G seina “his own, her own, its own, their own”
D sis “to himself, to herself, to itself, to themselves”

When it has a plural reference, si- is often used with misso “each to other, reciprocally”: Eis qethun sis misso “They spoke to each other” or “They spoke among themselves.”

The non-nominative forms of the first and second person pronouns can also be used with reflexive meaning: Ik skof mik “I shaved myself”.
Present Participles

The present participle is formed from the present stem plus the ending -and. It is declined just like the weak adjectives, except that the masculine nominative singular most often ends in -s rather than -a, and the feminine is declined like the weak feminine nouns ending in -ei rather than -o. Consequently, the masculine, neuter, and feminine present participles end in -s, -o, and -ei.

Examples: qithands, qithando, qithandei “speaking”
N qithands qithandans
A qithandan qithandans
G qithandins qithandane
D qithandin qithandam
N qithando qithandona
A qithando qithandona
G qithandins qithandane
D qithandin qithandam
N qithandei qithandeins
A qithandein qithandeins
G qithandeins qithandeino
D qithandein qithandeim

The Present Participle agrees with the noun it modifies in gender, number, and case. It is very commonly used to represent action going on at the same time as the main verb, past or present:

Thu gaggis in akrans itands jah drigkands. “You go into (the) fields eating and drinking.”
Ik qam du razna theinamma haitands namo thein. “I came to your house, calling your name.”
Eis skulun standan in gatwon, qithandans du sis misso. “They shall stand in the street, speaking to each other.”

When both the Present Participle and the word it modifies are in the dative case, they may have an “absolute” meaning; that is, they indicate the conditions under which some other event takes place:

Thiudana afleithandin, unsibjai mannans waiwaldun in landa. “(The) king having departed, lawless men ruled in (the) land.”—which is more naturally said: “When the king had departed, lawless men ruled in the land.”
Izai qithandein mis, thiubos stelun gulth fram garda meinamma. “While she was speaking to me, thieves stole gold from my house.”
Katta afleithandin, museis laikand. “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.”
(laikan, lalaik, lalaikun, laikans “leap for joy”; neither *katts nor *mus are actually attested.)


sa skatts (a-stem): the coin (cf. Old English sceatt)
sa waurms (a-stem): the serpent (cf. “worm”)
so hrugga: the staff
thata dragk: the drink
du maurgina: tomorrow
in maurgin: in the morning
faurthis: first, beforehand, formerly than: when, at that time; then
tharei: at the place which, where
bi: about (+ dative or accusative)
thai Nibiluggos: the Nibelungs
gateihan, gataih, gataihun, gataihans: proclaim, make known (ai in gataih is long or a diphthong; ai in gataihun, gataihans is the short e)


In thizai rohsnai Hrothagaizis soei Hairuts haitada, managai saggweis siggwanda jah managa dragka drigkanda.
Du maurgina, silubr gibada allaim mannam jah qenim qimandam du garda is.
Qim in gaqumth unsara; thu haitaza.
Wit sehwu thiu ugkarana bairandan triu du thaim haimom.
Triggwai thiwos, sijuth baureis this qiwis Guths.
Gibith jus gastim meinaim thos dailos this matis thozei eis magun itan.
Fawaim magathim gibada so mahts soei Guth thus gaf.
Undar waurtins this bagmis, finthats gultheinata huzd thatei atta meins falh in airthai than so thiuda haimais seinaizos afslahana was.
Sa ubila frauja sloh thiu seinana mith managaim slahim.
Ik afwairpa thus fram gaqumthai unsarai; hrugga theina brikada.

While they gathered fruit [use absolute: “(with) them gathering fruit”], a little snow fell on the servants standing in the fields.
Need of bread drove me from the bosom of my family.
Since our men touched [use absolute] the women of the village, they were killed in a great slaughter.
Songs are sung about the need of the Nibelungs, those men whose deeds of power are continually proclaimed through our lands.
In the days of the resurrection, neither man nor maid will speak an evil word to each other.
The king gave coins to those needing silver for bread and drink.
The serpent bit the man stealing a cup from his treasure.
The hall of the king Hrothagais is burned, where formerly Bijawulfs fought the demon Grandils.
You are called to speak before the assembly of men of the village.
She saw your girlfriend (frijondi) walking with him.

(Answers to this exercise.)

Back to Lesson 7.