Gothic Alphabet

What cultures speak the Gothic Language?

The gothic language was historically spoken by the gothic people, often referred to as the Goths. The gothic language is notably known for the creation of the Codex Argenteus, which is a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century literal translation of the bible. The gothic language is the only east Germanic language that contains a sizable corpus of text. Many other eastern Germanic languages, including mandalic and Burgundian, are known only from names that survive in certain historical accounts. They are also known for loanwords in modern languages that were documented and have survived today - such as Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

Gothic is an Indo-European language and is the earliest Germanic language that is referred to and attested in many large texts - but currently does not have any modern descendants which have used the influence of the gothic language directly. This is because it was simply created for a literal biblical translation in the fourth century, and declined in the 6th century after the complete defeat and annihilation of gothic culture. The Goths were Germanic tribes that had rebelled and formed different power groups within Europe to profit from the collapse of the Roman Empire. Once superpowers such as the Franks, Italians, and Spanish had conquered the gothic peoples, Christianity and cultural reforms eliminated most of the need for the alphabet.

What is the Gothic Alphabet?

The gothic language was written using the gothic alphabet, which is said to be developed by Ulfilas in the 4th century. He was a Goth of Greek descent who had created the alphabet for the sole purpose of translating the bible in an increasingly Christianized Europe. As such, the alphabet uses a form of the Greek alphabet with some additional letters which express gothic phonology. For example, the alphabet adds in the letters "G" and "F", as well as a runic letter that was used to distinguish between the sounds "w" and "u".

Most of the letters are directed from the Greek alphabet, but a few were modified from Latin and runic letters. This is a wonderful language that resembles the unique combination of Latin, Greek, and Nordic/Germanic letters which was much too collaborative for it to sustain itself in a world where Latin and Cyrillic were becoming more and more popular.

History of the Gothic Alphabet

The origin of Gothic Alphabet traces its roots directly to Ulfilas, also called Wulfila by some English accounts. He was thought to have rejected the older Runic alphabet to connect pagan beliefs, to understand them in such a way that they could smoothly transition their understanding to the bible. Although this was the purpose, two notable letters connect themselves to the runic alphabet, which may have made pagans relate their studies more to a cultural similarity.

The unique addition of the largely Greek-based script helped to integrate the Gothic nation into the more dominant Roman-Greco culture which was found throughout the Black Sea and was found in many literary scripts throughout mainland Europe and Eurasia.