Crimean Gothic

Steve Gustafson stevegus at
Wed Apr 25 02:26:28 UTC 2001

Rick McCallister wrote:

> I'm surprised the list is so readily recognizable --almost too
> recognizable! The citations I've seen from Ulfila's Gothic don't look that
> close to English, German and Dutch. Did Diamond just leave out the truly
> hard stuff?
> Any thoughts from Germanic scholars?

De Busbecq's account of Crimean Gothic is online at:

I suspect that orthography makes all the difference.  Ulfilas' Gothic was
written in an alphabet he cobbled together himself, and what we usually read
of it is a Latin transliteration.  Some of Ulfilas' writing habits,
especially as they involved the digraphs /ai/ and /au/, are sources of
perennial controversy.

I suspect that De Busbecq shoehorned some of the Gothic he learned into
familiar speech and writing habits, and it's occasionally just as hard to
figure out what the sounds were behind what he preserved in his account.

What the world needs is another great war to kill off a generation of

Ceterum censeo sedem Romanam esse delendam.

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