Goths, Naming and Ablaut

David L. White dlwhite at
Thu Mar 8 16:33:11 UTC 2001

        The case of the Geats gives us pretty good reason to believe that
the ethnonym in question existed in ablaut variants.  To be more specific,
my possibilty 2 would have the Geats and Goths coming from /au/, with the
various /gut-/ words of the Greek sphere coming from /u/.
        The Conventional Wisdom is that past particples of strong verbs come
from stressed /Vn/, whereas the ending of weak adjectives, orginally
"characterizing", somewhat like modern English "-ed" (which is also used to
from past participles), comes from unstressed /Vn/, where V is the
annoyingly variant e/o.  Perhaps a difference of opinion about which
sub-type of /Vn/ was being used, and therefore about how it should be
stressed, result in the ablaut variation seen.  The two appear to be
differently stressed versions of the same thing.
But then again, this sort of stuff is not my strong suit, so please correct
me if I am hopelesly confused ...

Dr. David L. White

More information about the Indo-european mailing list