Goths, Naming and Ablaut

David L. White dlwhite at
Sat Mar 17 05:16:21 UTC 2001

> After all, until we find more evidence, I favour to explain all these names
> as denoting the same (or related) people, and as coming from a Germanic
> source (Gmc.  *giut/gaut/gut-, PIE *gheu-d- "pour").

> Best regards,
> Hans-Werner Hatting

        I agree (and grow somewhat weary).  But I will note, before I nod
off, that it is quite likely that the other Germans, more specifically the
West Germans, had a name for the Goths, and that the Romans would have
picked this up from contact with them.  As little more than a vague rumor
from the shadowy margins of the "known" world, no doubt, but still they
probably would have heard it.  There is no reason to think that the
borrowing of the name must have passed directly, "as the crow flies" (or
wolf runs), from the Goths wherever they were at the time of first
attestation in Latin, passing through third-language intermediaries.
        Furthermore the occurence of what appear to be ablaut variants
suggests, however weakly, that the name was Germanic, as Germanic is known
to have preserved ablaut variation to a greater extent than most of the rest
of the family.

Dr. David L. White

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