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Codex Abrosianus
Codex Abrosianus


The Gothic Language may require some things to be installed in order for you to learn it and use it on a computer - a Gothic and (optionally) an Elder Futhark font, and a Gothic and Futhark keymap. We will be using the standard Latin alphabet for this book, so it is not necessary that you get it working. When you have finished installing the fonts, the Gothic alphabet and the Elder Futhark alphabet should appear in the boxes below. You will know if it did not work because it will look like black squares or question marks.

Gothic Alphabet

𐌰 𐌱 𐌲 𐌳 𐌴 𐌡 𐌢 𐌷 𐌸 𐌹 𐌺 𐌻 𐌼 𐌽 𐌾 𐌿 𐍀 𐍁 𐍂 𐍃 𐍄 𐍅 𐍆 𐍇 𐍈 𐍉 𐍊

Elder Futhark

ᚠ ᚒ ᚦ ᚨ ᚱ ᚲ ᚷ ᚹ ᚺ ᚾ ᛁ ᛃ ᛇ α›ˆ ᛉ α›Š ᛏ α›’ α›– α›— α›š α›œ α›Ÿ

Getting a Proper Font

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Gothic Font

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There are several fonts that you can use for Gothic, and there are basically three different styles of font - Skeirs, Ulfilas and [1], and Code2001 - sans-serif, serif, and a scribe-ish handwritten style.

For a beginner in Gothic it might be better to use Skeirs as the font of choice because it is very easy to read in comparison to the serif font. However, you might prefer the serif font, and if you use Code2001 or Skeirs, you can use the already included Futhark characters rather than download an extra font. Code2001 is also one of the few Gothic Fonts which actually represents the tremad (double-dotted) eis character, which is not included in Skeirs. If you can memorize stress of words correctly (which you MUST do regardless of whether you have that character represented with two diphthongs or not), it shouldn't be too much of a problem. This letter isn't even represented in the Windows Gothic keymap and doesn't appear in the Unicode 5 Standard PDF Chart detailing the Gothic range of characters.

Issues with Vulcanius and Ulfilas are covered in the next section although they do not actually have Futhark codes.

Futhark Font

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Both Skeirs and Code2001 support the Elder Futhark alphabet. Generally Elder Futhark letters stay relatively the same and won't be too big an issue. However, Skeirs has the alternative SkiersGR font which has larger runes making for easier reading than Code2001, which will display the standard small, thin runes which might be hard to look at. On the flip side these larger runes won't center properly. Skeirs and Ulfilas encode Gothic characters in the Latin range of characters, so it might also make some sites with both Gothic and English content, particularly the Gothic Wikipedia, look unreadable. Vulcanius does not have this problem, but it might not render some web pages properly under certain browsers, and does not share the easy reading of Skeirs or even Code2001. Some of the other free Gothic fonts available could be elsewhere on the web.

Getting the Font to work

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Note for Windows 95, 98 and ME users: Windows 9x does not have Unicode support by default and you will have to install Supplimentary character support according to these directions.

Note for Internet Explorer users: Internet Explorer will not render Gothic on the web unless you select the specific font to use. If you have not registered an account for here, register and click here. In the text box insert this: <pre> body { font-family: Skeirs, Code2001, sans-serif; } </pre> This will make the site look a little unclean, but you should be able to use the tutorial now at least for the Gothic fonts. This problem is not relevant for users of Opera, or Gecko based browsers like Seamonkey or Firefox. Users that have a KHTML browser like Safari or Konqueror please test to see if Unicode problems with Gothic occur.

Windows Users

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  1. Decompress the fonts that you downloaded into a directory.
  2. Go to the control panel and click on the fonts icon
  3. Click on the file menu and then click the option "Install new font"
  4. Go to where you unzipped the fonts
  5. Select all of the font files that appear
  6. Click "Install fonts"
  7. Restart your browser

Mac OS X Users

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  1. Decompress the fonts and drag them into the fonts directory
  2. Restart your browser

Linux Users

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Note: This assumes you are on KDE, XFCE, or GNOME where you probably do not know how to install a font. If you are not on these window managers please read the manual for your corresponding Linux distribution.

  1. Decompress the fonts you downloaded into a directory.
  2. Open up a window in the file manager and type "font://"
  3. Drag the fonts into this directory
  4. Restart your browser

Installing a Keymap

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If you are wanting to install a keymap as well, in order to type easily in Gothic, there are few options out there.

  • Windows users can use the Babelstone Keyboard layout (Note: The instructions are dated).
  • OS X users can use Keidan's Gothic Keyboard Layout.
  • Linux users not capable of writing their own keymap are stuck with a simple Javascript "transliterator" for all writing in Gothic. There are keymap creators but documentation is scarce and many desktop environments don't seem to be centered around translations. For this reason, you can stick with using the Icelandic keymap, which should give you all the characters you need.