Gothic Pronouns[edit | edit source]
This section will deal with personal pronouns (including reflexive pronouns for each of the three grammatical persons), possessive pronouns, demonstratives, and relative pronouns. Each follows a particular pattern of inflection, partially mirroring the noun declension. In Gothic there exist pronouns for the dual number, referring to two people or things; the plural was used only for quantities greater than two. Thus, "the two of us" and "we" for numbers greater than two were expressed with the dual pronouns wit and weis respectively.
Personal Pronouns[edit | edit source]
Gothic is unique among Germanic languages, insofar as it is a pro-drop language, i.e subject pronouns may be omitted entirely. This is similar to languages like Latin or modern Spanish. Therefore, subject pronouns can be used for emphasis, example: Ik tawida þata (I did that) instead of tawida þata (I did that). Here are the Gothic personal pronouns.
The reflexive pronouns (English: myself, yourself, ourselves, themselves, etc.) in Gothic sik, seina, and sis were used for both numbers and all genders.
Possessive Pronouns[edit | edit source]
Gothic possessive pronouns (English: mine, yours, its, etc) decline like strong adjectives such as the adjective blinds (blind). The basic pronouns are: meins (mine); þeins (your); seins (his/her/their).
Seins is used only when it relates back to the subject of the sentence. Otherwise, the genitive forms of the personal pronoun are used: is (his); izōs (her); izē (their [masc]); izō (their [fem]). The plural possessive pronouns are: unsar (our); izwar (your [pl]); ugkar (our [1st person dual]); igqar (your [2nd person dual]). They decline the same as seins, but without the -ata forms.
Demonstrative Pronouns[edit | edit source]
The simple demonstrative pronouns sa, sō, and þata were used as pronouns for this, that, and sometimes functioned as definite articles the. It should be stressed that Gothic did not have definite articles.
In addition to the above forms, there existed compound demonstrative articles formed with the above pronouns + -uh. They decline the same, but where the above pronouns end in -s, it changes to -z in the compound demonstrative pronouns: therefore, þis becomes þizuh and þōs becomes þōzuh respectively. An instrumental neuter þē has been preserved in the phrase ni þē haldis (none the more).
Relative Pronouns[edit | edit source]
Relative pronouns are formed with the demonstrative pronouns + ei.
Interrogative Pronouns[edit | edit source]
Interrogative pronouns are used to ask a question, such as what, who, whom, whose. The neuter ƕa is used as what and sometimes why.
The plural form *ƕans (masculine accusative) occurs once as part of the indefinite pronoun ƕanzuh "each, every". An instrumental neuter ƕē is attested.
References[edit | edit source]
- Joseph Wright, Grammar of the Gothic language, 2nd edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1966