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This article contains Gothic characters. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of letters.
Type Alphabet
Spoken languages Gothic
Time period Before 300, in decline by 600
Parent systems
Mostly Greek, with Latin and Runic influences
  • Gothic
ISO 15924 Goth
Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.

The Gothic alphabet is an alphabetic writing system attributed to Ulfilas (or Wulfila) which was used exclusively for writing the ancient Gothic language.[1] Before its creation in the fourth century, the Goths had used runes to write their language. The new alphabet was created by Ulfilas for the purpose of translating the Christian Bible into Gothic, and it is largely derived from an uncial form of the Greek alphabet, though some elements have been borrowed from the Latin and Runic alphabets as well. Ulfilas is thought to have consciously chosen to avoid the use of the older Runic alphabet for this purpose, as it was heavily connected with ancient heathen beliefs and customs.[2] Also, the Greek-based script probably helped to integrate of the Gothic nation into the dominant Greco-Roman culture around the Black Sea.[3] The individual letters, however, still bore names derived from those of their Runic equivalents.


The letters

Below is a table of the Gothic alphabet. Two letters used in its transliteration are not used in current English: the Runic þ (representing /θ/), and the ligature ƕ (representing //).

As with the Greek alphabet, Gothic letters were also assigned numerical values. When used as numerals, letters were written either between two dots (•𐌹𐌱• = 12) or with an overline (𐌹𐌱 = 12). Two letters, 𐍁 (90) and 𐍊 (900), have no phonetic value.

The letter names are recorded in a 9th century manuscript of Alcuin (Codex Vindobonensis 795). Most of them seem to be Gothic forms of names also appearing in the rune poems. The names are given in their attested forms followed by the reconstructed Gothic forms and their meanings.[4]

Letter Translit. Compare Gothic name PGmc rune name IPA XML entity
Gothic letter ahsa.svg 𐌰 a Α aza < ans "god" or asks "ash" *ansuz /a, aː/ 1 &#x10330;
Gothic letter bairkan.svg 𐌱 b Β bercna < *bairka "birch" *berkanan /b, β/ 2 &#x10331;
Gothic letter giba.svg 𐌲 g Γ geuua < giba "gift" *gebō /ɡ, ŋ/ 3 &#x10332;
Gothic letter dags.svg 𐌳 d Δ daaz < dags "day" *dagaz /d, ð/ 4 &#x10333;
Gothic letter aihvus.svg 𐌴 e Ε eyz < aiƕs "horse" or eivs "yew" *eihwaz /e, eː/ 5 &#x10334;
Gothic letter qairthra.svg 𐌵 q Π quetra < *qairþra ? or quairna "millstone" (see *perþō) // 6 &#x10335;
Gothic letter iuja.svg 𐌶 z Ζ ezec < ezec[5] (?) (see *algiz) /z/ 7 &#x10336;
Gothic letter hagl.svg 𐌷 h H haal < *hagal or *hagls "hail" *haglaz /h, χ/ 8 &#x10337;
Gothic letter thiuth.svg 𐌸 þ, th Θ thyth < þiuþ "good" or þaurnus "thorn" *thurisaz /θ/ 9 &#x10338;
Gothic letter eis.svg 𐌹 i Ι iiz < *eis "ice" *īsaz /i, iː/ 10 &#x10339;
Gothic letter kusma.svg 𐌺 k Κ chozma < *kusma or kōnja "pine sap" *kaunan /k/ 20 &#x1033A;
Gothic letter lagus.svg 𐌻 l Λ laaz < *lagus "sea, lake" *laguz /l/ 30 &#x1033B;
Gothic letter manna.svg 𐌼 m Μ manna < manna "man" *mannaz /m/ 40 &#x1033C;
Gothic letter nauthus.svg 𐌽 n Ν noicz < nauþs "need" *naudiz /n/ 50 &#x1033D;
Gothic letter jer.svg 𐌾 j gaar < jēr "year" *jēran /j/ 60 &#x1033E;
Gothic letter urus.svg 𐌿 u uraz < *ūrus "aurochs" *ūruz /u, uː/ 70 &#x1033F;
Gothic letter pairthra.svg 𐍀 p Π pertra < *pairþa ? *perþō /p/ 80 &#x10340;
Gothic numeral ninety.svg 𐍁 Ϙ 90 &#x10341;
Gothic letter raida.svg 𐍂 r R reda < *raida "wagon" *raidō /r/ 100 &#x10342;
Gothic letter sauil.svg 𐍃 s S sugil < sauïl or sōjil "sun" *sôwilô /s/ 200 &#x10343;
Gothic letter teiws.svg 𐍄 t Τ tyz < *tius "the god Týr" *tīwaz /t/ 300 &#x10344;
Gothic letter winja.svg 𐍅 w Υ uuinne < vinja "field, pasture" or vinna "pain" *wunjō /w, u, y/ 400 &#x10345;
Gothic letter faihu.svg 𐍆 f F fe < faihu "cattle, wealth" *fehu /f/ 500 &#x10346;
Gothic letter iggws.svg 𐍇 x Χ enguz < *iggus or *iggvs "the god Yngvi" *ingwaz // 600 &#x10347;
Gothic letter hwair.svg 𐍈 ƕ, hw Θ uuaer < *ƕair "kettle" - // 700 &#x10348;
Gothic letter othal.svg 𐍉 o Ω, utal < *ōþal "ancestral land" *ōþala /o, oː/ 800 &#x10349;
Gothic numeral nine hundred.svg 𐍊 Ϡ 900 &#x1034a;

Most of the letters have been taken over directly from the Greek alphabet, though a few have been created and/or modified from Latin or Runic letters to express unique phonological features of Gothic. These are:

  • 𐌵 (q; derived by inverting Greek 𐍀 /p/, perhaps due to similarity in the Gothic names: pairþa vs. qairþa)
  • 𐌸 (þ; derived from Greek Φ /pʰ/ with phonetic reassignment)
  • 𐌾 (j; derived from Latin G /g/ with possible influence from Runic /j/).
  • 𐌿 (u; derived from Runic /u/)[6]
  • 𐍈 (ƕ; derived from Greek Θ /θ/ with phonetic reassignment)
  • 𐍉 (o; derived either from Greek Ω or from Runic .[7]

𐍂 (r), 𐍃 (s) and 𐍆 (f) appear to be derived from their Latin equivalents rather than from the Greek, although the equivalent Runic letters (, and ), assumed to have been part of the Gothic futhark, likely played some role in this choice.[8]

𐍇 (x) is only used in proper names and loanwords containing Greek Χ (xristus "Christ", galiugaxristus "Pseudo-Christ", zaxarias "Zacharias", aivxaristia "eucharist").[9]

Regarding the letters' numeric values, most correspond to those of the Greek numerals. Gothic 𐌵 takes the place of Ϝ (6); 𐌾 takes the place of ξ (60), 𐌿 that of Ο (70), and 𐍈 that of ψ (700).

Diacritics and punctuation

Diacritics and punctuation used in the Codex Argenteus include a trema placed on 𐌹 i, transliterated as ï, in general applied to express diaeresis, the Interpunct (·) and colon (:) as well as overlines to indicate sigla (such as xaus for xristaus) and numerals.


First page of the Codex Argenteus or "Silver Bible", a 6th century manuscript containing bishop Ulfilas's 4th century translation of the Christian Bible into the Gothic language.
Gothic Transliteration
𐌰𐍄𐍄𐌰 𐌿𐌽𐍃𐌰𐍂 • 𐌸𐌿 𐌹𐌽 𐌷𐌹𐌼𐌹𐌽𐌰𐌼 •

𐍅𐌴𐌹𐌷𐌽𐌰𐌹 𐌽𐌰𐌼𐍉 𐌸𐌴𐌹𐌽 • 𐌵𐌹𐌼𐌰𐌹 𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌹𐌽𐌰𐍃𐍃𐌿𐍃 𐌸𐌴𐌹𐌽𐍃 •

𐍅𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌸𐌰𐌹 𐍅𐌹𐌻𐌾𐌰 𐌸𐌴𐌹𐌽𐍃 • 𐍃𐍅𐌴 𐌹𐌽 𐌷𐌹𐌼𐌹𐌽𐌰 𐌾𐌰𐌷 𐌰𐌽𐌰 𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌸𐌰𐌹 :

𐌷𐌻𐌰𐌹𐍆 𐌿𐌽𐍃𐌰𐍂𐌰𐌽𐌰 𐌸𐌰𐌽𐌰 𐍃𐌹𐌽𐍄𐌴𐌹𐌽𐌰𐌽 𐌲𐌹𐍆 𐌿𐌽𐍃 𐌷𐌹𐌼𐌼𐌰 𐌳𐌰𐌲𐌰 •

𐌾𐌰𐌷 𐌰𐍆𐌻𐌴𐍄 𐌿𐌽𐍃 𐌸𐌰𐍄𐌴𐌹 𐍃𐌺𐌿𐌻𐌰𐌽𐍃 𐍃𐌹𐌾𐌰𐌹𐌼𐌰 •

𐍃𐍅𐌰𐍃𐍅𐌴 𐌾𐌰𐌷 𐍅𐌴𐌹𐍃 𐌰𐍆𐌻𐌴𐍄𐌰𐌼 𐌸𐌰𐌹𐌼 𐍃𐌺𐌿𐌻𐌰𐌼 𐌿𐌽𐍃𐌰𐍂𐌰𐌹𐌼 •

𐌾𐌰𐌷 𐌽𐌹 𐌱𐍂𐌹𐌲𐌲𐌰𐌹𐍃 𐌿𐌽𐍃 𐌹𐌽 𐍆𐍂𐌰𐌹𐍃𐍄𐌿𐌱𐌽𐌾𐌰𐌹 •

𐌰𐌺 𐌻𐌰𐌿𐍃𐌴𐌹 𐌿𐌽𐍃 𐌰𐍆 𐌸𐌰𐌼𐌼𐌰 𐌿𐌱𐌹𐌻𐌹𐌽 :

[𐌿𐌽𐍄𐌴 𐌸𐌴𐌹𐌽𐌰 𐌹𐍃𐍄 𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰𐌽𐌲𐌰𐍂𐌳𐌹

𐌾𐌰𐌷 𐌼𐌰𐌷𐍄𐍃 𐌾𐌰𐌷 𐍅𐌿𐌻𐌸𐌿𐍃 𐌹𐌽 𐌰𐌹𐍅𐌹𐌽𐍃 :]

𐌰𐌼𐌴𐌽 :

Atta unsar, þu in himinam,

weihnai namo þein, qimai þiudinassus þeins,

wairþai wilja þeins, swe in himina jah ana airþai.

Hlaif unsarana þana sinteinan gif uns himma daga,

jah aflet uns þatei skulans sijaima,

swaswe jah weis afletam þaim skulam unsaraim,

jah ni briggais uns in fraistubnjai,

ak lausei uns af þamma ubilin;

[unte þeina ist þiudangardi

jah mahts jah wulþus in aiwins.]


Character encoding

The Gothic alphabet is encoded in Unicode in the range U+10330–U+1034F (in the Supplementary Multilingual Plane). As older software that uses UCS-2 (the predecessor of UTF-16) assumes that all Unicode codepoints can be expressed as 16 bit numbers (U+FFFF or lower, the Basic Multilingual Plane), problems may be encountered using the Gothic alphabet Unicode range.

Gothic chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1033x 𐌰 𐌱 𐌲 𐌳 𐌴 𐌵 𐌶 𐌷 𐌸 𐌹 𐌺 𐌻 𐌼 𐌽 𐌾 𐌿
U+1034x 𐍀 𐍁 𐍂 𐍃 𐍄 𐍅 𐍆 𐍇 𐍈 𐍉 𐍊          


  1. ^ The historians Philostorgius, Socrates of Constantinople and Sozomen unanimously record that Ulfilas created the Gothic alphabet for the purpose of translating the Christian Bible. Cf. Streitberg (1910:20).
  2. ^ Cf. Jensen (1969:474).
  3. ^ Cf. Haarmann (1991:434).
  4. ^ The forms which are not attested in the Gothic corpus are marked with an asterisk. For a detailed discussion of the reconstructed forms, cf. Kirchhoff (1854). For a survey of the relevant literature, cf. Zacher (1855).
  5. ^ Zacher arrives at *iuya, *ivja or *ius, cognate to ON ȳr, OE īv, eóv, OHG īwa "yew tree", though he admits having no ready explanation for the form ezec. Cf. Zacher (1855:10-13).
  6. ^ Cf. Kirchhoff (1854:55).
  7. ^ Haarmann (1991:434).
  8. ^ Cf. Kirchhoff (1854:55-56); Friesen (1915:306-310).
  9. ^ Wright (1910:5).


  • Braune, Wilhelm (1952). Gotische Grammatik. Halle: Max Niemeyer.
  • Dietrich, Franz (1862). Über die Aussprache des Gotischen Wärend der Zeit seines Bestehens. Marburg: N. G. Elwert'sche Universitätsbuchhandlung.
  • Friesen, Otto von (1915). "Gotische Schrift" in Hoops, J. Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde, Bd. II. pp. 306-310. Strassburg: Karl J. Trübner.
  • Haarmann, Harald (1991). Universalgeschichte der Schrift. Frankfurt: Campus.
  • Jensen, Hans (1969). Die Schrift in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Berlin: Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften.
  • Kirchhoff, Adolf (1854). Das gothische Runenalphabet. Berlin: Wilhelm Hertz.
  • Streitberg, Wilhelm (1910). Gotisches Elementarbuch. Heidelberg: Carl Winter.
  • Weingärtner, Wilhelm (1858). Die Aussprache des Gotischen zur Zeit Ulfilas. Leipzig: T. O. Weigel.
  • Wright, Joseph (1910). Grammar of the Gothic Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Zacher, Julius (1855). Das gothische Alphabet Vulvilas und das Runenalphabet. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus.

See also

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Gothic + alphabet


Gothic alphabet


Gothic alphabet (uncountable)

  1. The 27-letter alphabet of the Gothic language, consisting of the following letters:
    𐌰, 𐌱, 𐌲, 𐌳, 𐌴, 𐌵, 𐌶, 𐌷, 𐌸, 𐌹, 𐌺, 𐌻, 𐌼, 𐌽, 𐌾, 𐌿, 𐍀, 𐍁, 𐍂, 𐍃, 𐍄, 𐍅, 𐍆, 𐍇, 𐍈, 𐍉, 𐍊


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