Gothic alphabet

The Gothic alphabet is an alphabetic system of writing, the Gothic bishop Ulfilas has developed in the 4th century to translate the New Testament into the Gothic language ( Wulfilabibel ).

The Gothic font is based in its entire investment in the Greek alphabet. This not only provided the basic letter sequence and the principle of numbers letters with letters, but also the most character shapes. Individual letters but for sounds that do not know the Greek, derived from the Latin script and from the runic script. The letters have names - usually a word that starts with the sound. This principle is not known from the Greek and Latin writing systems (names such as alpha, beta mean anything in Greek ), but is a characteristic of the runes.

According to value order and names of the letters are delivered by Alcuin manuscript from the 9th century. Consequently, there were 25 letters with phonetic value and - just as in Greek - two others that had only a numerical value ( 90 and 900). The names of the letters show a contamination between late Gothic and younger West Germanic Lautungen. From the traditional forms but ' classic ' Gothic forms can be reconstructed, which form the historical linguistics exact equivalents to the otherwise traditional ancient Germanic runes names in many cases. This seems certain that in the design of the font and the entire runic alphabet was present as idealistic starting point. Only the names of letters eze, thyth, Laaz, quertra, uuaer, possibly aza, are new creations.

In the following table, with the name in the first place the reconstructed after the rune names and the traditional forms of the name Gothic, registered in the second place the traditional forms of names.


  • The symbol * denotes those names words that are nowhere preserved in the Gothic texts otherwise. Your sound shape is reconstructed by saying historical laws, but often remains uncertain.
  • The sign for w was not only for the gothic sound w, but also for the Greek y. So Paul (Greek Παυλος ) was reproduced in the Gothic as Pawlos.


The Gothic alphabet is to U 1034 F encoded in Unicode at U 10330. Since older software often assumes that all Unicode Kodepunkte as 16-bit numbers (less than U 10000 ) can be expressed problems with the presentation of the Gothic alphabet may occur.