Internationale Fachtagung  der Gesellschaft für Sprache und Sprachen (GeSuS) 22.–24. Juni 2015 Sankt Petersburg


22.06.2015, Montag


15.00 – 15.30 Martin Kümmel, Prof. Dr. (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Deutschland) Grammatikalisierung und Degrammatikalisierung im Mitteliranischen

15.30 – 16.00 Christian Horn, Research fellow, MA (Heinrich-HeineUniversität, Düsseldorf, Deutschland) Evidence for four types of nouns in German

16.00 – 16.30 Caterina Saracco, Studentin (Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici - Sezione di Linguistica Teorica e Applicata, Pavia, Italia) Altsächsische Possesivkomposita: Eine kognitive Analyse  

16.30 – 17.00 Maria Flaksman, Dr. phil. Assistant (State Electrotechnical University 'LETI', Sankt Petersburg, Russland) Onomatopoeic words in Wulfila’s Translation of the New Testament


Maria Flaksman, St. Petersburg State Electrotechnical University ‘LETI‘, Russia, Этот адрес электронной почты защищён от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.

Onomatopoeic Words in Gothic: Iconic Elements in Wulfila’s Translation of the New Testament

Onomatopoeic words seem to be deeply ingrained into the body of every living language on our planet, and their omnipresence in the vocabulary of modern languages gives a serious reason to suspect that extinct languages are also not totally devoid of them. Gothic language, an object of present investigation, is by no means an exception.

Although the total amount of surviving Gothic texts is not high and practically all of them are translations of the Bible or its commentaries, a thorough search of Lehman's Gothic Etymological Dictionary [1] reveals a small percentage of onomatopoeic words in the Gothic lexicon available to a 21st century reader. The dictionary is based mainly on the 4th century bishop Wulfila’s translation of the New Testament, seemingly the most unlikely source for such expressive formations as cook-a-doodle or mewl. Yet, for example, in John’s Gospel 18:27 we find: ‘þaruh aftra afaiaik Paitrus, jah suns hana hrukida‘ (Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow). Such samples of onomatopoeia although tantalizingly scarce, still allow us to get a fleeting glimpse into the sound-denoting system of the Gothic language.

The contextual analysis of discovered examples not only confirms the mere existence of onomatopoeic words in Gothic vocabulary, but also enables us to draw some limited conclusions about formation and use of mimetic words in this extinct language. The study of Gothic iconic lexemes also allowes us to divide them according to S.V. Voronin‘s universal classification of onomatopoeic words [2], and classification according to the degrees of de -iconization we propose.


1. Lehman, Winfred (1986): A Gothic Etymological Dictionary, Leiden.

2. Voronin, Stanislav (2006): Fundamentals of Phonosemantics, Moscow


Maria Flaksman

Фото и материалы предоставила М. Флаксман