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An Introduction to the Gothic Language (Ancient Language Resources) [Paperback]

Thomas O. Lambdin

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fans of Gothic are Fans of Lambdin 27 Dec 2006
By Kiro - Published on Amazon.com
As Lambdin states in his preface he has "attempted to write the kind of textbook I wish I had at my disposal when I was first learning" the language, and this is but one of his four "graded" textbooks (in addition to Biblical Hebrew, Sahidic Coptic, and Classical Ge'ez). This is in the modern style of language learning, i.e. no divisions into phonology/morphology/parts of speech etc. It has 23 lessons, all with copious excercies and vocabularies pertaining to them. There is a glossary but the reader should not find this as much of a necessity as in certain texts where no attention is paid which words appear in excercies/grammatical examples, etc. No flipping or hunting in this one.

For the comparative linguist: Each lesson has a doppelganger in the second half of the text. This second set of lessons are dedicated to the historical basis of the language from PIE to PG to Gothic. The philologist will also enjoy that Lambdin's book includes all four canonical gospels and two epistles, in addition to the usual glossaries, appendices,etc. Easy access to these texts may be of considerable interest in deciding between Lambdin and Bennet, for example, whose treatment, though similarly divided into lesson-format, is not as integrated.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Introductory Grammar of Gothic Yet! 10 May 2006
By S. Pennington - Published on Amazon.com
As a pedagogical tool, this grammar of Gothic is unsurpassed. Lambdin discusses grammar in a thorough, but not condescending, manner. In discussing grammatical points, he gives excellent examples from the Gothic texts themselves. This textbook includes copious exercises, a historical grammar to be used in conjunction with the learner's grammar, and an excellent glossary in the back covering the entire corpus of the Gothic language. Most remarkable of all, Lambdin has included in this fabulous book all extant portions of the four Gospels in Gothic. Anyone desiring to acquire a thorough knowledge of the Gothic language cannot afford to be without this text. Although the text is a paperback, the content makes up for the price of $36.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to the Gothic Language 8 Dec 2009
By E. A. Kinzel - Published on Amazon.com
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This is an outstanding introduction to Gothic. There are 23 lessons, each with a short section on grammar, relevant vocabulary, and practice exercises. This edition also contains all extant portions of the Gospels, as well as excerpts from some of the Pauline Epistles. The grammatical lessons have parallel lessons, at the back of the book in the "historical grammar", which detail the historical linguistic background of the relevant lesson, offering details about the evolution of the Gothic forms from Proto-Germanic, and comparison with other developments in Indo-European. Each lesson of the historical grammar also contains an etymological analysis of each word from the vocabulary list for that lesson.

Here's the way I used this book: after about 5 lessons, I stopped using the historical grammmar together with the lessons; I found it rather distracting, so went through that later, after I had completed the lessons. I read through one lesson per week, and wrote down all of the vocabulary, fully conjugated and declined, in a notebook. As I progressed, I rotated through previous lessons sequentially, at least one per week.

The exercises are the greatest strength of this book; one can find good comparable Gothic grammars elsewhere. Lambdin's exercises, entirely in Gothic, are divided into 3-4 sections per lesson. The first section, in the earlier lessons, is a simple noun phrase (the men, of the man, etc.). The second is a longer, prepositional phrase (in the fields of this land, against the law of the king, etc.). The last section of exercises contains complete sentences, which, in the later lessons, are grouped together into little narratives. The beauty of this approach, as opposed to the traditional method of beginning a lesson with a short text, usually with one occurrence of each word from the vocabulary, is that the student gets a lot of practice seeing a particular verb or noun in various states of conjugation and declension. I used these exercises for my rotating review of previous lessons each week, and to my great pleasure, I made a lot of progress in Gothic.

One idiosyncrasy of this book is the treatment of the digraphs (au, a'u, au'; ai, a'i, ai'). Lambdin points out that there is no evidence that this distinction was present in Gothic pronunciation, so he treats them all as (au, ai). Although he is perhaps technically correct, every other instance of Gothic in every other book I have ever seen maintains this three-way distinction in these digraphs; it is, as he said, a venerable practice in I-E studies, and so his method frankly looks strange, and seems to me a little petty or cantankerous. Going from this book to another one, as I did, requires the student to learn to pronounce the distinction anyway.

All in all, though, this book is a great way to learn Gothic, one of my favorite languages.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gothic 26 Nov 2012
By Lamont Dakota - Published on Amazon.com
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This is the best book in English on the Gothic language, written by an internationally-acknowledged and well-respected master of the material. His knowledge of the topic is unexcelled,
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