There has been a question for the pronunciation of Gothic. Here is a short explanation. If you want to record these news articles, you are very welcome and you can contact me to make it possible to upload your recordings here.

Linguists like Heidermanns and Lambdin support monophongs, as most linguists do, therefore the monophong explanation.


ai = e   (like in wet) (When this ai originally was ái or ai instead of aí, this monophong is pronounced longer, the dictionary of Köbler contains all diacritic markers)

au = o (like in on) (When this au originally was áu or au instead of aú, this monophong is pronounced longer, the dictionary of Köbler contains all diacritic markers)

o = o (like in so)

a = a (like in are)

ei = ee (like in me)

aw = a-oo (like in wow or now)

gg = ng (like in ming)

gk = nkw (like in think)

gq = nkw (like in think + w)

h = before consonants as ‘kh’ (like in German ch) and also as final. Otherwise it’s pronounced as h.

ƕ = hw (Gothic ‘h’ + w; somewhat like in why, as though it were spelled ‘hwy’)

u = oo (like in mood)

iu = ee-oo (like in cute)

j = y (like in your)

q = kw (like in queen)

þ = th (like in thorn) 


For the diphphongs interpretation, advocated by linguists like Streitberg and Joseph Wright, here is an instruction how to use it, thanks to Johann for providing it:

ái = a-ee

áu = a-oo (like in wow)

aí = e (short)

aú = o (short)

Ai and au are pronounced as diphthongs in all cases unless:

Followed by r, h, and hw (in the case of ai). Also when a vowel immediately follows one of these digraphs, it is pronounced as a monophthong but is long.

There are certain words where ai may be followed by a consonant, yet is not pronounced as a diphthong. A few examples would be aíþþáu, possibly waíla, and always the reduplicated part of class VII verbs (eg: haitan (háitan), pret. 1st pers. sing. haíháit. For the strange exceptions, one just has to learn the word with its marker.

Likewise, sometimes ai followed by r, h, or hv will still be pronounced as a diphthong. The ablaut of the 1st class strong verb is always ái in the preterite singular. leihvan > láihv

So, to sum it up with examples (I will use markers just for clarity).
áiþs hláifs nimái áuk dáuþus nimáu

aírls saíhs saíhvan aúhsa waúrd

waian staua

2 responses to “Pronunciation

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