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Griutungi is an East Germanic language which was the ancestor of Valthungian. It was contemporaneous and likely mutually intelligible with Gothic. There was no written record of Griutungi, aside from a few possible examples written in the Gothic alphabet which may have been attributed to Gothic instead. It has been reconstructed with a very similar phonology:

Comparison of Gothic and Griutungi Orthography

Gothic Gothic IPA Griutungi Gothic ~ Griutungi > Old Val. > Mid. Val. > Valthungian  
𐌰 a ɑ a *𐌰𐍀𐌻𐍃 (apls) *apls *apls apʌs aplas ‘apple’
𐌰 ā ɑː ā 𐌲𐌰𐌷𐍄𐍃 (gāhts) gāhts gaahts gâfts gāfts ‘way’
𐌰𐌹 ɛ e 𐍅𐌰𐌹𐍂 (wair) *wer ver wer wer ‘man’
𐌰𐌹 ai, ái ɛː ǣ 𐌰𐌹𐌽𐍃 (ains) *ǣns aens æns ǣns ‘one’
𐌰𐌿 ɔ o 𐍅𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌳 (waurd) *word vroþ wroþ vroþ ‘word’
𐌰𐌿 au, áu ɔː ǭ *𐌰𐌿𐌸𐍃 (auþs) *ǭþs aoþs ꜵþs ǭþs ‘easy’
𐌱 b b, β b 𐌱𐌰𐌻𐌲𐍃 (balgs) *balgs blagz blagz blaǧ ‘bag’
𐌲 g g, ɣ g 𐌲𐌰𐌹𐍄𐍃 (gaits) *gǣts gaets gæts gǣts ‘goat’
𐌲𐌲 gg ŋg ng 𐌲𐌰𐌲𐌲𐌰𐌽 (gaggan) *gangan gangan gangɴ gangna ‘go’
𐌲𐌵 gq ŋkʷ, ŋkw nkw 𐌹𐌲𐌵𐌹𐍃 (igqis) *inkwis inqvis inqwis inkus ‘you two’
𐌲𐌺 gk ŋk nk 𐌳𐍂𐌹𐌲𐌺𐌰𐌽 (drigkan) *drinkan drinkan drinkɴ drinkna ‘drink’
𐌳 d d, ð d 𐌳𐍅𐌰𐌻𐍃 (dwals) *dwals dvals dwals duals ‘stupid’
𐌴 ē ē 𐌻𐌴𐍄𐌰𐌽 (lētan) *lētan leitan lêtɴ lētna ‘let’
𐌴𐌹 ei ī 𐌸𐌴𐌹𐍈𐍉 (þeiƕō) *þīhwō þijhwou þîfwô þīfua ‘thunder’
𐌵 q kʷ, kw kw 𐌰𐌵𐌹𐌶𐌹 (aqizi) *akwizi aqvizi aqwizi akuže ‘axe’
𐌶 z z z 𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌶𐌴𐌹𐍃 (airzeis) *erzīs rezijs rezjîs režis ‘wrong’
𐌷 h h h 𐌷𐌰𐌹𐍂𐍄𐍉 (hairtō) *hertō hretou hreto hreta ‘heart’
𐌸 þ θ þ 𐌸𐌰𐌼𐌼𐌰 (þamma) *þamma þapma þatma þatma ‘to that’
𐌹 i i i 𐌹𐌽𐌰𐌷𐍃 (inahs) *inahs inahs inâs inās ‘wise’
𐌹𐌿 iu iu̯ iu 𐌹𐌿𐍀 (iup) *iukw jjuqv gzjuku ǧuko ‘up, on’
𐌺 k k k 𐌺𐌰𐌻𐌳𐍃 (kalds) *kalds klaþs klaþs klaþs ‘cold’
𐌻 l l l 𐌻𐌴𐌹𐍄𐌹𐌻𐍃 (leitils) *lītils lijtils lîtils lītils ‘little’
𐌼 m m m *𐌼𐍉𐍄𐌴𐌹𐌽𐍃 (mōteins) *mōtīns meoutijns mœutîns mœutins ‘meeting’
𐌽 n n n 𐌽𐌹𐌿𐌽𐌳𐌰 (niunda) *niunþa njunþa njunþa njunþa ‘ninth’
𐌾 j j j 𐌾𐌴𐍂 (jēr) *jēr jeir jêr jēr ‘year’
𐌿 u u u *𐌿𐌲𐌲𐍅𐌹𐌻𐍉 (uggwilō) *ungwilō ungvilou ungwilo ungula ‘owl’
𐌿 ū ū 𐌿𐍄𐌰𐌸𐍂𐍉 (ūtaþrō) *ūtaþrō uvtaðrou ûtaðro ūtaðra ‘outside’
𐍀 p p p 𐍀𐌿𐌽𐌳 (pund) *pund pund pund pund ‘pound’
𐍁 90 - - ‹𐍁› did not have a phonetic value in Gothic: It was used solely to represent the number ‘90’. A variation of this letter was later used to represent palatalized /t/ and /k/; later, /ʧ/.
𐍂 r r r *𐍂𐌰𐌿𐌰𐌽(rauan) *rǭwan raovgan rôgɴ rōgna ‘row’
𐍃 s s s 𐍃𐌰𐌿𐌹𐌻 (sauil) *sǭwilō sauvgilou sôgilo sōgila ‘sun’
𐍄 t t t 𐍄𐌰𐌹𐌷𐍃𐍅𐌰 (taihswa) *tehswa tehsva tæswa tǣsua ‘right’
𐍅 w w w 𐍅𐌰𐌳𐌳𐌾𐌿𐍃 (waddjus) *waddjus veahdjus wædzjus wǣǧis ‘wall’
𐍅 w ʏ y 𐌷𐍅𐍃𐍃𐍉𐍀𐍉 (hwssōpō) *hyssōpō *hyhsoupou hŷsopo hȳsapa ‘hyssop’
𐍆 f f f 𐍆𐌰𐌹𐌷𐌿 (faihu) *fehu fehu fæu fǣjo ‘cattle’
𐍇 x kh 𐍇𐍂𐌹𐍃𐍄𐌿𐍃 (xristus) *khristus xristus kristus kristus ‘Christ’
𐍈 ƕ hʷ, xw hw *𐍈𐍉𐍄𐌴𐌹𐌽𐍃 (ƕōteins) *hwōtīns hveoutijns hwœutîns huœutins ‘threat’
𐍉 ō ō 𐍅𐍉𐌳𐌰𐌽𐍃 (wōdans) *wōdans vouðans wôðɴs wōðnas ‘Odin’
𐍊 900 - - ‹𐍊› did not have a phonetic value in Gothic: It was used solely to represent the number ‘900’.

Key Differences Between Griutungi and the Biblical Gothic of Wulfila

Aside from a slightly modified orthography, Griutungi also differs from “Biblical” or “Wulfilian” Gothic in several minor but important ways.


/nd/ vs. /nθ/

  • The Gothic third person plural and gerund ending –nd shows the variation –nþ in Griutungi. The –nþ ending also appears in the ordinal forms of some numbers where we would otherwise expect –nd, e.g. *njunþa ‘ninth’ next to Gothic njunda, or *frijōnþs (Valthungian frīnþs) ‘friend’ by frijōnds (Valthungian **frīnǧ). However, we cannot posit a post-Gothic change of nd > nθ, because other instances of nd still occur in several nouns, such as *winds ‘wind’ (Valthungian winǧ) or *þūsundi ‘thousand’ (Valthungian þūsunde).

Retention of Siever’s Law

  • Griutungi (and indeed even modern Valthungian) maintains the Siever’s Law distinction (i.e. the distinction between “long-stem” and “short-stem” roots) in the neuter of ja-stem nouns and adjectives. This distinction was retained in the masculine in Gothic, but was lost in the neuter. E.g. Compare Gothic stukkjis, genitive of stukki ‘piece’ to Griutungi *stukkīs. This distinction can still be observed in Modern Valthungian in that these “long-forms” do not show palatalization; here, stȳkis, whereas, if if were descended directly from the Gothic, we would find **stȳčis.

Glide Retention

Based on the later development of Verschärfung in words like rōgna ‘to row’, sǣžin ‘to sow’, frǣjo ‘seed’, it is likely that the long vowel lowering that Gothic underwent did not happen in the same way in the development of Griutungi, and that the latter must have retained a glide between stressed and unstressed vowels: e.g. Gothic rauan, saian, fraiw (/rɔ̄an/, /sɛ̄an/, /frɛ̄w/), but Griutungi *rǭwan, *sǣjan, *frǣw (/rɔ̄wan/, /sɛ̄jan/, /frɛ̄w/).

/w/ vs. /u/

In the orthography of Gothic, 〈w〉 is used in word-final or pre-consonantal environments where it would be expected to have a vocalic value. The same applies to the other labiovelars 〈q〉 and 〈ƕ〉. In Griutungi, this is reconstructed as /u/: e.g. Gothic farws ‘colorful’, saƕt ‘thou sawest’, saggqs ‘sinking’; Griutungi: *farus, *sahut, *sankus.


  • The most immediately noticeable difference between Gothic and Griutungi is the second person pronoun. Each has þu for the nominative, but the accusative and dative forms in Gothic replaced the vowel with the /u/ of the nominative (þuk and þus) while Griutungi retained the Germanic form (*þik and *þis).
  • The elective pronouns with -hun are indeclinable in Gothic (i.e. 𐍈𐌰𐍃𐌷𐌿𐌽 for all cases), while in Griutungi they still present a full range of inflections (e.g. hwashun, hwishun, hwammahun, &c).


  • Griutungi also retained the “short forms” of the anomalous verbs *gangan and *standan, which either disappeared from Gothic entirely or were never used in any of the texts that have survived to our time. Specifically, the verb *gǣn ‘to go’ was used beside the long form *gangan (Gothic gaggan), and *stǣn ‘to stand, to stay’ beside *standan. Griutungi also retained the verb *dōn ‘to do’, which was usually expressed in Gothic by the verb taujan (Griutungi *tǭjan).


  • The Germanic preposition *tô remains in Griutungi as *tō, while in Gothic it inexplicably – despite several conflicting theories, all of which seem like a bit of a stretch – became du; Griutungi seems to have also had *du, used in a benefactive sense, though it was likely borrowed from Gothic proper sometime in the fifth or sixth century while the two languages were still fairly mutually intelligible.


  • Griutungi retains r/n alternation in certain heteroclitic nouns which only show /n/ in Gothic, e.g. *fōr/*funin ‘fire’ (Gothic fōn/funin), *watōr/*watna ‘water’ (Gothic wata/watna), and otherwise unattested in Germanic, *jikwōr/*jikwōn ‘liver’.
  • Several nouns show a difference in gender from their Gothic counterparts. Many of these differences may have occurred during later stages of the language, but some must necessarily have occurred before Gothic, such as retention of the feminine for ‘sun’ – sauil (n) in Gothic but *sōwilō (f) in Griutungi.
  • In the Gaulish or Proto-Celtic borrowing ambaxtos (‘minister, servant’), Gothic shows a reanalysis of the first syllable as and-; compare Gothic andbahti and Griutungi *ambahti (Valthungian ambāte ‘bureau’), Gothic andbahts and Griutungi *ambahts (Valthungian ambāts ‘officer’), Gothic andbahtjan and Griutungi *ambahtjan (Valthungian ambǣčin ‘to administrate’).


  • Many adjective endings in Valthungian have been replaced by borrowings from Latin over the course of many centuries, but even before this happened, there was a distinct difference between Griutungi and Wulfilian Gothic in the “-gaz” adjectives. In Gothic, -gs is preceded by the stem vowel of the noun from which is it derived, i.e. -ags (e.g. manags), -eigs (e.g. sunjeigs), and -ugs (e.g. handugs). Even accounting for later Latin influences, it is likely that Griutungi formed these with an ija-stem rather than an a-stem; i.e. -agīs (e.g. managīs), -igīs (sunīgīs), and -ugīs (e.g. handugīs). While the a-stem ending remains in modern Valthungian, it is often further modified by a Latin affix (e.g. Gothic audags/Griutungi ǭdagīs → Valthungian ǭðagalis), while the i-stems have been completely replaced by the Latin -icus.


  • The final vowel is not reduced in adverbs formed with –ba (from earlier Germanic bi), resulting in Valthungian –ve instead of the expected **–f, so Griutungi likely had *–bi in this position instead of the Gothic –ba.

Differences Likely Due to Later Changes

  • The final –t of the neuter interrogative pronoun (‘what’) was lost in Gothic, likely due to Coronal Consonant Deletion, but persists in Valthungian, though it is possible that –t was lost initially and then later added back from analogy with other neuter nominative and accusative pronouns, determiners, and adjectives (e.g. it, þat, hit, gōdat, &c.)
  • Weak verbs in Valthungian show no trace of the d-reduplication that occurs in Gothic in the past tenses (e.g. Gothic kambidēdun ‘they combed’ versus Griutungi kambidun). This is possibly a leveling of the paradigm, though it is likely that it was never manifested in the same manner that it was in Gothic.
  • Gothic has a small class of feminine nouns (sometimes called “i/ō-stems”) which follow the i-stem paradigm in the singular and the ō-stem in the plural. These nouns exclusively follow the i-stem in Valthungian. E.g. Gothic haims, plural haimōs, compared to Griutungi *hǣms, *hǣmīs.
  • The genitive singular of feminine i- and ō-stem nouns and adjectives in Valthungian is –is instead of the expected **–as (e.g. Gothic qēnais ‘wife’s’, gibōs ‘gift’s’, but Valthungian kwēnis, givis, suggesting a Griutungi *kwēnis and *gibis). This may be partially due to paradigmatic levelling, but it is assumed that at least the feminine i-stem paradigm in Griutungi was identical to the masculine in all cases except for the dative.
  • Gothic shows an alternation in the comparative and superlative of adjectives where some take an ō- ending and other take i-. Valthungian exclusively takes i- for comparison. It is unknown whether Griutungi used both forms.
  • The numbers 70, 80, and 90 in Gothic took a different ‘tens’ form which does not appear in Valthungian, though likely due to later analogy. Gothic sibuntēhund ‘70’, ahtautēhund ‘80’, niuntēhund ‘90’, but Griutungi *sibuntigjus, *ahtǭtigjus, *niuntigjus; Valthungian sivuntiǧis, ātatiǧis, njuntiǧis.
  • Valthungian also has a curious “trial distributive,” þrǣ, comparable to the dual (Gothic bai), though this is likely an innovation to the language well after Gothic times, rather than evidence of a Griutungi *þrǣ.