Moses KatzDownload this article

University of Georgia



The Gothic language is unique among Germanic languages in several regards. It is the only one to retain a synthetic passive, an inheritance of the Indo-European medio-passive. It is also the only Germanic language to purportedly have no functional perfect tense, a tense that develops in full in all other Germanic languages in the form of various periphrastic constructions. Gothic does have periphrastic constructions that combine the verbs 'be' or 'become' and a perfective participle, but these forms are almost universally considered to be supplementary ways to express passive voice. My study examines the manifold semantics of these periphrases and seeks to show how things considered to be one type of entity make up separate parts of a passive system: one a regular passive, the other a perfect passive. By analyzing the complete number of these constructions in the Gothic corpus, I isolate separate axes of tense, aspect and voice. All three of these correspond to systematic modes of translation used to port the Greek New Testament into the Gothic one.


Katz, Moses. 2016. Resultativity in Gothic: The Resultative as a Model for Periphrastic Distribution in the Passive Voice. UGA Working Papers in Linguistics 3, The Linguistics Society at UGA: Athens, GA.


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