Anyone interested in a Gothic course?

As a philologist I have long dreamed of creating a user-friendly, approachable Gothic course as most texts and "courses" related to Gothic are created for academics or are only for comparative linguistics...not at all user friendly or approachable for someone who is not a language nerd.

Unfortunately, I am very bad at website programming, CSS, PHP and all the other crazy coding it would take to come up with such a course. When I discovered the Duolingo I said to myself "This is the kind of course I could only dream about creating for Gothic learners!" Free, user friendly, fun, game-like and even presenting feedback and discussion options to help improve the course.

My question is: Do you think Duolingo would allow me and other Gothic community contributors to create a Gothic course with the incubator? Would you or anyone you know be interested in learning Gothic if the course was available to you and them?

For those of you who do not know, Gothic is an extinct language spoken by the eastern Germanic tribes who are famous for "sacking Rome." It is the oldest Germanic language we have any written record of and the only East Germanic language we have any record of. We have a great deal of the Gothic language preserved in Wulfila's translation of the Bible into Gothic. While he did create a unique writing system for Gothic, it can be (and usually is) written in an adapted Latin alphabet nowadays for convenience' sake.

While Gothic is popular for linguistics purposes, it is also popular among niche communities. Gothic language enthusiasts have a facebook group and Yahoo! group and even reconstruct words for modern settings using comparative linguistics in efforts to revive the language. Gothic revivalists have even created a Gothic Wikipedia portal and work to translate articles into the Gothic language!

Because Gothic is an extinct language, there would be no need to create a "English for Gothic speakers" course, however many Gothic speakers are of German nationality and have developed Gothic courses for German speakers. I have no doubt my German friends in the community may also develop a Gothic for German speakers course if we are able to construct one for English speakers.

Your thoughts, anyone?


November 19, 2013


Sorry to reply to my own post, but I wanted to share some links:

Facebook Gothic Language Group:

Yahoo! Group:

Gothic Language Wikipedia:

And here's a link to the most famous (though old) grammar of the Gothic language written in English-- Grammar of the Gothic Language - Joseph Wright (Free eBook) :

There are other free grammar books that are available as free eBooks for e-readers or as PDFs, etc., as they are older and the copyright expired. That said, they are difficult to read and just no fun! I think learning a fun language like Gothic deserves a fun, free language course that will encourage the user to come back and keep learning...

November 19, 2013

If you know Gothic then you should make a course on Memrise! You continues to worry about coding or anything it's all set up already you just make the couse!!! You gotta do that it'll be a HUGH help!!

July 5, 2019

Update as the incubator now accepts proposal to learn different languages from English, I have just submitted my proposal (in English and Gothic) to be a course moderator for a "learning Gothic from English" course. Once this course is complete I look for some comrades of mine to possibly create a Gothic from German and Gothic from Swedish course as well :). The content will already be there and I know the Gothic language community has a large following in these languages groups! :D

The auto-reply suggests that it will take a few weeks for them to respond (as they are s-w-a-m-p-e-d with crazy amounts of applications!) and once I hear back my contributors and I will get to work and I will attempt to post a few updates throughout the process in case anyone out there is crazy enough to be looking forward to learning Gothic :)

If anyone out there knows any Gothic linguists who would find the course development to be a fun project, please send them my way! I do have two contributors thus far who are on board but any additional input will be warmly received on this project. :)

February 7, 2014

Hi underwood.jones,

Thank you for applying to create a course! I know there are some people who are really looking forward to a Gothic course. ^_^

I just wanted to clear up any possible misunderstandings you or others might have:

  • People can apply to create any course that they want. However, applying is not a guarantee for acceptance.
  • Each course in Duolingo is expected to be built to the same quality as can be delivered by professionals. So, each application will be vetted like an application for a serious job. People need to be able to communicate effectively in a team setting, be available for many hours each week, have the experience of learning on Duolingo course (which is looks like you're taking 4 which is awesome! :D).
  • From the pool of applicants, Duolingo chooses language one or two language experts to lead the course moderation.
  • In addition, while the default general message is that it could take a couple of weeks to hear back, sometimes it can take a month or longer.
  • Once Duolingo has a solid pool of qualified applicants, there is no guarantee that the building of the course will start immediately. Languages are being rolled out in a paced fashion.

Good luck with your application underwood.jones!

February 7, 2014

Thanks Usagiboy7! We're being very patient about it and taking the time to plan out the execution and curriculum so that the course moves slowly and introduced the nuances of the language and its grammar in a user-friendly that does not frustrate or intimidate the new learner (which is Duolingo's approach, and why we love it so!) I do have two other contributors who are excellent linguists and prepared to contribute. I do have a question: Do my contributors also have to apply to the incubator? They have created Duolingo accounts and my plan was to just add them if/when my application was approved?

February 10, 2014

Yes, anyone who wants to contribute needs to apply. :) (And it's good to show DL that there is a pool of qualified applicants in case backups are needed at a later date for any reason.)

February 10, 2014

I think you should do both, make an attempt at designing an online course, and also contribute on Duolingo. Regardless of how it will be implemented in duolingo, the grammar, and other peculiarities of the language will not be fully implemented, since duolingo doesn't emphasize those things.

I actually think this should be one of the goals of Duolingo, free language learning, and preserving ancient, almost extinct languages.

Good luck in your endeavours.

November 20, 2013

Ah, what a terrific idea! I'm on-board to take a course in Gothic. Best of luck with incubating it!

November 20, 2013

Not exactly on the top of my list, but a lovely idea! I hope you get the opportunity to do it! (Personal wish list: Latin, Icelandic, Russian, Attic Greek, Sanskrit… in about that order.)

November 20, 2013

I think if Duolingo announced they were getting Icelandic, I would just drool. It looks so cool.

November 20, 2013

Agreed! I believe there has been a large Latin and Russian interest voiced. I think that Attic Greek and "koiné" could be part of a single course rather than requiring two large developments, but I could be wrong. I minored in Biblical Greek (koiné) but I did not apply myself enough to be an expert on that issue...a better Greek student might be able to offer more insight. As for Sanskrit, that would be quite an accomplishment to add someday! I wonder if others have suggested it?

November 20, 2013

[deactivated user]

    Speaking of voicing and Icelandic... A lot of Icelandic sonorants are unvoiced

    April 6, 2017

    Very nice proposition! Good luck with that!

    November 20, 2013

    Yes please! I wish someone would also incubate Latin.

    November 20, 2013

    Yes! I would love to learn Gothic in Duolingo, because I couldn't find any other place where I can learn Gothic properly, and it would be great to be able to learn Gothic properly. A Gothic course might not be very popular, since this language is spoken only by a very small number of people, but this language is very interesting and it can teach you about the origins of lots of languages such as English, German and Dutch.

    If you know Gothic, please please please try to create a course in Gothic!

    June 23, 2015

    Thank you for your support! Spread the word and hopefully we will hear back about our application when more language have graduated from the incubator :) Your enthusiastic words are most encouraging!

    June 24, 2015

    I would love to learn Gothic, actually. I'm all for it!

    September 23, 2015

    I believe that DL has a list of languages it plans to give priority in the Incubator. After that, they've shown a willingness to include languages like Klingon. (I don't have a screen shot but, back when the Incubator idea was introduced, it had the symbols for various languages imprinted on eggs, and one egg was Klingon.) If there are qualified folks who apply to create a course for Gothic, I'm going to bet that it will be approved at some point. ^_^

    UPDATE: I was looking around for a pic of the Klingon egg when I found this CNN article about Klingon, Elvish, Dothraki, etc.

    November 20, 2013

    I know this post is old, but I would love this. I speak a little Gothic currently.

    July 12, 2016

    Thanks! I like your profile pic! Quite an homage to the tribe ;) Hopefully someday Duo will support it, and if they approve us I will work hard to bring it about :)

    July 12, 2016

    You're welcome, and thanks! Do you speak Gothic? Even though there are so few people who do online, I wish Gothic speakers/enthusiasts could have a space on the internet to gather and share information. I think a Gothic Duolingo course would help add momentum to our "movement", and I could try to help build the course if it gets approved.

    July 13, 2016

    I'm not sure why I didn't see this post sooner, but yes! I started studying Gothic in college and am quite an enthusiast, we also have a Gothic language facebook group if you are interested in interacting with other enthusiasts and strengthening your skills. Most of it is translation rather than conversational but it's a great group. I would love your help in the incubator if we ever did get approved, and I encourage you to apply to be a contributor--maybe it'll strengthen our case!

    August 16, 2016

    Oh, what colleges teach Gothic? I'd really like to take that class if possible.

    And what's the link for the Facebook group?

    August 16, 2016

    Here's the Gothic group:

    And I think Ohio State University had a Gothic course or at least a language group, we had a Germanic linguistics PhD professor there who was going to help us build our course but as we have still not heard back years later he may have moved onto other projects...hopefully we can rope him back into it if we are approved ;)

    Personally, I studied it on my own using Bennett's book and online courses like the one by David Salo that you have linked (I wish he had added to or finished his course!)

    August 17, 2016

    Very interested!

    November 20, 2013

    I'm interested in it , an extinct language, Is what I find fascinating :D It could be revived which is more fascinating.....

    November 21, 2013

    Please please please please please make this happen!!!!!! Pretty please?

    January 18, 2016

    Now don't be hasty, Master Maxos ;) Just kidding, I'm workin' on it, but as many living languages are in the incubator at the moment, it is unlikely that we will be chosen soon. That said, I have been at work over the years assembling resources so that we can hit the ground running once we are added. We also have our dream team lined up, assuming all individuals remain available when we are added. There is little more we can do as it is in Duo's hands now, but we stand ready!

    January 18, 2016

    Hey, I was just wondering what's the idea behind this course, to be able to learn Gothic that will enable to understand the bible? or a more modern and complete version of the Gothic language, that lands more into the conlang territory. I know people are kinda divided between these two options, but I'll love to fully speak in it, so I'm more fan of the latter, but it's hard to reconstruct the words in a way that everyone is happy. But anyway, I'm very interested :)

    November 27, 2017

    Actually, since the Bible was written in Biblical Hebrew, the only choice would be the latter, unless you were reading the Gothic translation of the Bible. Either way though, I really hope this gets made, Gothic seems to be quite an interesting language.

    November 27, 2017

    Oh, yep, I meant the Gothic translation of the bible. Yeah! and it's nice to see so many people interested in it.

    November 27, 2017

    I would love to learn Gothic!!!!!!!!

    March 9, 2016

    Yup, sign me up!

    August 8, 2016

    I couldn't possibly be more in favor of this. Please try to make this course! I will give you all my lingots, start doing the beta course within the hour it's out, and summon Wulfilas to include you in his bible.

    September 9, 2016

    I'd be keen, love me some extinct languages

    October 1, 2016

    I'd gladly contribute to that if it made it to the incubator

    December 23, 2016

    I did not even know this was a language until now... but I mostly want to learn it so that I can go to various night clubs with specific dress codes and shout this language to people over blaring industrial music.

    Or just wait until one of the elitists that hang out at those clubs scaring the crap out of baby bats with their nonsense... and start talking about the weather to them in Gothic.

    Yes... I know, "not that kind of Goth"... but I like to think I am totally hilarious.

    January 29, 2018

    I know that this is 5 years late but I would love a Gothic course. :)

    January 30, 2019

    I'll do your course right after i refreshed my latin an aramaic ;)

    Thinking about it ...

    It is not a ";)", it is a "!!!"

    November 21, 2013

    I'm always interested in older languages, especially ones that are used with less frequency, and this one interests me quite a bit. I'd love to take this course! I would like to help with the most basic stuff myself, if someone could recommend me sources to begin learning.

    July 18, 2016

    If you're looking to learn Gothic, I've got you covered: It's a masterpost of Gothic language resources I've made, and if you or anyone are looking for some, these are all the ones I know of!

    July 18, 2016

    Ah, thank you so much. I can already tell your list is going to be an /enormous/ help.

    July 19, 2016

    You're very welcome! And if you ever want to practice Gothic or talk about it, I'd be glad to!

    July 19, 2016

    I'm also interested in learning Gothic.

    October 25, 2016

    This language is so awesome, it would be great if it was available here.

    December 3, 2016

    Greetings from the German association for the Gothic Language. I'd be a really happy man if this would go through and we'd have a Gothic Duolingo course! Count me in :)

    November 4, 2017

    I would learn the heck out of that.

    August 4, 2018

    To be honest, I don't know how or where I would use this language, but it's in my languages-that-I-want-to-learn list. I know there were talks of make believe languages for the incubator a while back, like Klingon and stuff like that, so I think if people like you were willing, we could have courses like that.

    I'd be so excited to learn it! If you have the time, please sign up for it when the incubator is fully out!

    November 19, 2013

    Thank you buunny! I'm surprised to hear you say it is on your list! Most have never heard of the language. I fell in love with it during college when I saw a book for it online and said to myself, "That's a language? ...I don't know why but...I must learn it!" :P

    November 19, 2013

    Haha. I'm a bit of a language freak. I'm very interested in ancient languages, but it's very hard to learn them because there are few courses offered for them. I think Duolingo is the perfect platform for languages like Gothic or Latin or Aramaic to be taught to a worldwide audience.

    I know what you mean about not very well known, though. When I saw this topic I smiled and thought, "It can't be that Gothic that they're talking about." Lol.

    November 19, 2013

    If you can provide the contributors, I can't imagine that Duolingo would object to you creating the course. There are periodic discussions here on the possibility of creating courses in extinct and niche languages, and the general impression I have is that anything goes provided you can find the volunteers!

    As to the potential number of learners -- hard to guess, but Duolingo had 10 million users at last count, so even if only 0.01% of them are interested in Gothic you'll have over a thousand takers.

    November 20, 2013

    Genuinely curious--how do you reconstruct the sounds of an extinct language? If Duolingo were to eventually offer Gothic (which would be cool!) how would we know what Gothic would have sounded like?

    September 30, 2016

    Germanic linguists have reconstructed the phonology of Gothic based on sounds that are and were present in living and contemporary extinct languages and how we have noticed their evolutions over the centuries. We can also compare Gothic writing to how Wulfila transliterated ancient Greek proper nouns (place and personal names) and that has served as one of our best resources, since we know with relative certainty how ancient Greek was pronounced. That said, there are a few theories on diphthongs out there, specifically two camps on how ái and aí and áu and aú were pronounced. Joseph Wright states they were pronounced differently and Thomas Lambdin states they were pronounced the same, since after all they were actually written the same without the accent marks. I subscribe to the Wright theory, which is the oldest theory, and the phonology which even Tolkien fell in love with. Lambdin's is perfectly acceptable as well, though I would certainly prefer to write the course with Wright phonology and maybe make some notes describing Lambdin's. Who knows, maybe we could offer two audio options (doubtful though).

    October 4, 2016

    I appreciate the thorough answer, thank you! I'm actually even more intrigued by Gothic as a language now. The links you provided are very useful for getting a good solid background while we all wait for this to be a course offering.

    October 25, 2016

    Where is the language spoken? Because I didn't know Gothic was a language!

    October 29, 2016

    Hi there! The Gothic language was spoken throughout Eastern Europe and other areas in Europe, including Spain, until around the 9th century and survived in Crimea until at least the mid 1500's and possibly until the 18th century. Tolkien wrote creatively in Gothic, we have a poem of his called "Bagme Bloma" and other works have been translated into Gothic, such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Little Prince, some Christmas Carols, etc. Gothic is the oldest Germanic language we have existing examples of, and it actually helps me learn other Germanic languages because it is so old that it is very, very similar to Proto-Germanic, the (reconstructed) language that all other Germanic languages evolved from. For that reason, linguists are very interested in studying it, but current resources are so academic it can be hard to learn it well and commit any of it to a Duo course would be quite useful for the budding linguist student. :)

    November 1, 2016

    I would gleefully jump on a Gothic course, so I hope you're able to do it sometime!

    November 1, 2016

    It's a dead language.

    October 29, 2016

    Okay...then why are people asking for it?

    October 29, 2016

    Same reason people want to learn other dead languages.

    October 29, 2016

    great post.

    November 7, 2016

    Yes! I am 100% behind any efforts to make a Gothic course! Good luck!

    February 17, 2017

    I could certainly contribute to this course. I've studied the language independently for a fairly long time now and am writing my thesis about it. There is however the problem of limited sources: for many common things we lack Gothic words, as all we have are some Bible books, a few signatures, scraps of a calendar and a few paragraphs of a Bible commentary, and some even more insignificant fragments. If such a course were to be made, it would likely have to be geared towards helping people understand what's left of the Gothic Bible, by far the longest source, and not towards helping people "speak" or even write Gothic. That is, unless you want to go full conlang and just make stuff up as you go along, as the 'Gothic' Wikipedia does -- which is not a good idea.

    March 14, 2017

    i would really love to learn it :D

    August 26, 2017

    This sounds amazing!! Thank you so much for your work on this, I really hope this all works out. I would love to learn Gothic!

    November 21, 2017

    Me too!

    January 12, 2018

    Hi, underwood.jones. I am glad to see that people are making an effort to revive some of the dead Germanic languages. I really hope that you are able to open this course for Duolingo users. If you want to open a website for the language, even if you don’t know website coding there are still numerous ways to do it. I am trying to do something of a similar sort, and am using Wix, though there are a lot of other good editors, as well. Best of luck, with whatever you are able to do. Toast

    November 26, 2017

    it sounds like a pretty cool language! I could impress my friends and teach the language to them!

    January 3, 2018

    I SO want to learn Gothic. Like a lot. It would be wonderful if a course for it was made.

    February 7, 2018

    Note that Gothic is a Germanic language and has tons and tons of cognates with German and many, though fewer, with English (due to very strong Romance influence on it). I can easily see this as being a somewhat "easy" language where your average English speaker could pick up some basics fairly easily, especially if they have some German, Dutch, or North Germanic skills.

    September 10, 2018

    I would def learn some. I think it would be really interesting

    December 19, 2018

    I'd LOVE something like that on Duolingo. But seeing the post is 5 yo, I think it will not happens anytime soon...

    June 5, 2019

    Is there even a big enough written corpus for us to use to build such a course? What about audio?

    August 11, 2016

    I don't think the small corpus is an issue. As for audio...linguists have a system of pronunciation, and diphthongs are the only controversy to my knowledge.

    August 16, 2016

    It's true, and I fall into the Joseph Wright camp on the diphthongs, but I think people pronouncing it the Lambdin way is okay too... If we were allowed to build the course I would use diacritics but still accept answers without them so as to please everyone.

    We'll just say youngsters these days who pronounce ái and aí the same just have a youthful accent ;)

    August 16, 2016

    I agree about the diphthongs, I'm a supporter of ái/áu/aí/aú. The way I see it is that the diphthongs are more of a rustic, ancient thing.

    August 16, 2016

    Yes, It's very interesting for me, i am related with the goths, so I will be thankful.

    March 27, 2017

    Please do it. I am also interested in the Sütterlin and the Kurrent writings. I am currently working on translating old family records. They fled Germany in 1933 and since then nobody touched the archive.

    April 9, 2017

    I'm personally rather interested in learning Gothic. I've been fascinated by it since my discovery of its existence some years ago. And given my family already has a strong German influence and preference, having Gothic at my personal disposal, and available for the rest of my family would be fantastic.

    Personally, I'd intend to use it as a family language. Something my children and nieces and nephews could learn to use to speak with one another. Possibly towards my siblings as well, but with less emphasis. This way we would have a means of communication amongst ourselves without interference or interjection from unwanted sources. Especially when discussing personal matters that my children may want to discuss but otherwise would have to wait until they were in a private setting. Having a method to discuss anything in public while still maintaining some privacy is a wonderful tool to have.

    May 22, 2017

    Gothic for english speaker or german speaker - both would be great

    May 30, 2017

    As the godmother of all Germanic languages after it, Gothic would be an incredibly good idea. One vote for this idea!

    June 12, 2017

    I would certainly love this to become a reality. Toghether with other ancient germanic languages, that would be superb.

    July 7, 2017

    This must happen!!! I really want to learn gothic because I am a bit of a language (and everyday!) nut, but I'm also twelve, so I can't really see myself being taught a language by competent people who take me seriously outside of duolingo. I wish you luck! :)

    July 20, 2017

    I'm confused...

    "Because Gothic is an extinct language..."

    "...many Gothic speakers are of German nationality..."

    Is it extinct or not?

    July 28, 2017

    It is an extinct language by all mainstream definitions, it is experiencing a revival. No one is raised speaking Gothic as their first language today, hence there are not native speakers of the language, and there are no communities that use it as their daily language at the moment. I think by "Gothic speakers" the poster referred to people who know Gothic and have a working command of the language.

    If Gothic were revived it would more specifically be referred to in academic circles as Neo-Gothic or Modern Gothic. I hope that answered your question! :)

    August 1, 2017

    I'd love it!

    November 2, 2017

    yes please

    November 6, 2017

    Sounds great. I'd love to learn Gothic.

    December 22, 2017


    February 6, 2018

    Yes. Just... Yes...

    April 24, 2018

    I really want to learn this language, i wish it was easier to learn, or there were courses for it

    March 21, 2019

    I would love this.

    April 22, 2019

    I would love this.

    April 22, 2019

    Yes i would love

    July 6, 2019

    This sounds very interesting to learn! ^w^

    July 29, 2019

    I would love to learn Gothic and other old languages like Latin and Old Norse.

    August 5, 2019
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