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Marchand's Asides:

     Biography of Junius    Codex Argenteus     On the usefulness of cognates


Someone asks about Franciscus Junius and the Codex Argenteus.  
First, Junius.  He was born in 1591 in Heidelberg, was educated in Holland, at that time one of the leading centers of humanistic learning.   His mentor was Gerardus Joannes Vossius. He was after 1621 mostly connected with England, as librarian and tutor.   He was one of the most learned men of the age, and certainly the foremost Germanic philologist, having studied the Murbach Hymns,Otfrid, Tatian, and other OHG documents before seeing the Codex Argenteus;in fact, he was in the middle of his work on Williram when he got to see the CA.
     See Franciscus Junius, Observationes in Willerami Abbatis Francicam Paraphrasin Cantici Canticorum, ed. Norbert Voorwinden.  Early Studies in Germanic Philology 1 (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1992).  
In fact, if you want to see how difficult it was for Junius to read the CAand the ridiculous mistakes he made, especially his problems with letters such as hw, j and q, read this book.

On the usefulness of cognates       back to Gothic 1

The Codex Argenteus

In the meantime, Sweden had gotten a new Queen (Christina; remember Greta Garbo), imperious and scholarly.   Her favorite was a young semi-French gallant named Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie.   He turned a mean calf (no falsche Waden a la Goethe) and had his own hair; one could write a great deal (and a great deal has been written) about their romance.   Both he and the queen were interested mainly in learning, and when Koenigsmarck took Little Prague in 1648, the queen was overjoyed at the opportunity to increase her library and wrote to her emissary (Stolpe 1960:21):  'Do not forget to take over and send to me the library and the rare items which are in Prague; as you know, that is the only thing I really care about.'

One of these rare items was the CA,which Rudolph II and Richard Strein had acquired from Werden, under not unsuspicious circumstances.   When the queen abdicated in 1654, she paid her librarian, Isaac Vossius, nephew of Junius, in books, among them the CA.  One of those lucky happenings; probably no one in the world was better equipped to read it than Junius, to whom the nephew confided it.   He had great troubles reading it, and his Observationesas well as his later edition show this.   He transliterated both g and j as g, for example.  It is mainly in his hand that the marginal notes in the CAare written.   

When Junius' editio princepscame out in 1664, the CAwas already back in Sweden, having been purchased by de la Gardie from Isaac Vossius.   De la Gardie gave it to the Library of Uppsala University, where he was chancellor, etc. etc.   Somebody ought to write a good book on de la Gardie, the Academy, Venngarn, the whole group who took part in incorporating the CAand Gothicism into Swedish intellectual life at the end of the 17th C.  The stuff of song and story and the font of wild romance.

If you are really interested in Junius' struggles and your library has the facsimile edition of the CA,look at the beginning of Luke (p. 135).  Junius was not the only one to deface the manuscript, and there are notes in other hands, underlinings, etc.
BTW, I have a Marchandian reconstitution of this in its pristine colors, etc.   Luke 1

BTWW. For the 99 and 44/100ths percent of you which are Swedish-enabled, there is a  translation (I kid you not) of the Gothic Bible into Modern Swedish, even including the Skeireins, in spite of its title: Aake (that's A with a circle over it) Ohlmarks, Goternas bibel.Evangeliet, tolkat foer vaara hedniska foerfaeder i den aeldsta germanska bibeln (one sees that the Goths are still the forefathers of the Swedes) (Stockholm: Kronos, 1962).  It also has a nice picture of one page in color on its jacket.

biography of Junius     back to Gothic 1

On cognates:

Someone asked me why I mentioned Bede in the discussion of -jan verbs in Gothic.  I had pointed to the pair hunsl 'sacrifice' and hunsljan 'to sacrifice'.

   I was just following Mimi's advice.  When you read a language like Gothic, it is good to make up your own sound laws as you go. Some may be 'wrong', but if they are right for you, they are right.   In Bede 4 25.348.4, Bede is getting ready to die and he commands them: "beradh me husl to."  Old English loses the nasal before an 's,' cf. German Gans and English goose.  In fact, English loses the nasal before all spirants.  

Cf. Mk 1:7: "qimiy swinyoza mis sa afar mis" (KJV): "there cometh one mightier than I after me."

Who does not remember OE swi/dhe :: 'very, mighty'? Just look at German sanft :: Engl. soft.  This, BTW, may show that the lowering of a before nasal in OE preceded the loss of nasal.  Mosse was a Frenchman, so he even proposed nasal vowels for OE. Cf.  also German Mund :: English mouth, showing compensatory lengthening and diphthongization.  Don't you just love it when people talk that linguistic stuff?

Whoever it was who asked me about verbs like _haurnjan_ 'to toot a horn' (<- _haurn_ 'horn')  sure knows how to ask them, as Joe used to put it.  When you learn a foreign language like Gothic, German, Russian, Greek or Latin, it is good to pay attention to word formation, since that can lighten your burden in learning vocabulary.

In Gothic, by far the largest class of verbs is that of Class I, weak, as we call it.  These are verbs in -jan, seen in German and Old English by their umlaut.   In fact, almost all verbs with umlaut in German are weak still. When these verbs are derived from nouns or adjectives, you simply take the noun or adjective stem and add -jan to it:

aiwaggeljo 'gospel' -> aiwaggeljan 'to preach the gospel',
doms 'judgment' -> domjan 'to judge' (note the umlaut in our doom -> deem),
hails 'healthy' -> hailjan 'to heal' (note the umlaut in our whole -> heal),
hauhs 'high' -> hauhjan 'to raise on high, to praise',
hunsl 'sacrifice' (remember Bede's death story) -> hunsljan 'to sacrifice',
huzd 'treasure' (Gothic -z- becomes English -r-) -> huzdjan 'to hoard',
mikils 'great' (remember English mickle) -> mikiljan 'to glorify',
siglo 'seal' -> sigljan 'to seal',
timr 'timber' -> timrjan 'to build'.  
Notice that these verbs often spread out in meaning, as always in languages, so that the last verb, timrjan, can also mean 'edify', as in Latin and Greek (oikodomein 'to build, edify'). A good trick to get the feel of the Gothic is to make up English -jan verbs, like "shoe-jan", "table-jan", "book-jan" -> 'to study, to write a book, to be a scholar'.  When you then run into Gothic bok-jan, it won't throw you.

Another thing these verbs do is to form causatives from strong verbs, and this has left its trace in English and (even more so) in German.   These verbs take the stem of the singular preterite and add a -jan:
sitjan (singular preterite 'sat') -> satjan 'to make to sit' (cf. our English sit -> set [note umlaut]),
ligan 'to lie' (sg. pret. 'lag') -> lagjan 'to make to lie' (cf. our Engl. lie -> lay),
drigkan 'to drink' -> dragkjan 'to give to drink' (cf. our English drink -> drench).
   Latching on to this trick can save you an enormous amount of time and also give you great satisfaction and smugitude:
hneiwan 'to kneel' -> hnaiwjan 'to conquer (i.e. to make to kneel)'.
  We are rapidly removing causatives from English, but German can be a good source for us:
sigqan 'to sink' -> sagqjan 'to cause to sink' (cf. German sinken -> senken).
  Our countersink (rise up, you carpenters) shows how far we have sunk.
Biography of Junius    Codex Argenteus    back to Gothic 1

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