Typos in the Gothic

A footnote to the previous post: there is a bit of untranslated Gothic in Sprague de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall. I got enterprising about it one day when I was a kid and looked it up in my mother's old Gothic grammar (she was a Germanist). No luck. I finally figured out that the text had three typographical errors — in only six words, which is probably some kind of a record.

The correct reading is "Ho, frijond, allai skattjans sind waidedjans!", meaning "Hey, friend, all money-lenders are thieves". Excellent advice in context; however, as the person being addressed (the hero) doesn't understand Gothic, it's entirely wasted (which is probably why Sprague didn't translate it). Anyhow, you may all go fix your copies at once, please.

Sprague did point out some years later that he had made a grammatical mistake: the use of frijonds (nominative case) instead of frijond (vocative case).  Later editions fixed this but left the typos intact.  [Erroneous explanation deleted.]

Update: The "old Gothic grammar" turns out to have been Joseph Wright's Grammar of the Gothic Language.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Various Joyce scholars have claimed Joyce made multiple errrors in short phrases of Hebrew (etc?) in Ulysses.