The Presence of Aramaic Verb-Stem Distinctions in Gothic Verbs
In the Gothic Bible, hnaiwjan‘to humble, to abase’ and its compounded forms point to pre-Gothic sources. The evidence suggests that their origins can be traced to distinct Aramaic verb-stems where the meaning of a verb is determined by how the verb is constructed. Despite the absence of the traditional Aramaic verb prefixes, they demonstrate lexical agreement with the Aramaic verb-stems of Pe`al, Haph`el, and Hithpe`el in the active, causative, passive, and reflexive usage.
The origins of Gothic hnaiwjan and several closely-related verbs stem from the Aramaic root KN` ‘to bend down.’ A few of them underwent the historical Germanic sound shift of k > h. Although hnaiwjan has long gone obsolete, modern English kneel derives from the same lexical pedigree. Preverbs which attach to Gothic verbs often appear superfluous, for example, ga- as in ga-hnaiwjan, yet they have a significant role in the preservation of Aramaic verb-stem distinctions. Their primary function appears to be that of modifying the meaning of a verb according to its former Aramaic verb-stem distinction. Gothic hnaiwjan and its peers present the main case for their correspondence to discrete Aramaic verb-stems in terms of form and meaning.
The Aramaic root KN` illustrates how ancient Aramaic verb-stems, based on their word root, formed words with distinct meanings. The stems of KN’, Pe`al (basic), Haph`el (causative), and Hithpe`el (passive or reflexive) are shown below. Note that the root has the lexical capability to depict concrete actions as well as abstract notions, such as lowering the status of a person or the humble or humiliated attitude of a person. Biblical Hebrew verb-stems functioned essentially in the same way as their Aramaic counterparts. As Aramaic was the lingua franca of its day with a larger corpus, this paper mainly refers to Aramaic verb-stems.
Aramaic Pe`al (basic stem) — ‘to bend down’; ‘to humble oneself’
In this stem, the meaning is equivalent to that of the Gothic base word hnaiwjan.
Abstract — he that humbleth (hnaiweiþ) himself shall be exalted (Luke 14:11; 18:14) 2 instances
Concrete — the Son of man hath not where to lay his head (anahnaiwjai) (Matt 8:20) 1 instance
Note: The preverb ana- is used as prepositional marker to indicate the directionality of the action.See another example of ana- under the heading hneiwan below.
Aramaic Pe`al (as a participle passive) — ‘to be depressed, mournful’ 1 instance
This meaning is in the participle form, equivalent to that of Gothic hnaiwidaim, as translated in the following passage:
God, that comforteth those that are cast down (hnaiwidaim) (2 Cor 7:6)
The outline below offers the Aramaic definitions of KN` as recorded in A Dictionary of the Targumim, The Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature, and the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon (CAL). The different forms of Gothic hnaiwjanare matched to Aramaic verb-stems according to their shared meaning. The New Testament passages where the Gothic forms occur are excerpted from the King James Version  and the number of Gothic instances is given for each stem. Note that the prefixes of a verb which normally occur in most of Aramaic verb-stems  are assumed to have disappeared in the Gothic verbs.
Note: Above, hnaiwidaim is a participle like that of its Aramaic counterpart. It is one of two different verb forms that the translator used to render the Greek adjective tapeinous ‘lowly in spirit.’ The other verb form is gahnaiwidans in Luke 1:52 (see below). These word choices indicate that the interpretation of their contexts was necessary in order to determine the appropriate choice of Gothic verb forms.
Aramaic Haph`el (causative) — ‘to subdue’; ‘to humble’ 6 instances
In this stem, the meaning is equivalent to that of Gothic hnaiwjan with the preverb uf-.
For he put all things under (ufhnaiwida) his feet (1 Cor 15:26)
he hath put all things under (ufhnaiwida) his feet (1 Cor 15:27)
which did put all things under (ufhnaiwida) him (1 Cor 15:27)
put all things under (ufhnaiwjandin) him (1 Cor 15:28)
And hath put all things under (ufhnaiwida) his feet (Eph 1:22)
he is able even to subdue (ufhnaiwjan) all things unto himself (Phil 3:21)
Note: The preverb uf- sometimes evokes the meaning of under.
Aramaic Hithpe`el (passive or reflexive) — ‘to be humbled, humiliated’; 4 instances
‘to lower one’s self, be humble’
In this stem, the meaning is equivalent to that of Gothic hnaiwjan with the preverb ga-.
and exalted them of low degree (gahnaiwidans in a participle form) (Luke 1:52)
every mountain and hill shall be brought low (gahnaiwjada) (Luke 3:5) 
For whosoeverexalteth himself shall be abased(gahnaiwjada) (Luke 14:11)
every one that exalteth himself shall be abased (gahnaiwjada) (Luke 18:14)
Note: The preverb ga- occurs more frequently than any other preverb and it performs more than one function. In the limited instances cited in this paper, ga- modifies the meaning of the verb .
A degree of arbitrariness may be involved when matching the above Gothic forms to their Aramaic counterparts. Yet, in these fourteen instances, the role of Gothic preverbs appears to designate a particular nuanced meaning of hnaiwjan which agrees with Aramaic verb-stem distinctions. Gothic hnaiwjan functions as a verb class, relying on preverbs to mark a lexical nuance , while Semitic verbs use verb-stems to express a lexical distinction. Despite the conspicuous absence of Aramaic prefixes, the forms of hnaiwjan conform well to the Aramaic verb-stem distinctions.
The Case of Gothic hneiwan, haunjan
Aramaic Pe`al (basic stem) — ‘to bend down’; ‘to humble oneself’
In this stem, the meaning is equivalent to that of the Gothic base word hneiwan. 1 instance
And when the day began to decline (hneiwan) (Luke 9:12 NASB)
In this stem, the meaning is equivalent to that of hneiwan with the preverb ana- 1 instance
…whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down(anahneiwandsin a participle form)(Mark 1:7)
While their usage is meagre in the small corpus of the Gothic Bible, hneiwan ‘to decline, bend downwards’ and haunjan‘to abase, humiliate’  offer insight into how the different but related meanings of Aramaic KN’ were preserved in the Gothic context.
Aramaic Pe`al (basic stem) — ‘to bend down’; ‘to humble oneself’ 2 instances
In this stem, the meaning is equivalent to that of the Gothic base word haunjan.
Have I committed an offence in abasing (haunjands in a participle form)myself (2 Cor 11:7)
I know both how to be abased (haunjan)… (Phil 4:12)
Aramaic Hithpe`el (passive or reflexive) — ‘to be humbled, humiliated’; 2 instances
‘to lower one’s self, be humble’
In this stem, the meaning is equivalent to that of Gothic hnaujan with the preverb ga-.
my God will humble (gahaunjai) me among you (2 Cor 12:21)
as a man, he humbled (gahaunida) himself (Phil 2:8)
On the basis of these two instances, the concrete meaning of hneiwan answers to the Pe`al verb-distinction. Incidentally, hnaiwjan is considered a causative of hneiwan  and the cognate of Old English hnaegan `to cause to bow, bring low, humble, humiliate’ . While hnaiwjan and hneiwan are unquestionably lexical pairs , it is possible, due to the narrowing of meaning, that they emerged as free-standing words representing the causative and basic verb-stems of the Semitic root KN`.
The first two instances convey the abstract denotation of haunjan, which is congruous with the Aramaic Pe`al.Although this verb is conveyed in the passive voice in the English translation of Phil 4:12, it is actually in the infinitive form in Gothic. The two other occurrences are gahaunjan, whose meaning agrees with that of the verb-stem Hithpe`el. However, the Gothic verb in 2 Cor 12:21 is written neither in the passive voice, nor with a reflexive pronoun. This occasion suggests that the preverb ga- disregards the need for grammatical agreement in order to particularise the meaning of ‘to humiliate,’ as rendered in the New American Standard Bible, “my God may humiliate me before you.’ In contrast, the verb in the Phil 2:8 passage grammatically agrees with the Hithpe`el stem and the reflexive pronoun which accompanies it. Apparently, intended meaning takes priority over grammatical agreement, hence the grammatical inconsistency observed in these two instances .
The Case of Gothic ga-kunnan
Aramaic Hithpe`el (passive or reflexive) — ‘to bow to a superior’ 3 instances
In this stem, the meaning is equivalent to the subsense of kunnan with the preverb ga-.
when all things shall subject (gakunnun) themselves unto him (1 Cor 15:28) 
then shall the Son also subject himself unto (gakann)him (1 Cor 15:28)
But we did not yield in subjection (gakunþedum)to them (Gal 2:5 NASB)
Only three instances of ga-kunnan ‘to submit’ occur in Gothic . They appear to reflect the original meaning of kunnanbefore it succumbed to the more ascendant sense of “to know” which is prevalent in the Germanic dialects.The origin of kunnan is the Semitic root KN`, but this root coincides with the similarly pronounced root KWN ‘to be correct, firm’ (which later evolved to denote ‘to know’ in Germanic) . This phonological similarity results when ayin (`),a guttural not pronounced in Germanic, is dropped. Aramaic lexicons define KN` “to bow to a superior” as in the subsense of the Hithpe`el verb-stem .
The significance of ga-kunnancomes to light in one little-recognized parallelism in the Gothic Bible . Two of three instances of this word are involved in this parallelism. The Greek text of 1 Cor 15:27-28 contains the verb hupotasso“to subject, put in subjection” six times in various forms. In the Gothic translation, the beginning clause in the Greek verse 27 is repositioned to the beginning of the Gothic verse 26, which translates hupotasso to Gothic ufhnaiwida.In verse 27, ufhnaiwida is used twice for hupotasso. In the succeeding verse, the translator favoured two different Gothic verb forms, gakunnun and gakann instead of ufhnaiwida, whilerepeating the latter for the last instance of Greek hupotasso.
The translator evidently read verses 27-28 for what they were: a synthetic parallelism contained in two verses. He took literary license rendering the passage synonymous in Gothic while mitigating the redundancy of Greek hupotasso . The narrative juxtaposition of gakunnan and ufhnaiwida is striking, as it points to their common historical root.
The Case for New Words
In Old English and Old Icelandic, several new words emerged from the root HN (which had evolved from KN`) with meanings conceptually similar to those of KN`. There is no Semitic counterpart which answers to their form, so they are considered secondary developments which occurred in Germanic, having taken on a different third consonant in place of the elided ayin, as shown below. The sources of the OE and Olc words are A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary and A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic.
OE hnægan ‘to bow down, bend, vanquish’
Olc hneigja ‘to bow, bow down, bend, incline’
OE hnîgan ‘to bow oneself, bend, bow down: fall, decline, sink’
Olc hnigna ‘to begin to sink, decline’
Olc hníga ‘to fall gently, sink down, incline’
OE hnipian ‘to bow down; bow the head, look gloomy’
Olc hnípna ‘to be downcast, droop’
On the basis of their lexical relationship to the root KN`, these words are likely innovative substitutions made by Germanic speakers when faced with the difficult task of pronouncing ayin. Whereas this Semitic guttural was frequently elided in the Greek and Latin texts, the final g or p succeeds ayin in the above Germanic words.
The third consonant g.
For some Semitic words, the Ancient Greeks transliterated ayin to g, such as Gaza for `azzah and Greek Pogor for Pe`or (Peor) . In OE, gomor ‘Hebrew measure, omer’ follows this custom, although this word may not be native to OE . Generally, the substitution of g for ayin in the initial position is well founded, but its placement in the final position is rather difficult to attest. OE hringan ‘to ‘ring,’ sound, clash’ yields perhaps a compelling link to a Semitic origin. It corresponds to Hebrew ruwa` ‘to make a loud noise,’ in which case ayin could be approximated as g in Germanic. Gesenius states that the Hebrew Hiph`il form of ruwa`, which prefixes a verb with h, defines the verb causatively ‘to make a loud noise’ . So, it is possible that under certain phonological conditions, g doubled to its geminated form gg, and then in Germanic it dissimilated to ng, a frequently observed conversion. The paradigm of hringan explains how hnaegan obtains g in the final position where ayin appears in the root KN` .
The third consonant p.
The OE words creopan ‘to creep, crawl,’ dreopian ‘to drop, drip’ , hleapan‘to leap,’ hoppian ‘to hop,’ and stupian ‘to stoop’ evoke the concept of a downward motion. Final p acts as the element that creates or attributes to this meaning. This concept is found in some Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic words such as BH `araph ‘to drop down’ and Aramaic dlp ‘to drip’ and sḥp ‘to throw down’ . So, the innovative use of p in the final position in word formation that expresses the concept of ‘downward motion’ predates Germanic.
Earlier in this paper, we saw that the Aramaic Pe`al stem of KN` denotes ‘to be depressed, mournful’ in its participle form. This meaning is captured as well in OE hnipian ‘to bow the head, look gloomy’ and in Olc hnipna ‘to become downcast, droop.’ These two words exhibit lexical compatibility with the meaning of KN`, and illustrate how a Semitic verb-stem with a particular meaning could be sustained in distinct, one-meaning words in Germanic.
The Case of OE cneowian
The word kneelowes its origin to cneowian which Bosworth defines ‘to bow the knee, to kneel’  before it was later suffixed with a l. Germanic linguists maintain that cneo‘knee’ derives from the PIE root *genu- found also in Latin genu and Greek gonu. Instead, it is suggested that the root KN` ‘to bend down’ is the source of Gothic kniu, Old Norse kne, Old Saxon kneo, and Old Frisian kni . These cognates all exhibit the elision of ayin, a Semitic guttural unpronounceable in Germanic. As KN` was originally a verb, cneo derives from the verb cneowian rather than the other way around.
At a first glance, the compound ge-cneowian‘to bend the knee, kneel’ does not seem to differ in meaning from cneowian. Bosworth cites one instance: He on díglum stówum gecneówige gelóme, translated as “let him frequently kneel in secret places” . This instance depicts the action of kneeling with a frequentative sense. It occasions how ge- sometimes expresses an intensive, durative, or iterative meaning of the verb, like verbs in the Pa``el stem, an Aramaic intensive verb-stem . The adverb gelóme ‘frequently’ reinforces the intended meaning of gecneówige in a completive manner . The preverb ge- appears redundant in this context and not surprisingly, it later disappeared in Old English.
The correspondence of Gothic hnaiwjan to the Aramaic verb-stem distinctions of KN` is significant in terms of meaning, form, and verb-stem. Gothic hneiwan, haunjan, ga-kunnan, and OE cneowian are lexical kindreds of hnaiwjan, sharing the parent root KN`. These findings suggest that other Gothic verbs and their suffixed forms also may show a similar cross-linguistic correspondence with Semitic verb-stems. Although ga-, uf-, and ana- are just a few of many Gothic preverbs, their instances underscore the unexpected importance of their role in maintaining Semitic verb-stem distinctions. Further inquiry is needed to clarify how Gothic preverbs may correlate to their former Aramaic verb-stems.
Blodgett was the first to note the conspicuous traces of the Semitic verbal prefixes in Germanic verbs. In his ground-breaking dissertation, he points out the resemblance of some Germanic verbs denoting ‘to help’ to the Hebrew Hiph`il . Elsewhere, other research also found Gothic thagkjan ‘to think, consider’  and throthjan ‘to exercise, train’  to bear signs of the Hithpe`el prefix. These verbs lost the initial consonant but retained th, while preserving the reflexive sense.
These compelling vestiges, it is suggested, present a unique snapshot in time of the almost complete disintegration of a Semitic language within the Gothic language. The delinking from a Semitic language must have been well under way before Gothic texts first surfaced in the fourth century. In this historical context there is much exploration to be done, but despite the ravages of time, Gothic verbs and their prefixed forms remain almost unbowed, defying explanation, as they appear to reflect lexical ghost images of Semitic verb-stems.
 The source of the KJV passages is the Wulfilia Project. Online: http://www.wulfila.be.
 The most common Aramaic stems with prefixes are Haph`el(ha- active causative), Hithpe`el (hith-passive or reflexive),and Hithph``al(hith- intensive; reflexive or passive). Initial h- later changed to ‘ (aleph) in the prefixation of verbs. O’Leary, De Lacy. Comparative Grammar of the Semitic Languages. London: Kegan Paul, 1923, 222, 227).
 The CAL cites one example “heaven and earth were humbled” in the Hithpe`el usage. Refer to the Gt lemma for the entry for KN` in The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon.
 Scholars recognize that the preverb ga- generally performs the functions of 1) marking verbs as perfective and 2) conveying the notion of togetherness in a word, besides modifying the meaning of a word.
 A verb class is a set of semantically-related verbs that convey a nuanced meaning according to their forms and functions in sentences.
 According to A Comparative Glossary of the Gothic Language and Dictionary of the Biblical Gothic Language.
 Balg, Gerhard. A Comparative Glossary of the Gothic Language. Milwaukee: Benton, Waldo, 1887, 177.
 Bosworth, Joseph. “hnaegan.” In An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Edited and enlarged by T. Northcote Toller. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1898,546.
 Lambdin, Thomas. An Introduction to the Gothic Language. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2006, 96.
 These two instances may indicate a degree of delinking from the Aramaic verb-stems at the level of grammatical agreement.
 Balg defines ga-kunnan ‘to acknowledge one's subjection’ as an extension of the meaning of kunnan ‘to know’ (ACGOTGL, 222.) He also includes the subsense of ga-kunnan ‘to subject one’s self.’
 The Aramaic lexicons cite a few examples of kwn that intimate the formative meanings of ‘to know’ and ‘to be able.’ A future paper will discuss how the meaning of ‘to be right in knowledge, skill, or conduct’ in Aramaic appears to have semantically evolved into Germanic words meaning ‘to know’ and ‘to be able’ (or ‘can’).
 Refer to the source references, namely to DJPA and Jastrow, given by The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon.
 The Gothic text contains the reflexive pronoun sik and poses the verb ga-kunnun ‘to subject oneself’ in the active voice. Accordingly, the translation is revised to read “when all things shall subject (gakunnun) themselves (sik) unto him,” whereas the English translation of the Greek text says ““when all things shall be subdued unto him.”
 In the Gothic version, 1 Corinthians 15:26 has six more words than the original Greek text: alluh auk ufhnaiwida uf fotuns imma whichtranslates “For he put all things under his feet.”In fact, this clause is missing in the Gothic verse 27; it is relocated to before “The last enemy that will be abolished is death” in verse 26. Because of this difference in word order, the Gothic passage necessitates a re-reading of verses 25-28. This King James Version of this passage is reproduced below. Compare the translations, as the context of verses 25-26 appears to be deliberately constructed as a synthetic parallelism. The Wulfilia Project avails the KJV and Latin translations of the Gothic Bible passages (Online: http://www.wulfila.be/gothic/browse/).
King James Version
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
English (rephrasing of the actual Gothic translation)
25 For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under (galagjan)his feet.
26 And he puts all things under (ufhnaiwida)his feet; the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Latin (English translation of the Latin translation of the Gothic passage)
25 And he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet.
26 And the last enemy shall be destroyed, death: for he hath put all things under his feet.
The English translation places “For he put all things under his feet” at the beginning of verse 26 (the Latin version provides a better reading by locating this clause at the end of the verse). This change in the word order clearly indicates intent on the part of the Gothic translator who establishes the synonymous alternation of words to express the same idea twice by using two different Gothic verbs, galagjib (“lay”) and ufhnaiwida (“subdue”), thus rendering them in the form of a parallelism.
 The second parallelism may be discernible when comparing the KJV, English, and Latin translations in verses 27-28:
King James Version
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
English (rephrasing of the actual Gothic translation)
27 And when he said all things are put under (ufhnaiwida) him, it is manifest that he is excepted, who did put all things under (ufhnaiwida) him.
28 But when all things shall subject (gakunnun) themselves to him, then shall the Son also be subject (gakann) Himself to Him who put all things under (ufhnaiwida) that may be all in all.
Latin (English translation of the Latin translation of the Gothic passage)
27 All things are subject to him, no doubt except him who subjected all things to him.
28 But when all things are subject to him, then the Son himself will be subject to him who subjected all things to himself, so that God may be all in all.
The KJV contains the wording “For he hath put all things under his feet,” which is excluded in the English and Latin translations. The original Greek has six instances of hupotasso within the passage. Gothic renders it as ufhnaiwida four times (including once in verse 26) and gakunnan twice in its different verb conjugations, presenting a clear example of “decisioned” translation by the Gothic translator.
 Baal of Peor (Num 25:3) is called Beelphegôr in the Septuagint.
 The term gomor may come from scribes familiar with the Greek and Latin custom of transliterating ayin to g. The Hebrew form is `omer.
 Hebrew Hiph`il is the equivalent of Aramaic Haph`el. Gesenius, Wilhem. Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, London: Bagster, 1857, 762.
 Vennemann proposes that the velar nasal ng was the substitution for ayin. ‘The Source of the Ing rune and of the Futhark.’ In Germania Semitica. Edited by Patricia Noel Aziz Hanna. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2010, 635.
 Another OE word drypan shares a consonant root similar to that of dreopan but bears a causative meaning: ‘to let drop, cause to fall in drops.’ Refer to A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary.
 The sources of the examples are Strong’s Concordance and CAL.
 Bosworth, AASD,162.
 Online Etymology Dictionary. Online: https://www.etymonline.com/word/knee.
 Bosworth, AASD, 380.
[26a] For example, the intense form of OE winnan ‘to fight’ is gewinnan, ‘to gain by fighting, conquer.’ Cook, Albert. A First Book in Old English Grammar Readers Notes and Vocabulary. Boston: Ginn,1921, 82.
[26b] McFadden indicates that the preverb ge- is related to resultativity (which indicates that something or someone has undergone a change in state as the result of the completion of an event). This paper opines that though resultativity is a term different from intensity of meaning, it may be a dimension of intensity. Thomas McFadden. “Preverbal ge- in Old and Middle English.” In ZAS Papers in Linguistics 58 (2015), 39-40.
 Jonathan West indicates that the meaning is inherent in a prefixed Gothic verb or is articulated by an adverb or another element in the context. This observation also is true in the case of gecneowige. Bucsko, John M. “Preverbs and Idiomatization in Gothic.” PhD diss,, The University of Georgia, 2008, 70.
 Blodgett, Terry M. “Phonological Similarities in Germanic and Hebrew.” PhD diss., The University of Utah, 1981, 23.
 Hemingway, John. “Evidence of the Semitic Verb Conjugation in Gothic THAGKJAN.” Hebrew Nations. Online: https://hebrewnations.com/articles/linguistics/hemingwayhgh.html.
 Hemingway, “Evidence of Semitic Verb Conjugation: Gothic Throthjan.” The Hidden Roots of Old English in the Semitic Languages. Online: https://youtu.be/Ngx2CdkP9MI. Presented as a slide show.