Adjectives are inflected both attributively and predicatively. The neuter ending
-ata is never used predicatively, except in clauses omitting the verb "to
be", reflecting the syntax of the Greek, e.g. Rom 7,12: witoþ weihata
= nomos agios 'the Law is holy'.
a) Adjectives normally agree with their substantives for gender, case and number,
except that masculine often serves as a default for objects/persons of mixed/uncertain
gender, e.g. with indefinite pronouns, hvas, etc., referring to anyone,
male or female. This may be the case even when a neuter noun is specified: ni
wairthiþ garaihts ainhun leike 'no one [of bodies - i.e. "nobody"]
b) Adjectives accompanying managei
(f.sg.) 'crowd', and hiuhma (m.sg.) 'crowd, heap', tend to be masculine
plural: was managei beidandans; 'the crowd was waiting', but also common
is alla managei, and with a mixture of singular and plural: alls hiuhma
was managans beidandans 'and the whole crowd of the people was waiting'. Also
þai managistans 'the majority' [of a group of people, perhaps including
c) But neuter can be used to refer to a mixed
group, especially a male/female pair, as in Old Icelandic, and if a female is
specifically mentioned: aiþei þeina jah broþrjus þeinai
standand uta gasaihvan þuk gairnjandona 'your mother and brothers are
standing outside wanting to see you' (L, 8,20); wesunuh þan garaihta
ba in andwairþja gudis, gaggandona in allaim anabusnim jah garaihteim fraujins
unwaha 'they were both righteous in the sight of the God, walking in all the
commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless' (Zacharias & Elizabeth,
d) weis allai 'all of us' often appears referring to people in general, though it's hard to tell to what extent this was perceived as an address to only male people. Neuter plural alla often refers to "all things", but sometimes also "all [of these people]" (e.g. J 12,32 and J 17,10).
§ 3 Certain concepts expressed in English with an adverb or a noun, can in Gothic take the form of an adjective agreeing with the subject: galiþun ibukai 'they went back', or the object of the sentence: sitjandan in midjaim laisarjam 'sitting in the midst of the teachers'. In reflexive expressions such adjectives agree with the reflexive pronoun rather than the subject: ni gawandjai sik ibukana 'let him not turn back'. As in English, Gothic can say halba þiudangardja meina 'half my kingdom', or halbata aiginis meinis 'half of what I own', but note that even in the latter expression halbs is an adjective agreeing in gender and number with the total noun.
4 a) Some adjectives have only weak forms: fruma 'first'
(f. frumei), and all ordinal numbers except anþar (which is
always strong); sama 'same' (f. samo) - used with or without the
demonstrative pronoun; silba 'self' (f. silbo); aftuma 'last' (f.
aftumei); fairna 'last, previous' (f. not recorded); related to, but distinct
from fairneis 'old [of things]'). 'Left' and 'right' are always weak, their
feminine forms doubling as nouns: hleidumei 'left [hand]', taihswo
'right [hand]'. (Go. handus 'hand' is feminine.) Exclusively weak too are
comparatives (declined like managei in the feminine), and the present participle
(except that m. nom. sg. is declined strong where appropriate): nimands,
f. nimandei. But sa qimanda 'the one who is coming'.
b) Only declined strong are: all cardinal numbers, the ordinal anþar 'second', the possessive pronouns (meins 'my', etc.), and all pronominal adjectives: alls 'all', jains 'that one', sums 'some', swaleiks 'such', etc., as also the adjectives: fulls 'full'; ganohs 'enough'; halbs 'half'; midjis 'middle'.
§ 5 The weak adjective is used, as in other Germanic languages, with demonstrative pronouns, whether used demonstratively or where English would have the definite article: ahma sa weiha 'the Holy Spirit'; þo weihon jah himinakundon gabaurþ 'that holy and heavenly birth'; þo leikeinon us wambai munands gabaurþ 'thinking [he meant] the physical birth from the womb'; gahamoþ þamma niujin mann þamma bi guda gaskapanin 'put on [clothe yourselves in] the New Man, that fashioned according to God'. But J 15,21 þata allata 'all this' (cf. §4.b).
§ 6 a) With no demonstrative, the
weak adjective alone is sometimes used where English might use the
definite article ni ibnon ak galeika 'not the same [or the
equal] but similar', and especially to indicate concepts that regularly
go together, e.g. an adjective that belongs to the noun as part of
a name or a title: at fairgunjin alewjin 'at the Mount of Olives';
libain aiweinon (acc.) 'eternal life'. Likewise in spedistin
daga 'on the last day' alternates with in þamma spedistin
daga; and augo þein þata taihswo 'your right
eye', with taihswo þeina handus 'your right hand'. Also
in adverbial phrases: bi spedistin 'at last' (cf. ME atte laste,
'at last' = at + þe/the + last). Also often found with no article
are those adjectives which are always declined weak (cf. §4.a):
hveila saihsto 'the sixth hour'; af hleidumein ferai 'on
his left side'. The article is optional with (sa) sama
b) Note: in OE, weak adjectives are normally found only after the demonstrative/article, but sometimes without it in poetry, especially older poetry. In OIc. too, weak adjectives belong with the definite article or demonstratives, but adjectival bynames can sometimes occur without the article: Ívarr beinlausi, beside Ívarr inn beinlausi 'Ivar the Boneless'.
c) In the vocative, adjectives have the same form as the nominative and are almost always weak: laisari þiuþeiga 'blessed teacher'; batista Þaiaufeilu 'most excellent Theophilus'; þiuþido þu 'blessed art thou', and in exclamations: dwala! 'idiot/stupid'. Note also the article in: þu is sunus meins sa liuba 'you are my dear son' (cf. OE broþor þin se selesta 'your brother, the best [of men]', Guþlac 1333-4). Those adjectives like meins which only have strong forms are of course always strong. Exceptional examples of strong vocatives of other adjectives: audahafta (L 1,28); unrodjands jah bauþs (Mk 9,25). In the case of hails (Mk 15,18 + J 19,3 and "De conviviis barbaris"), the greeting is probably to be seen as short for *hails sijais "be well" (cf. OE sy þu hal).
7 The an/on-declension is often used to form nouns from adjectives:
sa blinda 'the blind man' - although strong adjectives can be used substantively
too: us dauþaim 'from the dead', lit."out from among the dead
people". Weak adjectives appear especially as by-names: hairdeis sa goda
'the good shepherd' (but at the first mention in J 10,11: ik im hairdeis gods
'I am the good shepherd', no article & strong), Lazarus sa dauþa
'Lazarus the [formerly] Dead [Man]'.
Where Gothic uses an adjective and a noun to translate a single Greek word, the
adjective typically comes first: wilþeis alewabagms (Gk. agrielaios,
Lat. oleaster); gods alewabagms (Gk. elaia, kallielaios).
But Xristaus dauns sijum woþi (Gk. Xristiou euodia esmen,
Lat. Christi bonus odor sumus), 2Cor 2,15. Predicatively the adjective
normally precedes the verb andaþahts wisan (Gk. nêfein).