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Gothic Handwriting

 

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Practice Sheet

Download a printable full alphabet practice sheet for the following letter exercise. You may also use this sheet with tracing paper to trace these letters. The practice sheets below allow you to practice the alphabet in sections at a time.

a-e   f-j k-o p-t u-​z

Download a blank printable practice sheet .

 



"A"

lowercase, written A

Description

The German letter A is similar to its lowercase form as well as its Latin script counterpart, so it is usually fairly easy to recognize. A common variation of A, with another loop on the bottom left, appears in the first word example below.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Auftrage Anlage





"B"

uppercase, written B

Description

The German B is very similar to the L except for a loop which completes the final stroke. Unfortunately, this final loop is not always very pronounced.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Bewilligung Bericht





"C"

uppercase, written C

Description

Just like the K, the C is characterized by a small curve at the top right of the main stem; this differentiates it from similar letters such as the L. This letter, in its uppercase form, can appear next to an h but never next to a k.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Carolina Commißariat (Kommissariat)





"D"

uppercase, written D

Description

The uppercase D is very similar to its lowercase counterpart, consisting of a single line that loops up and down under the midline and then curves around to the left above the midline. The upper loop may or may not cross the main stem.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Die Das





"E"

uppercase, written E

Description

The E looks similar to its Latin counterpart, but it reaches from the line of ascent to the line of descent, rather than just to the baseline.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Erfolg Einhundert





"F"

uppercase, written F

Description

The German F looks fairly similar to its Latin counterpart. There is some variety in the form of this letter, but it is rarely difficult to identify.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Friderich Feiertags





"G"

uppercase, written G

Description

The uppercase G is basically an enlarged version of the lowercase g: it consists of a giant loop with a downward stroke that curves into a backward loop below the baseline. In some cases, this letter appears similar to and can be confused with B, H, K and R.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Gesandtschaft Grund





"H"

uppercase, written H

Description

The uppercase H features a reverse loop above the midline, which drops to the baseline and then forms a forward loop, which extends from the midline under the baseline. This letter presents vary many variations, causing it to resemble B, G, K, or R.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Hinrich Herauszahlung





"I"

uppercase, written I

Description

This letter looks very similar to the J, except the standard I doesn't go below the baseline. Many people, however, did not differentiate the I and J at all. When this is the case, one simple fact will minimize confusion: The I will always precede a consonant.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Innern Inwohnerin





"J"

uppercase, written J

Description

This letter strongly resembles the German I; Indeed, many writers made no effort to distinguish the I from the J. The researcher should keep in mind that the J will always be followed by a vowel.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Jakob Jahre





"K"

uppercase, written K

Description

Just like the C, this letter has a small curve on the top right of the main stem that helps to differentiate it from the R, with which it might be confused. The K, however, appears much more often than the R at the beginning of words.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Kammer Katharina





"L"

uppercase, written L

Description

This letter may be confused with the B, but the L does not have the loop at the end of the final stroke.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Landshut Landgerichte





"M"

uppercase, written M

Description

The main differences between this letter and its Latin counterpart are the loops at the botton of the first two stems and the small hook at the upper right before the last down-stroke. This character is generally very common and recognizable in German.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
München Monat





"N"

uppercase, written N

Description

The uppercase character N is identical to the M, but has only one initial loop. It is also often confused with the combined initial letters St, the only distinguishing mark being the stroke that crosses the lower stem of the t.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Niederbayern Nach





"O"

uppercase, written O

Description

 

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Oktober Ordens





"P"

uppercase, written P

Description

This is another letter that has numerous variants, but the common elements include the large forward loop above the midline and a stroke that distinctly crosses the stem below the midline. The tail usually helps define this character.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Pechlam Pathinn (Patin)





"Q"

uppercase, written Q

Description

This letter is very similar to its lowercase form, and is fairly easy to recognize, although it could be confused with an O followed by an s.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples

-No Examples-





"R"

uppercase, written R

Description

This letter is strongly resembles its Latin script counterpart, so it should be easy to recognize. It is a relatively common initial letter as well.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Regierung Rückgabe





"S"

uppercase, written S

Description

The German uppercase S is easy to write although it is quite a bit different from its modern Latin counterpart. The S will not connect to any adjacent letter except sometimes a lowercase t.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Stephan Schmidgesellen (Schmiedgesellen)





"T"

uppercase, written T

Description

The uppercase T is similar to its Latin script counterpart, though it also resembles the Latin F. In spite of this, the T is not often difficult to recognize.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Tagen Tochter





"U"

uppercase, written U

Description

The German U looks very much like the German A, except for its open top that sometimes curves downward on the left. The U might also feature a small loop on the lower left, near the baseline.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Umgang Urkunden





"V"

uppercase, written V

Description

This letter is similar to its lowercase form, so it is fairly easy to recognize. The final stroke will vary, occasionally, in length and position. (See W below.)

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Verfügung Verlassenschaft





"W"

uppercase, written W

Description

This letter is often mistaken with the M because it also starts with two large forward loops. Unlike the M, however, the second loop of the W is smaller and after reaching the baseline it forms a small forward loop, finishing in another large forward curve.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Wien Wimpasing





"X"

uppercase, written X

Description

This letter is similar to its Latin counterpart. It may sometimes be mistaken for an H, but is otherwise fairly easy to recognize.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
X X





"Y"

uppercase, written Y

Description

This letter looks exactly like a German U or a V, except that its right loop continues until it is below the baseline, where it curves to the left and forms a tail. This letter is quite rare in German.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Y Y





"Z"

uppercase, written Z

Description

This letter is similar to its Latin script counterpart, as well as its lowercase form, so it is fairly easy to recognize.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Zeit Zahlung





"Ä"

uppercase, written Ä

Description

As is the case with all umlauted vowels, the uppercase Ä strongly resembles its non-umlauted counterpart. The occurance of Ä and the other uppercase umlauted vowels is not very common. Ä is interchangeable with either AE or Ae.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Ältern Äußer





"Ö"

uppercase, written Ö

Description

The letter Ö is also uncommon and is interchangeable with OE or Oe.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Oesterreich (Österreich)





"Ü"

uppercase, written Ü

Description

The letter Ü is also often represented as UE or Ue.

(Click on the letter to animate it.)

Examples
Überweisungs Überweisung





Reference

Please consult pp. 22-23 of Deciphering Handwriting in German Documents: Analyzing German, Latin, and French in Vital Records Written in Germany by Roger P. Minert (GRT Publications: Provo, Utah, USA, 2001) for further descriptions and examples of the preceding letters.

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