Piotr Gasiorowski wrote, Fri Sep 27, 2002  9:27 pm:
<<Gut + hals? Impossible, since 'good' was <go:d-> in Gothic. It became <gut>
in High German, many centuries later.>>

Hardly impossible. What "good" was in Gothic is barely irrelevant and when
good became <gut> in any particular preliterate Germanic language or dialect
is hardly knowable.

<<I can only offer some tentative guesses: Pliny's <guthalus> could be
related to ME gothelan < OE *gofielian '(of water) make a low noise', which
might derive from hypothetical *gufila- 'noise (?), bubbling (?)'. Remember
that this is merely a bold conjecture.>>

Another perhaps better conjecture is that <Guthalus> is "Gota alv," a major
river that drains Lake Vanern into Kattegat (and the North Sea) at the
present city of Gothenburg.
---The Pliny text reads "amnes clari in oceanum defluunt Guthalus, Visculus
sive Vistla, Albis, Visurgis, Amisis, Rhenus, Mosa." Pliny's main knowledge
of the area appears to be from much earlier Greek texts that centered on the
Cimbri peninsula, "Codanus Sinus" and Scandinavia. So we might read Pliny's
rivers clockwise beginning with the most northernly. See also the Gudenaa
River in Denmark.
---Of course, we can take Pliny <alus> as <alvs>. And of course he probably
never actually heard the words from a native speaker. <Goth Alvs> itself
might be a generic reference to a natural harbor formed at the mouth of any
---Another possibility is that it is a Germanic reference to the iron trade.
The river itself would become the main conduit of the prominent Swedish iron
trade in later centuries. Evidence for iron production in the area is early
(I believe as much as 40 tons was found to have been smelted in nearby Auland
during the middle Swedish iron age) and the connection between furnaces,
iron, etc. and the "goth" word are too obvious to ignore.
-Steve Long