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MGoT: “Dothraki 101”

In a nice promotional move, catering to the tastes of language lovers like myself, HBO’s Making Game of Thrones offers the first official lesson on Lekh Dothraki, the Dothraki language. You have read it correctly – this is only the first in the series, brought to you by the creator David J. Peterson himself. Here is how he introduces the language:

Dothraki is the language of the nomadic horse warriors who populate the Dothraki Sea: a vast grass plain in the center of the continent of Essos, which lies to the east of Westeros, across the Narrow Sea. Their language differs greatly from the Common Tongue of Westeros and the languages of the Free Cities, which descend from High Valyrian. In the coming weeks, we’ll introduce you to the Dothraki language (or Lekh Dothraki) little by little…

This first lesson gives us information on the basic sentential word order, modification of nominal phrases, and the placement of adverbs, together with a modest glossary of some fifteen items. More fresh lexical material can be deduced from the glossed examples.

Hear Me Roar: Thanks, HBO! I am sure David is happy to be able to share the details openly with the commnunity. I found the presentation very clear and accessible to the general public, while it remains informative and interesting to the linguists as well. Admittedly, I haven’t so far spent much time memorizing the words and rules of the language, beyond the initial cursory glances at what Dothraki is like and which other languages it resembles, but this may change now. And thank you for the plug, MGoT, we appreciate the link to our site.

29 Comments

  • Ma dorvoon dothrae mr’anha.

    Me oge rek tokikes.

    Sajoes tokikes jin chiori, Vezh!

    most fun i’ve had all day…

  • A nice update. I know the Dothraki conlang fan community (small though it may be currently) was definitely waiting for something like this. A good explanation by David of how the language works. Even I was able to understand most of it.

    I don’t think I will ever learn to speak more than two or three words of Dothraki, but I hope that the language is a big hit with the fans and becomes just another example of how passionate the Game Of Thrones fan base will be.

  • Cool. As easy as it would be to tease those who actually take the time to learn the language, I’m going to pass as they would be able to make fun of me with impunity (albeit with a few weird looks going their way). Thanks for the update!

  • I still think it’s a bit odd how much effort HBO has put into creating a Dothraki language, since I don’t think of that language as being very important to the books. I understand that they wanted to flesh it out for some scenes on screen, but what about other languages in later books? Are they going to create entire languages for Qarth, Meereen, etc.?

  • Lex: Are they going to create entire languages for Qarth, Meereen, etc.?    

    Boy I sure hope they do. The language nerd in me rejoices! :). Did u notice how the language creator also inferred how the other language bases were similar, descending from High Valyrian (something not said by Martin)? Much like Latin and the romance languages. Points to the vision of Valyria being more Roman for the show, in part. Fun fun!!

  • As a psuedo-linguist, this is definitely interesting, though of course there’s not enough to do a ton with right now.

    I love created languages.

  • Jéssica de F. Maciel: Has anyone noted that the word “bell” or “ayena” is the first one to be on the list? Maybe there will be bells on the series (o maybe not, just speculating)    

    Maybe, though it might just be because Peterson went through the books to anticipate words that were likely to be in the scripts.

  • People with language-friendly brains astound me. Yeah, it’s nerdy as hell, but you can’t pick up something like this without some serious intelligence behind those taped-together glasses. I commend them… and will stick to English.

  • my only comment is the question “what kind of woman writes”:

    “Coster-Waldau fits much better for the role than I had dared hope for.”

    Oh yes, geekgirl.

    But… dared? ….Really?

  • As someone who does language work for their job, I find this incredibly interesting. I don’t think I will go too far into learning the language but I will definitely watch this series and become familiar with it. :D Maybe I’ll be able to recognize a few of the words when the show comes around.

  • Amir Mishali: Sensuki,
    sorry, i misread your post…
    anyway, the word “mine” in hebrew is pronounced “sheli“. “ani” is only used for the words “I”, or “me”.    

    Yeah I know. That however is ALL I know of Hebrew :P The only word I managed to remember that my jewish housemates taught me last year.