MGoT: “Dothraki 101″
By Hear Me Roar on in Production.

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

  1. reedgirl
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Ma dorvoon dothrae mr’anha.

    Me oge rek tokikes.

    Sajoes tokikes jin chiori, Vezh!

    most fun i’ve had all day…

  2. Winter Is Coming
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    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.

  3. Steven Scott
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Wow this is going to be as sad as Trekkies knowing Klingon.

  4. Katja
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Steven Scott,

    Thanks for voicing what I was thinking! Lol!

  5. Zafri Mollon
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    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!

  6. Sensuki
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    the dothraki word mine is very similar to how it is in hebrew I think (I know that ani is me, at least)

  7. Sai
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    FYI, your first link seems to be messed up. Perhaps it swallowed what was meant to be paragraph text?

  8. Lex
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    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.?

  9. Steve B
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    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!!

  10. Critical Geek
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Lex:
    If it’s as cheap to buy as Dothraki was, I’m gonna venture to say yes.

  11. Hear Me Roar
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Sai,

    Thank you for pointing this out, Sai!

  12. dizzy_34
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Katja: Steven Scott, Thanks for voicing what I was thinking! Lol!  Quote  Reply

    Also people who speak elvish. Not that I look down on those people, it just seems like if I wanted to learn another language I would learn one with real world applications.

  13. Critical Geek
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    More people speak Elvish and Klingon than Latin and Old Norse! :)

  14. theamberkey
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    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.

  15. Jéssica de F. Maciel
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    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)

  16. Ingemar Svensson
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    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.

  17. Inkasrain
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    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.

  18. Zafri Mollon
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    High Valyrian would be really cool too. Wonder which one would end up being more popular between that and Dothraki…

  19. ghey-boi
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    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?

  20. ghey-boi
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    ghey-boi,

    ah sorry.. wrong topic….

  21. Amir Mishali
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    Sensuki,

    Of the 15 words that have translation to Dothraki on this lesson, none is similar to its Hebrew translation. It seems to me like “anni” is an exception.

  22. Tar Kidho
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    Ok, this is one step too far on the geek-scale for me :-)

  23. Sensuki
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Amir Mishali: Sensuki,
    Of the 15 words that have translation to Dothraki on this lesson, none is similar to its Hebrew translation. It seems to me like “anni” is an exception.    

    Which is merely what I was pointing out :P

  24. Amir Mishali
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    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”.

  25. Elaine
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Tar Kidho: Ok, this is one step too far on the geek-scale for me     

    My thoughts EXACTLY! :) And I’m an English teacher!

  26. Elaine
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Elaine,

    Whoops, I should have said, an English teacher who doesn’t know how to quote!

  27. Nakmal
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    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.

  28. Sensuki
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    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.

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chad Harris, Winter Is Coming. Winter Is Coming said: New post: MGoT: "Dothraki 101" http://bit.ly/igY84o #GameofThrones [...]


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