There are many fictional languages we’d like to learn, even though it will be of no use in the real world (Mandarin? Please. Teach me Klingon). From the hissy vernacular of Parseltongue to the sexy Elvish, it’s a dream to be able to speak a nonexistent language. So David Peterson, the linguist behind the languages of Game of Thrones, surprised us all with a little tutorial here.
Peterson helped found the Language Creation Society, a non-profit organisation that aims to construct languages in the media; from television to movies to video games to books.
He was hired by HBO to develop the languages of Dothraki, High Valyrian, and dialects of Low Valyrian for George RR Martin’s book-turned-TV-series Game of Thrones. He uses the topography and culture of a given tribe to construct the language. However, creating High Valyrian proved to be a challenge, since little is written about the people in the books.
Peterson also infuses his personal life into the languages he creates. He used his wife’s name, Erin, as the basis for the word ‘kind’ in Dothraki. His also borrowed his cat’s name, Keli, for the High Valyrian word for cat, Kēli.
Avy jorrāelan, everyone!