Entries from April 2010 ↓

Tor.com interview

David & Sai were interviewed by Ellen B. Wright for Tor.com. Go read it!

EDIT: по-русски: Интервью со словарём – создатель дотракийского о новом языке (полный перевод) Дэвид Питерсон и Сэй Эмрис о Дотракине (пересказ и частичный перевод)

On hold for now

We are going to be mostly staying quiet for a while, until the Game of Thrones production team decides what they want to do in terms of publicity etc. This is still very early in, and things will ramp up when we get towards showtime. (You will however see a little more new info released through talks and interviews.)

We’ve got some ideas for how to make this blog (and other venues) an engaging way to regularly release new info on Dothraki and give ways for fans to participate. We’d like to get a real fan community going around the languages of Game of Thrones – including Dothraki and potentially some of the other languages in the book, like Valyrian.

In the meantime, while we’re in the planning stage, we’d really like to get your ideas and support.

What do you want to see us do? How can we best involve the fan community in this? Please let us know on the forum and on your blogs. We’ll see anything on Twitter tagged #dothraki; please email dothraki@conlang.org with a link to anything else in case we miss it.

One of the big factors in what we do is going to be your enthusiasm for this, so please spread the word and let us (and HBO!) know what you want.

Fonas chek!

Conlanging 101 + Conlang film showing live online & in person during Notacon, April 16-18

Some conlanging news not strictly Dothraki-related:

1. Sai Emrys will be giving his highly interactive talk on “Conlanging 101” (where the audience co-creates a mini-conlang on the spot) at Notacon in Cleveland, this Friday at 3pm EDT.

This talk was first given (slides, video) at 26C3, to rave reviews.

The accompanying whitepaper gives a good overview of what conlanging is all about.

If anyone you know is in the Cleveland area, please let them know to come out to Notacon and participate in making a language!

2. CONLANG the movie (excerpt, FB page, promo page) is by Swan Dive Films; it was screened at LCC3 to a very enthusiastic response, as well as getting awards at the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival and NYC Downtown Short Film Festival.

To quote them, the movie “is a universal story set in the unique world of conlanging. A comedy about secret crushes, extreme linguistics and the language of love, it tells the story of Carl, 26, an unemployed conlang enthusiast. Even though Carl has no trouble creating new languages, he has a hard time finding the words to express his feelings to Libby, his secret crush. One day, Carl has a chance of becoming president of the Constructed Language Society, a club of people joined by their passion for invented languages. But between battling misguided Esperantists and mastering Klingon, will he be able to share his true feelings with the girl he adores?”

It’s a great film; we love it, and we think you will too.

There are two ways to watch the film during Notacon:

a) Come out to Notacon in Cleveland, this Friday at 5pm for the live screening.

The film screening will include the final and pilot films in full resolution, with Sai Emrys giving some context & commentary.

People who come in person will also get their choice of some very nice-looking postcards, each representing one of the three main characters in the film.

b) Watch live online during Notacon, this Friday, Saturday, & Sunday @ 4pm EDT.

The actors who play Kip, Libby, and Carl will be online for live discussion.

Swan Dive Films is also working on a possible new online shorts series, a sort of episodic romantic comedy with conlanging. If that sounds interesting to you, drop a note on their Facebook page or email the director, Marta Masferrer, at masferrer@gmail.com – viewer enthusiasm is going to be a major factor in whether it happens.

Please forward this to anyone who’d be interested, join their Facebook page, and help support this unique effort.

New official home of Dothraki

We’ve moved from just a webpage to an actual blog, to make things a bit easier. We hope to be making regular updates with new information… TBD.

Anyway, all your old links still work (they’ve been redirected here).

We could definitely use someone to help make the page look better. Any WordPress / CSS / Photoshop savvy fans willing to help out?

Press release audio

Want to know what Dothraki sounds like? Here’s a taste (click links for mp3):

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Official HBO Press Release


David J. Peterson, an expert language creator from the Language Creation Society (LCS), has been chosen to create the Dothraki language for HBO‘s upcoming fantasy series Game of Thrones, based on the book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.

When Game of Thrones executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss needed a language for the Dothraki, Martin’s race of nomadic warriors, they turned to the Language Creation Society. The LCS solicited and vetted a number of proposals for the Dothraki language from its pool of experts, with Peterson’s proposal ultimately being selected by the Game of Thrones production team.

Peterson drew inspiration from George R.R. Martin’s description of the language, as well as from such languages as Russian, Turkish, Estonian, Inuktitut and Swahili. However, the Dothraki language is no mere hodgepodge, babble or pidgin. It has its own unique sound, an extensive vocabulary of more than 1,800 words and a complex grammatical structure.

“In designing Dothraki, I wanted to remain as faithful as possible to the extant material in George R.R. Martin’s series,” says Peterson. “Though there isn’t a lot of data, there is evidence of a dominant word order [subject-verb-object], of adjectives appearing after nouns, and of the lack of a copula [‘to be’]. I’ve remained faithful to these elements, creating a sound aesthetic that will be familiar to readers, while giving the language depth and authenticity. My fondest desire is for fans of the series to look at a word from the Dothraki language and be unable to tell if it came from the books or from me—and for viewers not even to realize it’s a constructed language.”

“We’re tremendously excited to be working with David and the LCS,” says producer D.B. Weiss. “The language he’s devised is phenomenal. It captures the essence of the Dothraki, and brings another level of richness to their world. We look forward to his first collection of Dothraki love sonnets.”

Did you know? (Hash yer ray nesi?)

  • The name for the Dothraki people—and their language—derives from the verb “dothralat” (“to ride”).
  • The Dothraki have four different words for “carry,” three for “push,” three for “pull” and at least eight for “horse,” but no word that means “please” or “follow.”
  • The longest word in Dothraki is “athastokhdeveshizaroon,” which means “from nonsense.”
  • The words for “related,” “weighted net,” “eclipse,” “dispute,” “redhead,” “oath,” “funeral pyre,” “evidence,” “omen,” “fang” and “harvest moon” all have one element in common: “qoy,” the Dothraki word for “blood.”
  • Dothraki for “to dream”—”thirat atthiraride”—literally means “to live a wooden life”; in Dothraki, “wooden” (“ido”) is synonymous with “fake.”
  • The word for “pride”—”athjahakar”—is derived from “jahak,” the traditional long braid worn by Dothraki warriors (“lajaki”).

More information about the Dothraki language (and their love poems) will be released over the course of the series.