HBO upped its game when they decided to hire David Peterson, language creator extraordinaire, to invent the Dothraki language. Here are some pretty interesting facts about the language:
Contest First, Language Creation Second
Creating Dothraki was the second step. The first step: winning an internal contest at The Language Creation Society (LCS). Although Peterson serves as president for The Language Creation Society, he wasn’t chosen automatically by HBO. Members of LCS or more affectionately known as “conlangers” (slang for constructed language) had to submit an internal proposal for judgment. Peterson was selected and presented to HBO thanks to his 180-page proposal, which included dictionary and audio files. And of course, he was HIRED!
Ode to Wife and Cat
Peterson scored major points with his wife Erin after turning her name into the Dothraki adjective for kind or good. The adjectives come from the verb “erinat” meaning to be good and the noun “erinak” which describes a kind one/lady.
His cat, named Okeo, was adopted from a shelter where they originally called him Oreo. But, his name was written quite roughly on a nametag so Peterson read it as Okeo. Peterson decided to stick with Okeo and translated it to “friend” in the Dothraki language. Sadly, Okeo passed away at 7 months due to a congenital liver problem, but he will always live on as “friend” in Dothraki.
Think you’ve heard all Dothraki has to offer on the show? Wrong! Peterson’s Dothraki dictionary has over 3000 words along with proper descriptions for sentence forming and pronunciation. Many of which has yet to be spoken on Game of Thrones. But don’t despair, spend some time going through the dictionary and try penning your very own romantic love poem or break up letter!
Would you like to tie your tongue in a knot? How about by way of a Dothraki phrase: “he trembling questioner crushed the bleeding boar that squished a kicking corn bunting?” Great! Say this Dothraki tongue twister three times: Qafak qov kaffe qif qiya fini kaf faggies fakaya. (Good luck, I couldn’t get past my first attempt!)
Dothraki may be too difficult to start off with but there are plenty other constructed languages to try like Klingon, Na’vi, or Elvish. Which one do you find easier?