A Russian fansite has conducted a new interview, available both in English and Russian, with David J. Peterson (creator of the Dothraki language for HBO’s Game of Thrones) and Sai Emrys. There’s some interesting comparisons of Dothraki to Russian, an additional vocabulary word (the name for the leather vests Dothraki wear), and Peterson’s explanation for how the strong oppositions he saw in Dothraki culture as he read the books influenced his development of the language.
We’ve previously reported the fact that Scientific American published a guest blogger’s letter to HBO, George R.R. Martin, and David J. Peterson regarding the Dothraki language and what role it could have in helping to move linguistic science forward. Now David J. Peterson, along with Language Creation Society president Sai Emrys, has posted a thorough response. Among other things, it seems to include a few, previously unpublished snippets of the Dothraki language, and some examples of its morphology.
The response also goes into great detail regarding the general premise of the original letter, pointing out that the linguistic universals that have been cataloged are not quite so universal as they appear at first blush, as well as the fact that it’s currently too late for them to change the Dothraki language but that Peterson will certainly keep these issues in mind should he be called upon to create other languages for the series or to expand Dothraki.
A guest blogger at Scientific American has published an open letter to HBO, George R.R. Martin, and David J. Peterson in response to the news that HBO’s Game of Thrones would feature a Dothraki language created by Peterson. It’s a fascinating letter, as it asks the production to consider helping science by including certain features that are non-existent or extremely rare in human languages. The blogger, Joshua Hartshome, mentions Klingon as one artificial language whose construction has provided some excellent opportunities for the linguistic sciences, because of it’s unusual word order.
In the comments, Peterson (under his handle Dedavls) offers up a curious feature of Hawaiian—subjects acting as objects and vice versa—which he suggests also exists in Dothraki in some classes.
David J. Peterson and Sai Emrys of the Language Creation Society, through whose auspices the Dothraki language was created for HBO’s Game of Thrones, are the subject of an interview at Tor.com. Quite a lot of interesting details about Peterson’s linguistic training, his approach to creating the Dothraki language, and an exclusive new piece of Dothraki (for the phrase “blood of the dragon”) with an accompanying MP3 file.
David and Sai can both be found at the Dothraki forum at Westeros.org, if you have any additional questions for them.
Although this interview posted by the Language Creation Society is with Professor Paul Frommer, most famous for having created the Na’vi language in the recordbreaking box office hit Avatar, there’s two reasons why expectant fans of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones should listen to it.
First, Professor Frommer’s remarks concerning the process of how he acquired the job, how he approached constructing the Na’vi language, and his experiences in teaching the actors and dealing with being on set, being called upon to create new language at a moment’s notice, and more, is certainly going to be informative about how the Dothraki language‘s creator, David J. Peterson, will likely be interacting with the television show. Details such as having MP3 files ready for actors to download onto iPods so they can memorize their lines are interesting.
Second, the interviewer just happens to be David J. Peterson. The interview was recorded in January, after he had done his work for the Game of Thrones pilot, and you can imagine his mentally comparing notes as Frommer reminisced on the process of constructing a language within the strictures of film making.
The Language Creation Society has kindly provided some audio samples of a few of the words David J. Peterson has created for the Dothraki language. It’ll be great to hear more in the future as the series, and the language, progresses. The LCS have started up a Facebook Page for Dothraki, as well as a Livejournal account.
George R.R. Martin has shared his own relationship to invented languages, and finishes up with needing to find out what, “It is known,” is in Dothraki.