Dothraki Ice Cream

I was just up in Chico for a day, and I managed to hit my favorite ice cream store Shubert’s twice. As I was eating my mocha chip, I came to a decision: Dothraki needs a word for ice cream. Not an “in-universe” word, of course, but a modern one that I we can use when I we need it. Consider this a mini installment of our modern terminology series. (Ooh, that gives me an idea: this needs a tag!)

Anyway, if you feel up to the challenge, why not take a crack at coming up with a word for “ice cream” in Dothraki! It may prove instructive to review how compounds work, and you might also need some vocabulary. Here’s everything I can think of that might be relevant:

  • ahesh (n.i.A) snow
  • fish (adj.) cold
  • flas (n.i.A) a layer that forms on the top of soup or a layer of cream that separates and rises to the top
  • gizikhven (adj.) sweet
  • hadaen (n.i.A) food
  • jesh (n.i.A) ice
  • jesho (adj.) frozen
  • jeshoy (adj.) freezing
  • jeshven (adj.) icy
  • lamekh (n.i.A) milk (from a mare)
  • thagwa (n.i.B) yogurt made from mare’s milk
  • thagwash (n.i.A) a dessert made from thagwa and eaten with dried fruit
  • thash (adj.) soft

There might be more that would be useful. If you need something in particular, let me know in the comments and I’ll see if I’ve got it. Otherwise, have fun! I’ll probably be eating ice cream in the interim.

Update: It also might be useful to note that adjectives follow the nouns they modify. So actually jeshlamekh should be lamekhjesh. Doesn’t sound nearly as catchy, I’m afraid…

Posted on July 31, 2012, in Community and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. “Jesho thagwash” seems like a good one, but then we add the problem of what do you do when you want a word for frozen yogurt. “Jesh(e)flas” [not sure if it needs “e”] seems like the closest calque, though “flas” is far too general to serve. “Perhaps “Jesh(e)lamekh” or “Jesho lamekh”.

    … or (last suggestion), you could just allow the meaning of “thagwash” to refer to all dairy-based desserts.

  2. Jesh-lamesh!

  3. Athdavrazar, zhey David!

    I settled on jeshlamekh as well. (I tried to post earlier, but WordPress was giving me issues) But in thinking things through, is jesh a root form, as it is the lexical form in the dictionary. Stripping off the /sh/ per the instructions on compounds gives je, which seems short for a root. But nevertheless, it creates a cool (all puns intended) compound jelamekh.

    One word I didn’t see in your list that almost has to be associated with ice cream is ‘chocolate’, or perhaps a generic term for ‘nuts’ ;)

    In looking back at the past efforts at modern terminology, I am wondering if I should start a separate section in the dictionary for some of these ‘modern Dothraki’ terms.

    • My vote is for jelamekh, if that’s a valid compound. Sounds very ice-creamy.

    • Hajas, zhey Hrakkar!

      Jelamekh does sound good, but you actually can’t strip off that -sh—it’s a part of the root, not an affix.

      We’re probably a long way’s off from chocolate (anyone know anything about the history of chocolate that would prove useful…?), but the generic term for “nut” is tif. You can use zhor to refer to a nut, as well, though (it refers to the pit of a fruit or the meat of a nut [i.e. as opposed to the shell]).

  4. How, in the case of a word like jesh, can you tell that the lexical form is also the root?

    I saw your note about the adjective following the noun. It looks like we all missed that! I’ll give this more thought tomorrow when I am more awake (major transmitter problems this evening :( ).

  5. Mare’s milk, ıs ıt tasty?

  6. jeshokhlamekhi -> milk freeze
    ahesh gizikhven -> sweet snow
    aheshhadaenan -> edible snow

    …not sure if I like the sh+h cluster. Not sure, if it can be reduced into something simpler.

    aheshathadakheran? Whelp, that actually sounds pretty cool ([a·he·ʃa·θa·da·xe·’ɾan] – the syllabification goes nicely against the derivational structure), the digraphs just make it look a little complicated.

    I tried to think up some nice portamnteau proposition too, but everything I came up seemed just wrong.

    Is flas really the only word Dothraki have for cream?

    • Is flas really the only word Dothraki have for cream?

      Do they need another?

      Actually, I think I like jeshokh lamekhi—as two separate words—because then you have a jeshokh which could be ice cream or a popsicle or a slushy, or whatever. The lamekhi just tells you which kind.

      But I also like your idea to use ahesh, “snow”, which I didn’t think of (adding it to the list in the post). An aheshi would be pretty good for an ice cream, don’t you think?

      • Do they need another?

        Of course no. Languages do well without pretty much any chosen word, I guess. But what does it really mean, if they have no other word?

        Is cream just such a substance that they won’t use it much in their culinary tradition? Then it would be plausible that it would be just the flas (and dregs) milk happens to generate.

        Or is cream a subtance in it’s own rights? Then if flas is still the only word for it, I’d imagine it would have a special, kind of extented, meaning as cream. In my layman’s experience it’s rather common occurence (though I can’t readily come up with a good example… to paint as painting walls versus artistic painting?), that the top category and subcategory have the same word, even though the meanings are so separate that they are better seen as closely related homonyms than just one wide-ranging meaning.

        Actually, I think I like jeshokh lamekhi—as two separate words—because then you have a jeshokh which could be ice cream or a popsicle or a slushy, or whatever. The lamekhi just tells you which kind.

        Ya. I like that train of thought.

        But I also like your idea to use ahesh, “snow”, which I didn’t think of (adding it to the list in the post). An aheshi would be pretty good for an ice cream, don’t you think?

        Hehh. That’s cool too. That’s the problem, really, not coming up with cool words, but choosing the one to canonize. Not that we necessarily need any one canonized word.

  7. A lot would depend on how a Dothraki would interpret a soft, cold substance that easily melts. Its neither ice or snow, but I think close to ice.

    A separate (or derivative) word for ‘cream’ would be appropriate, as it would be something commonly observed/used, and would be culturally relavent.

    • A lot would depend on how a Dothraki would interpret a soft, cold substance that easily melts. Its neither ice or snow, but I think close to ice.

      Well, both in Finnish and English the word in ice cream (jäätelö) is ice (jää; also jäätyä -> freeze), so it’s more supported for sure. I think in making ice cream ice is used, but definitely not snow. And ice is also a bit more generic word, more ready for extented uses.
      Still, to me snow comes much closer to ice cream. It’s usually white, as are the simplest ice creams (ice can be white too, especially if the surface is scratched) but stereotypically is blue-grey-transparent). And it’s soft, not dissimilar in composition to that zero-ish temperature snow you make snow balls and snow men from.

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