Sesīr Urnēbion Zȳhon Keliton Issa

Grow strong.

It’s hard to compare episodes when you haven’t seen them in a while, but I think “And Now His Watch Is Ended” was easily one of the best of the series—certainly the best of the season. Some comments before getting to the language bits.

The story with Varys was an invention (him finding that sorcerer), but I liked it. As my wife said, it’s been evident in the show that he’s really good at getting information and managing tense social situations, but he’s never felt as threatening as he feels in the book—always a little bit softer. This is tangible evidence of his potential for malice.

And, good lord, my Tywin Lannister! I honestly can’t decide which I like best: Tywin from the books, or Tywin on the show. They’re appreciably different, and equally incredible. And this time his top highlight was a single word: Contribute. The thing I love about Tywin as a character is how intractable he is. Everyone manages to manipulate everyone else, and everybody makes mistakes, but no matter what he does, it was always the right decision—and it’s always everybody else that screws up. It would be monstrous to have him as a father—or really to have any dealings with him whatsoever—and I think that’s part of what makes it so enjoyable to watch him be so tyrannical—especially with those who get away with murder elsewhere in the series.

The dust up at Craster’s had both me and my wife running to the web, because neither of us remembered Jeor Mormont getting stabbed. And yet, there it was, just as in the books. The bits north of the wall almost remind me of a horror movie—where the Night’s Watch start out taking every precaution as they venture northward, and tiny almost insignificant mistakes end up seeing these guys drop dead one by one.

Oh, and Jack Gleeson had me cackling the whole time, with his awkward excitement at Margaery’s patronizing him. And looking like he’s never waved before! What an actor that guy is!

But anyway, there was quite a bit of Valyrian this episode, including our first High Valyrian of the series (outside of valar morghūlis and drakarys). It begins with a long speech by Kraznys that kind of gets cut up a bit as Missandei translates; I don’t know if you hear a lot of it. After the short exchange, Dany passes off Drogon and asks if it’s done. Missandei relays this:

  • Pindas lu sa sir tida.
  • “She asks if it is now done.”

Then Kraznys tells her that it is:

  • Sa tida. Pelos ji qlony. J’aspo eza zya azantyr.
  • “It is done. She holds the whip. The bitch has her army.”

And then thinks get messy.

So when I was originally reading the books, I kind of foresaw what happens next. First, I always imagined that the dragons would be bigger, and so shortly after she agrees to the deal, I thought, “You can give someone a dragon the way you can give them a lion.” Seriously, what’s he going to do? And it’s not like anyone alive has ever seen a dragon except those directly connected to Dany—and certainly no one other than her has ever managed to tame one. Just how did he think he was going to “own” it?

And then the Unsullied! I mean, sure, I guess he might think that she would honor their agreement, but if she has an 8,000 person trained army that’s 100% loyal to her and no one else has anything but guards…? It doesn’t take a military genius to calculate the possibilities here.

Anyway, even though I kind of saw that coming when I was reading the books, by now, I, of course, have read all the books, so I actually know what’s coming; it’s just a matter of how it will look on screen. There are a large number of folks that haven’t read the books and only know the story from the show—and I’ve been following their chatter on Twitter. A lot of people were upset with how callous and insulting Kraznys is—especially when he’s insulting the Dothraki. I’d love to know what it was like to watch this episode if you really didn’t know what was coming. That experience must’ve been incredible.

As it was, the scene was outstanding. I was delighted by Emilia Clarke’s performance. She really does speak High Valyrian like a natural. She missed a word or two here or there, but such will happen. Overall, I’m extraordinarily pleased. I’m going to try to go through all the lines, but it’s going to take me a bit (Final Draft doesn’t allow characters with macrons, so there are no long vowels in the script. I’ll have to do a bit of back and forth to get it right). Anyway, Dany gives the following orders to her new army:

  • Dovaogēdys! Naejot memēbātās! Kelītīs!
  • “Unsullied! Forward march! Halt!”

Of note here is that High Valyrian distinguishes between singular and plural commands. The commands here are plural, as Dovaogēdys is plural, rather than collective.

Then we have a little more Astapori Valyrian from Kraznys, who evidently hasn’t been paying much attention (#distractedbydragon):

  • Ivetra j’aspo zya dyni do majis.
  • “Tell the bitch her beast won’t come.”

And then Dany’s comeback:

  • Zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor.
  • “A dragon is not a slave.”

Of note here: the word for dragon, zaldrīzes. Also, buzdari is stressed on the second syllable even though the a is not long because this isn’t actually a High Valyrian word: It’s an Astapori word that Dany is using on purpose. The High Valyrian word for slave is dohaeriros (whose root you may recognize), but the word they use in Astapor is buzdar, which has its roots in Ghiscari. Dany uses his own word so he’ll know that she knows. (And, by the way, since it’s a borrowing, it goes into the borrowed declension class, which means its accusative ends in -i.) And, indeed, Kraznys now gets it:

  • Ydra ji Valyre?
  • “You speak Valyrian?”

And then we get, perhaps, my favorite Daenerys line:

  • Nyke Daenerys Jelmāzmo hen Targārio Lentrot, hen Valyrio Uēpo ānogār iksan. Valyrio muño ēngos ñuhys issa.
  • “I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyria. Valyrian is my mother tongue.”

(Note: Those who were participating in a previous discussion may want to look at the precise spelling of Daenerys. I guess it has been decided! Forgot about that.)

Then comes quite a long bit of High Valyrian for Dany:

  • Dovaogēdys! Āeksia ossēnātās, menti ossēnātās, qilōni pilos lue vale tolvie ossēnātās, yn riñe dōre ōdrikātās. Urnet luo buzdaro tolvio belma pryjātās!
  • “Unsullied! Slay the masters, slay the soldiers, slay every man who holds a whip, but harm no child. Strike the chains off every slave you see!”

And then we get Kraznys’ last lines of the show:

  • Nyk skan jiva aeske! Zer sena! Zer sena!
  • “I am your master! Kill her! Kill her!”

And then Dany says one of the High Valyrian words we already knew, and then comes the sweet, sweet carnage.

From IGN

Hit “Escape” to pause.

What a scene… My hat is off to Dave and Dan. They’ve done great work, and continue to raise the bar.

At the end, Dany says most of the following:

  • Jevo glaesoti rȳ buzdari istiat. Kesȳ tubī jemot dāervi tepan.
  • “You have been slaves all your life. Today I give you freedom.”

Next:

  • Henujagon jaelza lua vala mirre henujagon kostas, se daorys ziry ōdrikilza. Jemot kivio ñuhe tepan.
  • “Any man who wishes to leave may leave, and no one will harm him. I give you my word.”

Finally:

  • Yne sytivīlībilāt? Hae dāero valoti?
  • “Will you fight for me? As free men?”

I don’t think I missed any long vowels above, but I may have (and if so, I’m sure we’ll get them sorted eventually).

I hope you enjoyed the episode as much as I did. It was an absolute joy to work on High Valyrian, and now that I’ve heard Emilia speak it, I can say that I’m really pleased with the results. I’m also greatly appreciative of the talents of Dan Hildebrand: the latest fallen soldier from Game of Thrones. When I was imagining Kraznys, I was imagining a coarse, revolting, unmannered oaf of a slave master. Dan did the exact opposite of this. His Kraznys is well-cultivated, and speaks with an easy almost callous casualness. It makes his insulting behavior that much more shocking, in my opinion. He seems like a guy who would do well in mixed company, so the fact that he can be so horribly insulting to someone standing right in front of him gives you a totally different picture of what it means to be a slave master in Astapor. He’s so powerful that he simply doesn’t need to care what anyone thinks of him, and it probably never occurs to him that anything he does could be wrong. You did a remarkable job, Dan, and I couldn’t be happier with the way you tackled Astapori Valyrian. Kirimvose!

So now there’s a good batch of High Valyrian (and Astapori Valyrian) material there to work with. When looking at High Valyrian—especially the sentences with relative clauses—bear in mind that, in most important respects, High Valyrian is head-final. Relative clauses are a bit tough—or backwards—for anyone speaking a Western language.

Four down and six to go! Plenty of Valyrian yet to come. Thanks for reading!

Posted on April 22, 2013, in Episode Recaps and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 236 Comments.

  1. Awesome episode! Please publish books on Dothraki and Valyrian soon.

    You could do an exhibition on your languages and travel the world.

    Here in Vienna we have an Esperanto museum: Would be great to have an exhibition here: http://www.onb.ac.at/ev/esperanto_museum.htm

  2. The high Valyrian sounded awesome! You did an amazing job and i’m looking forward to hearing more of it on the show!

  3. Hi David, great job on the Valyrian. But isn’t dracarys suppose to translate as “dragon-fire”? So how do we get to Zaldrīzes for dragon? Or is that Ghiscari originally?

    I’ve been wondering about the Targaryen names. The root in many of them, “aerys”. If dracarys is dragonfire, many of the Targ names seem like they ought to mean something-fire. Can you go through the past Targaryens and give a translation?

    Seems to me Daenerys ought to mean something like Servant of Fire, if the Dae part is in any way descended from dohaeris.

    And if Varys has a Valyrian meaning, that might be pretty neat. Many fans seem to think he is a secret Targ.

    • High Valyrian simply does not put words together like this. For example, singling out the “-rys” part of the names is like singling out the “-le” part of “little”, “rattle”, “battle”, “cuddle”, “puddle”, etc. It’s not as if “-le” means something, and then “litt-“, “ratt-“, etc. means something different.

      Drakarys means “dragon fire”—or, perhaps more specifically, “the fire that comes from a dragon”, as opposed to the fire that comes from anything else. It doesn’t have any part of the word “dragon” in it, though (cf. “human” vs. “saliva” in English). It’s a separate word for that substance.

      I don’t have etymologies for many of the names yet, but it does seem quite likely that Varys is originally a Valyrian name.

      • Have you thought about the other confirmed Valyrian-descended houses/names (i.e. House Valeryon, House Baratheon)?

        • Correct me if I am wrong, but House Baratheon married into the Targaryen house via the Targ female line, and thus Baratheon is not necessarily Valyrian-decended.

          • Actually the founder of House Baratheon was Orys Baratheon, who was rumoured to have been Aegon I’s bastard brother. So he may not be a Targaryen bastard, but he definitely is Valyrian.

            • I think he actually married a Baratheon girl and took her name because he was made a lord by his brother Aegon. So he wouldn’t have been a Baratheon before.

          • Let’s straighten all this up. At the time we are speaking of the Targaryens lived at Dragonstone. They weren’t the only inhabitants of the island, in fact, we now know of several generations of Dragonstone-born Targaryens. Orys Baratheon was rumored to be a bastard brother of Aegon the Dragon. We do not know who was Orys’ mother, but we know Aegon’s mother was Velena Velaryon, so they shared (presumably) their father, Aerion Targaryen.

            Now, during the conquest Orys Baratheon rose through the ranks and slew the last Storm King, Argilac ‘the Arrogant’ Durrendon. He then married his daughter, Argella of House Durrendon, took her colors, banner and words, but not her name! Hence the colors, banners and words of House Baratheon and Durrendon are the same, but Orys founded House Baratheon and was its first member. (This suggests that whoever his mother was she was not from a House Baratheon).

            In Dragonstone there could be several Valyrian families, as we know House Velaryon is, specially back then. So he still might be Valyrian on both sides or at least raised in the Valyrian culture.

      • Have you given any thought to what the word for dragonglass (obsidian) would be? According to the books, dragonglass was known as “frozen fire” in High Valyrian.

  4. Hello Mr.Petersen,
    I was wondering a few things
    Firstly, Daenerys says in this episode that Valyrian is her first language. Yet if remember correctly you mentioned on you blog that no one speaks High Valrian natively anymore and it is a literary language people learn and use as a 2nd language. It is similar in its role to Latin in the Middle Ages. Does Daenerys speak a common version of Valyrian used on the West coast of Essos as her fast language or is it High Valyrian?

    Secondly, how would the Unsullied understand High Valyrian? Since they presumably speak Astaporian Valyrian which I think you mentioned has changed hugely from the Valyrian of old. Does Daenerys use Astaporian Valyrian when speaking with them or does she use the Valyrian spoken in the Free Cities on the West coast of Essos that I presume she speaks natively? Are these dialects of Valyrian mutually intelligible? And is High Valyrian still understandable to most speakers of Low Valyrian?

    I know practically nothing on linguistics but I have to say that High Valyrian Danenerys uses sounds fantastic as do the Dothraki and Astaporian Valyrian, when developing a language do you choose sounds that are pleasing to the ear?

    I apologise in advance if any of these questions are stupid.

    • Yet if remember correctly you mentioned on you blog that no one speaks High Valrian natively anymore and it is a literary language people learn and use as a 2nd language.

      This is the sense I get, but going back through A Dance with Dragons, there are a lot of people speaking “High Valyrian” that I wouldn’t expect to. I would, though, expect the Targaryen household to specifically maintain High Valyrian for speaking at home (this may, in fact, have been mentioned in the books), so it doesn’t seem unlikely that her first language was High Valyrian, along with Common (since they lived in Westeros). She probably learned a lot from Viserys, and also as she moved along over in Essos.

      And High Valyrian is still spoken in Astapor. I think a better analogy is the fusHaa and ‘amiiya of Arabic rather than Latin and the Romance languages. People still “speak” Quranic Arabic, but only if they have to. Everyone learns it in school. Everyone will hear it in formal situations. But it’s not the language that anyone speaks. I’m not sure if this will make sense, but it still works very efficiently in the Middle East. You can get by with al-fusHaa. People will think you sound strange, but they’ll understand it.

      For the sounds, almost all of the sounds were gleaned form the names in the books. I added one or two here to fill out the system, but it mostly came from GRRM. And, yes, I started there for High Valyrian, but one need not if one is creating a language.

      • I don’t think “Valyrian is my native language” necessarily means the Targaryens spoke HV at the breakfast table. I understand that as “Valyrian is part of my heritage, just like my silver hair and coat of arms”.

        The Arabic analogy sounds very appropriate.

        • I understand that as “Valyrian is part of my heritage, just like my silver hair and coat of arms”.

          I would agree.

        • Depending on culture (not talking purely linguistic definitions here) Mother Tongue and First/Native Language may not be considered the same thing.

          If what she said was “Mother Tongue” (not “Native Tongue”) she could be saying it in the sense that I’ve heard some Indian-Australians use, where that people from an Indian cultural background may think of Telugu, Oriya etc as their “Mother Tongue” even if they actually grew up essentially as a native speaker of English and may not speak their “Mother Tongue” very well.

          I also know a man from Ghana who refers to Hausa (I think) as his Mother Tongue, but admits that he actually speaks both English and Arabic better than this language, having grown up being educated through English. He’s an Arabic teacher by day.

          The Arabic diglossia analogy given by David makes total sense as well.

          • Zaldrize Dare

            Aunque el espanol es mi lengua madre tengo mas dominio sobre el ingles. De hecho mi ingles es mas fluido.

            (For those not familiar with the language of Cervantes: “Although Spanish is my mother tongue, I have a better mastery of English. In fact, my English is more fluid.)

            David, what is the High Valyrian word for “mother”? Dany says, “Valyrio muño engo ñuhys issa.” Hence, I’m gonna make a (not-so) educated guess and say that “ñuhys” is, or has something to do with the Valyrian word for “mother.”

            Kudos as well for peppering Valyrian with my favorite of all the letters in the Spanish alphabet: the eñe. I just love that!

      • I think a better analogy is the fusHaa and ‘amiiya of Arabic rather than Latin and the Romance languages.

        I’m told there’s a passage in the books where Tyrion ponders whether all the modern forms of Valyrian should be considered separate languages, or just dialects of the same language. And, if I remember right, he eventually decides that it’s debatable now, but in a century they’ll be separate for sure.

        If this is true, then the problem with the Romance analogy would be that we are thinking of the high Middle Ages, or even our own era, rather than Late Antiquity or the Dark Ages. The comparison works much better in that early era when people were already speaking the Romance languages, but not yet writing them down, because they thought of them as just Bastard Latin.

        • I think it’s worth noting that during the signing of the Oaths of Strasbourg, Old French is referenced as “lingua romana” quite literally “the roman tongue”. And this is repeated in other Romance languages when confronted to non-Romance languages (as my friend, Mad Latinist, pointed out to me), using latina, romana, ladina, or variants thereof. These oaths are from ca. 842, so yeah, we are thinking about late Middle Ages, when maybe it would be more correct, for analogy’s sake, to think of the early Middle Ages.

          • Well, and as I understand the chronology, it’s only been about 400 years since the Doom of Valyria, nearly exactly the time between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Oaths of Strasbourg.

  5. The way David and Dan set the Valyrian zinger up was, seems, for the non-readers.
    Man! did it work!
    That was an E- ticket!
    Wow! You done did good!

  6. So the syntax is Japanese-like, eh? :)

    “Whip holding men all KILL! Chains of slaves all you see STRIKE!”

    High Valyrian is awesome, and call me crazy but to me it sounds a bit like… Finnish? Words like “kivio”, “iksan”, “lentrot”, “osseenaataas” – I dig. What I don’t dig is that the language is an inflectional smörgåsbord, i.e. damn near impossible to learn. I’ll have fun trying anyway.

    • Once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad. There are tons of different declension and conjugation classes, but they all hover around the same basic ideas, so it should work pretty naturally.

      And I specifically included “ks” so it would sound Latin, but, I swear, spelling something “ks” as opposed to “x” just seems to ruin the magic for English speakers. It’s like that one little letter has a life of its own.

  7. So was her pronunciation meant to be a modern Westerosi and/or Free Cities version of High Valyrian (like, say, Ecclesiastical Latin?) or close to ancient HV (like the reconstructed classical Latin pronunciation)? I’m not up with IPA and all that, but I did notice that she said Daenerys with a Latinate ae but she did not use [y] as far as I could tell.

    • It is supposed to be a more or less faithful version of High Valyrian, but it would certainly be colored by the pronunciation of the modern languages. [y] was lost in most of the daughter languages. It’s also very difficult to do oddly-rounded vowels if you’re not used to them, so it may just not have come out (and actually for some of these, I just did the phonetic as [i], since it’s close, and it’s the sound that [y] would’ve gone to in most situations).

  8. Emilia Clarke, Dan Hildebrand, and Ramin Javadi all did an incredible job with that scene. And so did you: you could tell High Valyrian was related to what the Masters were speaking, but it sounded totally different.

    Your transcriptions will make “my job” easier, which is good because I was dreading having to transcribe the whole scene this time around. A lot to learn from this, but what strikes me right now is this:

    sesīrsizi “even”
    sesīrsir “now”

    This is really interesting, and if I didn’t know better I would assume this was a case of sésīr vs. *sesī́r, but that seems unlikely given the fixed stress rule you’ve already given us. On the other hand, it’s possible there might be exceptions: you’ve already mentioned that loanwords don’t necessarily follow this rule (buzdắri).

    Latin has a fixed stress as well, and as we’ve discussed the rule is very similar (and yet significantly different) to that which you’ve created for HV. In Latin the rule seems, for the most part at least, to have applied even to loanwords (e.g. Σωκράτης SōkrátēsSṓcratēs, which is why we accent it on the first syllable in English). And yet even in Latin there are exceptions, like (the somewhat shocking) illúc “over there”. Even fenéstra “window” (totally regular and backed up by the Romance languages) was apparently fénestra (irregular, but backed up by ancient authorities) at some point.

    So perhaps it’s possible that sesī́r really does occur in spoken HV.

  9. Does dracarys still mean dragonfire, since it does not appear to be related to the word for dragon?

  10. Emilia’s performance was totally badass, no denying that. It also sounded like the language came to her naturally and she meant what she was saying, as opposed to reciting some formula.

    I also didn’t hear any [y], though, nor could I discern any vowel length distinctions. I would have expected words like {ossēnātās} to sound very conspicious if pronounced with due observance of vowel quantity. I find the rendition of /y/ as [i] a plausible idiolect for contemporary High Valyrian, but surely loss of vowel quantity would hurt intellegibility?

    In any case, the language came across as powerful and magnificent, so well done in any case!

    • The vowel length was by no means absent (to my ear, she always got the length on Dovaogēdys), but it often manifests itself in stress patterns. For commands, the vowel length is negligible, and would certainly be one of the first things to go (as with word-final vowel length). Commands also have a dramatic stress shift (stress switches to word-final—the only words that have word-final stress), so in addition to the distinct morphology itself (-ās/-ātās), the stress shift makes distinguishing something like vowel length not as important in that situation.

      • That’s true about Dovaogēdys. I didn’t notice that because it’s pretty common to lengthen stressed open syllables even in languages without phonemic vowel length (such as Italian), but Emilia does say tepan with a short vowel to contrast that in Dovaogēdys.

        When you say vowel length is one of the first things to go, do you mean in actor-spoken Valyrian or in post-Valyrian HV? Or would even Valyrians in the golden age have dropped those long vowels? Is that something natlangs with quantitative vowel length (like Finnish) also do?

        • Of course it’s also common in English to lengthen vowels before a voiced sound.

        • When you say vowel length is one of the first things to go, do you mean in actor-spoken Valyrian or in post-Valyrian HV?

          I meant quite specifically the vowel length in imperatives. Of course, distinctive vowel length was lost in all the Romance languages, wasn’t it? Not all languages lose their long vowels, but a good chunk do.

  11. I just want to say – wow. The High Valyrian was better than I could have imagined. You deserve such enormous props, and so does Emilia Clarke (and Dan Hildebrand and Natalie Emmanuel too, of course) for their performance of it.

    I also really like the comparison to Finnish “vaes leisi” did! I am from Sweden myself, so I have heard Finnish quite a lot. Was this something you had in mind when creating the language?

    • Not a bit, actually. Finnish was probably the furthest thing away from my mind when creating HV. I can see it, though (especially if you write all the vowels as double vowels). And the relative pronoun (lua, etc.) often ends up looking quite Finnic.

  12. Was wondering a few things, I don’t know too much about IPA / phonetics, but every time Dany said “ossēnātās”, it sounded more like “ossēntās”, missing the aah sound of ā to connect the “sēn” to “tās”.

    Was that intentional or just a slight mispronunciation.

    • Well, it wasn’t intentional on my part. That particular vowel is probably the least important vowel in the word, so I can see it getting dropped. But, no, not intentional. It will happen from time to time that a vowel or even an entire word will be lost. That’s showbiz.

    • I remember that she did say it correctly the third time she said it which had me a bit thrown because I assumed that she was saying the same word all three times. Still it got across just fine.

  13. As a grad student in linguistics, I’m dying to get a hold on a reference grammar on Valyrian or Dothraki. You guys are wonderful language workers! Would you mind do a little glossing for the samples given in this article?

  14. Hello, Mr. Peterson!

    Did GRRM himself give you any recommendations when your were creating the language? I mean, telling you what the names of the Targaryens meant, or stuff like that?

    I am no expert in linguistics, but, I think it was pretty easy to notice (or at least it would be SO NEAT if it was like that) that RYS meant “fire”. That would make sense for dracarys, and the names of the Targaryens, who had everything to do with fire.

    My question is… did you even think about going that way (I mean, by the starting point that rys meant fire and that all the names could come around to mean something cool combined with fire) and changed your mind, or it never occurred to you?

    I am a BIG fan of your work, but I must say I’m a little disappointed with the fact that rys does not mean fire.

    Kirimvose!

    • No, I never heard from GRRM before setting to work on HV.

      I am no expert in linguistics, but, I think it was pretty easy to notice (or at least it would be SO NEAT if it was like that) that RYS meant “fire”. That would make sense for dracarys, and the names of the Targaryens, who had everything to do with fire.

      My question is… did you even think about going that way (I mean, by the starting point that rys meant fire and that all the names could come around to mean something cool combined with fire) and changed your mind, or it never occurred to you?

      Yes, it did occur to me, and no, I never entertained the possibility. If that was intended (and I hope it wasn’t), it would be very disappointing, as it strikes me as quite the opposite of “neat” (see my comment on spacechampion’s comment above).

  15. Hi, David.
    I don’t know if you’ve got that far yet, but I was wondering if you could translate Fire & Blood into High Valyrian for me. I imagine it would be something like “Arys Anogar” but I would like some verification. Thank you.

      • That {ār} ending would seem to be the first attested use of the comitative case. Since it’s a case, I suppose it overwrites whatever other case the word would have had, with the implication that it shares the same case as the first word.

        So I shall take what is mine… *perzysa ānogār?

        Hm. Our understanding of HV declension paradigms is sesīr daokeliton. :P

        • Via IRC:

          There are two ways of coordinating things: using “se” (more formal) and lengthening the final vowel of the second element (more common).

          So apparently not comitative, just a different construction.

          I commented that it was almost as if PIE had used *-He for “and” instead of *-kʷe. Since then I remembered that in fact there WAS such a form in PIE, or at least Hittite & Palaic -(y)a, Luvian -ḫa, -ḫe, Lycian, Milyan -ke (all meaning “and”) point to a PIE *-H₃e.

          But back on topic: apparently ānogār is essentially synonymous with se ānogar, and whatever we want to call this construction it’s probably not a case per se.

          I really need to post about that chat: David was feeling particularly generous that night, I guess, and we now have several corrections to make on my first post.

          Also, good job on your Valar Urnēbis comment!

          • Oh, right, and David already gave us an example of the comitative here: “But a word like vala (being first declension) actually declines in both: valosa (instrumental) and valoma (comitative).”

            Also, by way of correcting my last comment: that IRC quote should say <DavidJPeterson> at the beginning (I forgot, of course, that if I just pasted that into my comment, it would be treated as an HTML tag!

        • Actually, no: it’s purely a coordination strategy. The commutative usually ends in /-ma/.

  16. It’s seems I’m not the only one confused or in disagreement with the choice in your created Valyrian word for ‘dragon’, “zaldrizes”. Nothing at all like ‘dracarys’ which is the valyrian word for “dragonfire” in George’s book. It would only make logical sense to stick to something thats closer to that for the valyrian word for dragon in the show. Even the historical latin word “draco” is what influenced the creation of the word “dracarys”. Even in the books the valyrians are much like an ancient romans with a hint of greek and egyptian it seems with the thematic sinking of altantis(doom of valyria).

    And in many cultures ancient and present “dra” is used at the start of the word they use for dragon. How about ‘draczyns’ , ‘drazcen’ or something similar to what you came up with like ‘dracrizens’.

    It would have been beneficial to consult the author on his intentions on the word ‘dracarys’ to help formulate a word for dragon. As ‘rys’ is often found in Valyrian royal names. Unless Georges intent for the ‘rys’ to be dragon? It would be odd that he used “drac” in the word “dracarys” which means “dragon fire” or “fire that comes from a dragon”. Which would then mean ‘drac’ would be a form of ‘fire’? Oh its so confusing. So either “drac” is fire or dragon. Or ‘rys” is fire or dragon…i think.

    The answer to spacehampion with the poor examples of “little, rattle, battle, cuddle” seemed a huge stretch.
    I’m also curious as to what languages you took influence to create valyrian. My friends and I noticed some latin or maybe some ancient grecian

    I either confused myself more or you hah. I hope I made sense. The languages you have created sound great. But so far Ive been so perplexed with the decision on “dragon” and even “fire”.
    Cheers.

    • To try to answer this without getting too far into the history of language creation, to segment “dracarys” as “draca” (dragon) and “rys” (fire) would be such an exceedingly, embarrassingly terrible artistic choice I may as well have handed in my conlanger pin. I wouldn’t even address it aside from the fact that people keep asking about it.

      To try to answer a few of the questions in here:

      Even the historical latin word “draco” is what influenced the creation of the word “dracarys”.

      Yes, which is one of the reasons why the word is so unfortunate. In the universe of the books, there is no such thing as the Latin language—or any of the other languages on Earth. It is literally impossible for any word (or anything else) in the Song of Ice and Fire universe to be related to anything in our universe. As a result, the accidental relationship of two words is either an astronomical coincidence, or completely unrealistic. I prefer the former to the latter, and making drakarys its own root helps to ensure that it’s the former and not the latter.

      As ‘rys’ is often found in Valyrian royal names.

      Referring back to Latin, “-nus” is often found in royal Roman names: Balbinus, Gallienus, Carinus, Pupienus, Maximinus, Antoninus Pius… What did it mean, “nus”? Absolutely nothing. The ending -us is the nominative singular ending for a lot of nouns and names in Latin, and n is a common letter. This is exactly the case with High Valyrian, where r is a common letter, and -ys is the nominative singular ending for a lot of nouns and names. Consider the following mini-paradigm of the name Aerys:

      Aerys (nominative)
      Aeri (accusative)
      Aero (genitive)
      Aerot (dative)
      Aerȳ (locative)

      Notice that only in the nominative does the sequence rys appear. This sequence of three letters is precisely as meaningful (or, rather, as meaningless) as “sed” in “leased”.

      The answer to spacehampion with the poor examples of “little, rattle, battle, cuddle” seemed a huge stretch.

      You should reread that response, because I suspect that you may not have understood the thrust of it.

      While it would be possible (albeit completely distasteful) to make dracarys into the literal English “dragonfire”, it would have necessitated a massive change in the structure of the language. The result would look absolutely nothing like Latin, and would, instead, probably look a lot like Chinese or Vietnamese. That seemed to me to be an inappropriate artistic choice, so I never considered it—and most certainly never would, even if I had the opportunity to radically alter the language at this point.

      • David, you’re getting so many protestations about dracarys that you may want to set up a faq page about that word ;)

        In the universe of the books, there is no such thing as the Latin language—or any of the other languages on Earth. It is literally impossible for any word (or anything else) in the Song of Ice and Fire universe to be related to anything in our universe.

        But Westerosi names are overwhelmingly slightly modified forms of genuine English names. I suppose you’ll argue this is like Tolkien’s use of (various forms and stages of) English though

        Referring back to Latin, “-nus” is often found in royal Roman names: Balbinus, Gallienus, Carinus, Pupienus, Maximinus, Antoninus Pius… What did it mean, “nus”? Absolutely nothing.

        Bad example, though, because -inus does mean something (Ahem, my real name happens to be Iūstīnus ;) ). I confess that I am less sanguine about -ienus though.

        Consider the following mini-paradigm of the name Aerys:

        • Aerys (nominative)
        • Aeri (accusative)
        • Aero (genitive)
        • Aerot (dative)
        • Aerȳ (locative)

        HOORAY! Time for a declension party!! I’m in Latin-obsessed conlanger heaven ;)

        • Declension party, I like the sound of that. :)

          I wonder what the paradigms would look like for a small group of men called Aerys, a large group of men called Aerys, and men called Aerys in general? ;o)

          We have “paucal”, “plural”, and “collective” attested for nouns, though it seems at least verbal imperatives only have singular and plural forms. Maybe collectives are treated as singular? That would fit with {azantyr} being translated as “army” when in fact it’s obviously the collective form of {azantys} “knight”. We also know that {valar} is the collective of “man”, which fits as well. My gut feeling is that {valar} comes from an athematic declension (with {val} in the nominative singular?), but it could also be something like {valas}… anyway, I’ll bet a galebo the demography of men called Aerys would be {Aeryr} in the nominative. :o)

          We’ve also heard of an instrumental case, which is not present in the paradigm above. Perhaps it is ungrammatical to put people into the instrumental case?

          • So… if you include instrumental, then rather than being the Latin cases, it’s the same 6 cases as Russian?

            I never studied Latin, but I did have 3 years of Russian classes. I’ve forgotten most of it, but I’m pretty sure in Russian you can use instrumental case with people – со мной etc.

            Not that Russian usage means that it should/could be grammatical in Valyrian ;)

            Yay for declension party.

            • (Responding to both.)

              Pretty much spot on about everything, Zhalio! Though the singular of “man” is vala and valas isn’t a part of the paradigm.

              And High Valyrian has the following 8 cases: Nominative, Accusative, Genitive, Dative, Locative, Instrumental, Comitative and Vocative. The instrumental and comitative are not distinguished in all declensions, and would likely be the first case distinction to collapse—and animacy does play a bit of a role in that. But a word like vala (being first declension) actually declines in both: valosa (instrumental) and valoma (comitative).

          • Hmm, is “collective” actually an inflectional number in Valyrian (as “singular,” “paucal,” and “plural” are known to be), or is it a derivational/lexical thing, where -yr is a suffix forming an entirely new word?

            • Both. The collective serves as a number for any word, but that word itself can be used as a new word (and often is used to derive new words, as is the paucal). HV has a special declension class for words that have a collective or paucal number serve as the new singular of a new word. Using Zhalio’s example above:

              azantys “knight, soldier”
              azantyr “army”
              azantyri “armies”

            • Cool. Now I’m certain I’ve seen something like this before in an Earth language, but I can’t for the life of me think of where….

            • Here’s a question: if a relexicalized collective (or paucal) can be pluralized, as with azantyri… can it be put in the collective or paucal as well?

              I’m thinking of recursive diminutives in Latin:
              cista “box, basket, container”
              cistula “a little container”
              cistella “a little little container”
              cistellula “a little little little container”

              In theory you could continue this forever, but to my knowledge no Latin diminutive goes beyond the level of cistellula.

              Returning to HV, it seems plausible that under some circumstances you might want to collectivize or paucalize a word that’s already plural or paucal. For instance, the hypothetical collective of azantyr might mean something like “the military,” right?

              So does this ever happen?

            • I can’t imagine it ever being so useful that it would be common, but if you were to form a paucal from a collective or paucal, you’d use the base -un suffix, and then follow the usual declension pattern. For a collective, it’d probably be -ar. That’s a guess, though. I’d need to get more of a feel for it to see what seems natural.

      • At the risk of losing my conlanger pin, I’d like to add my grain of salt to the drakarys issue, which is similar to Linda’s opinion.

        Martin picked the words maegi and drakarys intentionally to trigger associations to the English words “mage” and “dragon”, and I too suspect he means for the Valyrian words to have sired the corresponding words in the Westerosi tongues (as did the Latin words magus and draco in the Real World). Since English stands in for Common in the books and on screen, it’s not much of a stretch to have words like drakarys stand in for the “real” Valyrian word, from which the “real” Common word is derived. At some point, the metaphor would break — if one were to render all Valyrian as immaculate Latin, it would spoil the illusion of a free-standing fantasy world.

        The threshold where suspension of disbelief falters is different from person to person, and I do understand David’s point of view (where drakarys is already too much), though I suspect the intensity of his response might have been provoked a bit by Scott’s rather insultingly patronizing tone and wildly misguided claims.

        Personally, I think it’s fine. The existence of a word root {drak-} meaning “dragon” is, by itself, not more improbable than any other root; after all, it happened on our world. The improbability arises only when you postulate that Martin’s world and ours co-exist in the same universe and happen to have evolved that same root separately. Even if you do, that improbability is not that huge; things like that do happen in real life. For instance, German haben means the same thing as Latin habere, but is apparently unrelated (it is instead related to Latin capere, with a somewhat different meaning). On the other hand, the parallel evolution of “humans”, “horses”, “ravens” etc. on two unrelated worlds in the same universe would be infinitely more improbable.

        I would also a priori expect drakarys to be a derived term or even a compound. “Wool” and “honey” are weak analogies, since they describe the material long after it has been separated from its origin. Kids grow up learning about wool and honey way before they learn about their relation to sheep and bees. One never encounters dragonfire without a dragon to spew it, so there is little incentive to have an unrelated word for it, just as we don’t have a particular word for “sheep nose”.

        That said, just splitting drakarys into {draka} “dragon” and {rys} “fire” would have been very crude indeed. Personally, I might have made drakarys and adjectival derivation of the word for dragon (like Latin draconicus) that was idiomatically used for its fire in particular. If I had gone with a compound, I would have spiced it up a bit by making the second word {rhȳs}, an irregular member of the athematic declension with the stem {rhȳ-}, meaning “breath” or “wrath” rather than “fire”. The compound {drācārys} would then forget its etymology and revert to the much more common u-thematic declension, ending in {-ys} in the nominative. The origin of Dothraki maegi would of course be {mahāgys}, “wise”. ;o)

        • One never encounters dragonfire without a dragon to spew it, so there is little incentive to have an unrelated word for it…

          I don’t agree. First, I don’t think one needs any incentive to have a different word for anything—or any incentive not to, even. The fact that the word isn’t just “fire” is incentive enough to have a different word for it, but there’s no a priori reason it should derive from the word for dragon. While I wouldn’t find such a thing impossible, I’d find it highly atypical.

          Personally, I might have made drakarys an adjectival derivation of the word for dragon (like Latin draconicus) that was idiomatically used for its fire in particular.

          And, in fact, that’s not impossible now—or at least the thing I’m imagining, not what you have here. There are a number of examples of adjectives describing a thing being unrelated to the thing (though unfortunately the only examples I can think of right now are English and Latin [e.g. horse vs. equine, dog vs. canine]). That’s a possibility here. For example, if it were to be a nominalization off of a participle, it would be drak-ar-os (or draka-r-os; in this case, the shape of the root wouldn’t matter). From there to drakarys would be a simple declension class change—which can be done to pick out exceptional members of a class. In that case, it would mean “that which x’s”, where x is whatever the verb drakagon means.

          • Aha! So the HV word for servant, {dohaeriros}, is a regular participle meaning “one who serves”. Neat. :)

            Are there separate declension paradigms for adjectives and nouns, or do they all live in the same parameter space?

            • Adjectives and nouns decline in different though related ways. There are a smaller set of adjectival declensions, and the endings differ depending on whether the adjective comes before the noun or after. Adjectives can be zero-derived to nouns, but the participles (and demonstratives) have a systematic path to nominalization.

      • Thanks for the explanation. I too questioned it before but what you said makes alot of sense to me. And I’m no linguist.

    • The answer to spacehampion with the poor examples of “little, rattle, battle, cuddle” seemed a huge stretch.

      Absolutely not a huge stretch.

      David is 100% correct with this – if the -rys is so common, it makes it far LESS likely to be anything more than a simple common word ending.

      Furthermore, Dracarys doesn’t have to be a literal compound of “dragon+fire”. In English we say “wool”, not “sheephair” (which is the literal translation of the Chinese name, for example). We say “blubber” instead of “whale fat”. “Honey” instead of “bee saliva with pollen in it”.

      A huge number of German words end in -ung. What does -ung mean on its own? Not much, it’s just the ending that means this noun is derived from a verb.

      David’s example of Roman names ending in “-nus” is also a great illustration of this.

      And yes, it was kind of lame that GRRM put such an obvious “Hic sunt Dracones” reference into “dracarys” in the first place…

    • It’s like when a student in my French class asks which part of “devoirs” means “home” and which part means “work” :) #ithappens

  17. Thank you sir. Now all I have to do is try to make Valyrian glyphs out of that (I’ve been told that’s the Valyrian writing system.) and I’ll be able to get it tattooed on myself.

  18. Hello, David!

    Can you please tell me if there is any relation between the words VALAR and VALONQAR?

    Also, can you please translate “winter is coming”?

  19. On the topic of dracarys…

    I think its just how most authors who aren’t conlangers approach the process. And there’s a point to it as well, from a writer’s point of view; the intertextual connections embedded in such a word brings a lot of important associations with it. That probably matters more to most writers than it being a sensible base for a conlang.

    If I were to guess at how GRRM views the languages in his setting, I think he imagines that the Common Tongue happens to sound exactly like English. That means there’s a word for “dragon” in the Common Tongue that happens to be, well, “dragon”.

    Then, when he introduces “dracarys” as a High Valyrian word meaning “dragon fire”, he probably imagines (he may or may not have thought this through consciously, it could be a subconscious choice as well) that the Common Tongue word “dragon” is a derivative of the Valyrian word for dragon, which presumably contains “drac” in some form.

    That keeps it all to an “in-world” explanation for the relationship. Yes, it still sounds very derived from real-world languages, which probably isn’t what a conlanger wants, but since those languages don’t exist in Westeros there isn’t a thematic problem with it.

    I tend to imagine that most authors who are not conlangers approach languages for their setting in this way; whatever they have as their “Common Tongue” happens to sound exactly like English and foreign words borrowed into that language come from other in-world languages that sometimes happen to have a lot in common with other real-world languages.

    Now, I don’t disagree with the idea that dracarys doesn’t have to have any direct connection to the word for dragon, but if you were to ask me if I think that GRRM intended the word for dragon to be “drac-something” then I would say “yes, very likely so”. As such, I would be inclined to consider it show canon instead of book canon for the time being.

    (I’ll add, though, that we don’t have any special knowledge about the matter from GRRM — at least, I don’t think any of the new dragon names we’ve seen for “The World of Ice and Fire” shed any light on the matter.)

    • Then, when he introduces “dracarys” as a High Valyrian word meaning “dragon fire”, he probably imagines (he may or may not have thought this through consciously, it could be a subconscious choice as well) that the Common Tongue word “dragon” is a derivative of the Valyrian word for dragon, which presumably contains “drac” in some form.

      That keeps it all to an “in-world” explanation for the relationship. Yes, it still sounds very derived from real-world languages, which probably isn’t what a conlanger wants, but since those languages don’t exist in Westeros there isn’t a thematic problem with it.

      There’s no reason that, given that set of constraints, the Common word “dragon” can’t still derive from drakarys. After all, it still means “dragon fire”, and it seems as likely a source as any.

      Consider that when Aegon conquered Westeros, if dragons functioned the same way (i.e. you say drakarys to get them to breathe fire), the common folk would’ve been hearing that word a lot. If they needed a name for the thing burninating them, drakarys is a good word to use—and it’s not too hard, given sound changes and misapprehension, to get from that to “dragon”. I know we just discussed this, but maybe it wasn’t on this post… (In fact, perhaps that was the actual intention: to have the Common word for “dragon” come from the High Valyrian word for “dragonfire” specifically.)

      Now, I don’t disagree with the idea that dracarys doesn’t have to have any direct connection to the word for dragon, but if you were to ask me if I think that GRRM intended the word for dragon to be “drac-something” then I would say “yes, very likely so”.

      Personally, I find this unlikely. Based on all of his other language material, GRRM seems to like to take the impression of words or sounds and tease them out. There are no compounds in any of his constructions that aren’t separated by a space (Vaes Tolorro, Vaes Dothrak, khal rhae mhar). If GRRM had wanted to “dragonfire” to be an actual compound (which is the suggestion here, incidentally: compound vs. simple derivational affixation), I would’ve expected something like dracus arys.

      It seems much more likely to me that he took a dragon-related root (“dracar”) and added a Valyrian-esque ending (“ys”) to get a Valyrian word. He had a fixed set of endings that applied to all the names and words (“-ar”, “-on”, “-ion”, “-e”, “-es”, “-a”, “-is”, “-ys”, “-or”), so it looks like it was built just like any other word or name, but with a real world root (so an English equivalent would be something like “dragonish” or “dragonage”).

      • To extrapolate on this point (ie the word “dragon” having been developed from the Valyrian word for dragonfire), it’s not only conceivable, but I would contend very likely considering that something very similar happened in one of the articles reviewing this particular episode of Game of Thrones.

        In one of the reviews (I can’t remember which of the dozens of review that I’ve read) the author interprets the word “dracarys” to be Drogon’s name. If a modern, real-world reviewer can make this mistake, it’s entirely believable that the people of Westeros might have made a similar mistake in interpreting the Targaryen’s commands to be their word for the beasts that they were unleashing upon them.

        • Ha! That’s incredible. Do you have a link to the article, by any chance?

          • I’ll have to look through my bookmarks and try to find it over the weekend. I know I bookmarked it. Assuming that she hasn’t hastily corrected it because someone corrected her in the comments section. If I find it, I’ll post it here.

      • One little thing to add: If I remember correctly every dragon gets his own secret go word. Daenerys chose Dracarys for her dragons. Aegon’s dragon (and those of his sisters) most likely had a different one.
        Still, your explanations make are all very logical to me :)

        • What is said is that Dany did not want a command that someone would utter by mistake, so she picked a word in High Valyrian.

          There is nothing that suggests that command words were used at all prior to Dany.

  20. First, apologies for not posting this as a direct response, WordPress keeps telling me “Spam Free WordPress could not retrieve the password from the server.”

    There’s no reason that, given that set of constraints, the Common word “dragon” can’t still derive from drakarys. After all, it still means “dragon fire”, and it seems as likely a source as any.

    Consider that when Aegon conquered Westeros, if dragons functioned the same way (i.e. you say drakarys to get them to breathe fire), the common folk would’ve been hearing that word a lot. If they needed a name for the thing burninating them, drakarys is a good word to use—and it’s not too hard, given sound changes and misapprehension, to get from that to “dragon”.

    This is absolutely true, though there’s one issue with it: it isn’t at all clear that Dany uses “dracarys” as the command because it was what the Valyrians did. She simply says she wanted a command that no one was likely to utter by chance, thus she decided to use High Valyrian. So we cannot necessarily assume that this was a word that people in Westeros would have heard regularly from the dragon-riders.

    Personally, I find this unlikely. Based on all of his other language material, GRRM seems to like to take the impression of words or sounds and tease them out. There are no compounds in any of his constructions that aren’t separated by a space (Vaes Tolorro, Vaes Dothrak, khal rhae mhar).

    This is an interesting point, though even if we were to imagine that GRRM’s intended High Valyrian word for dragon is drac-something, does it necessarily follow that dracarys has to be a compound? If, as you say, the English equivalent is something like “dragonish”, could it not have shifted in meaning from “dragonish” to “dragonish fire”? Or perhaps from “something from a dragon” to “fire from a dragon”? That would still leave it possible that the root is dragon, rather than a dragon-related word.

    I can definitely see why you made the choice you did, but I remain dubious that GRRM imagines a High Valyrian word for dragon that isn’t related to “drac”.

    As an aside, did you consider the already published dragon names any? There’s obviously some issues with the naming; at first, it is said the singers named them for gods (later, I think, clarified as Valyrian gods), though one then wonders about these singers, unless in fact they did get the actual names from the Targaryens themselves.

    • First, apologies for not posting this as a direct response, WordPress keeps telling me “Spam Free WordPress could not retrieve the password from the server.”

      I’m sorry about that. I have no idea why it’s happening, and since I’m logged in, I can’t really replicate it. I’ll look into it.

      This is an interesting point, though even if we were to imagine that GRRM’s intended High Valyrian word for dragon is drac-something, does it necessarily follow that dracarys has to be a compound? If, as you say, the English equivalent is something like “dragonish”, could it not have shifted in meaning from “dragonish” to “dragonish fire”? Or perhaps from “something from a dragon” to “fire from a dragon”? That would still leave it possible that the root is dragon, rather than a dragon-related word.

      No it doesn’t, and indeed, this is the way it would have worked—certainly much more likely than “dragon+fire”. This gets into pre-High Valyrian etymology, though, so I’ll leave that to imagination.

      As an aside, did you consider the already published dragon names any? There’s obviously some issues with the naming; at first, it is said the singers named them for gods (later, I think, clarified as Valyrian gods), though one then wonders about these singers, unless in fact they did get the actual names from the Targaryens themselves.

      I used the dragon names along with the non-dragon names to help flesh out the declension of the nouns, so yes. That said, they don’t have etymologies or meanings yet (i.e. so I can tell you how “Meraxes” comes out in the instrumental plural, but I haven’t gone as far as assigning meanings to them yet). I want to be very careful about those, so I’m leaving the area blank for the time being.

  21. Still wrestling with the reply option, so just another direct comment.

    Zhalio,

    I like the way you put it. It combines what I am guessing was the authorial intent with what looks like a reasonable linguistic explanation, at least to my relatively untrained eye.

    Chickenduck,

    David is 100% correct with this – if the -rys is so common, it makes it far LESS likely to be anything more than a simple common word ending.

    Well, the one counter to this would be something that isn’t yet known, namely the degree to which Valyrians were obsessed with fire. It was so ever-present in their society that from that perspective, -rys could very well be derived from the word for fire.

    Obviously, these are issues one runs into with a world that is still, in a sense, evolving, so there’s not much that can be done about that. :)

    The way Zhalio puts it gets close to expressing my thoughts on the matter, while still considering the linguistics of it in a way that’s beyond me.. It

  22. Quick question for commenters here: Is anyone else having problems specifically with leaving a reply to a comment? So this wouldn’t just be leaving a comment per usual, but actually replying to someone else’s comment. I have a potential fix, but I’d like to know how pervasive the issue is first, as it’ll be kind of a hassle for users (i.e. it’ll add one more step to commenting on posts here).

    • If that is the cause of this “spam filter” problem I’ve encountered once or twice, then no I have not noticed a connection so far. But there are definitely times, as I’ve mentioned, where it won’t even give me the “reply” button in the first place.

      • The “reply” problem is a feature, apparently: If comments get too nested, you can no longer reply to comments (I think it’s 5 levels deep…?). So if you’re replying to a thread that has several comments, you’ll get to a point where you have to either put a new comment, or just go to the last comment you can reply to and reply to it again.

  23. Scott Schaffer

    I have to admit, when I first heard Kraznys speak Valyrian, I was a bit disappointed. In my head, Valyrian always sounded a lot like Latin, given that the Valyria = Rome and Ghis = Carthage comparisons are so very obvious. The language Kraznys was speaking just sounded too harsh for the ‘civilized’ tongue of the SoIaF world.

    It only fully struck home in this last episode that Kraznys was speaking Valyrian as corrupted by the Ghiscari, just as he did in the books. When I heard Dany speak High Valyrian, Valyrian in its pure form, it was everything I was hoping and really struck home just how much effort must have gone into distinguishing the Valyrian spoken by Kraznys and that spoken by Dany. Great work!

    As cool as it is that there’s a Dothraki language, I’ve always felt like Valyrian would be the more interesting language; the language of the educated and the cultured, forgotten or corrupted nearly beyond recognition by the masses but preserved and cherished by scholars, again much like Latin to Medieval Europe. Hope to see more details of it in the future.

  24. First of all, this was your call to make, and you’ve made it. So when I offer counterarguments, understand that it’s not in an attempt to second-guess you, it’s more that I’m just enjoying the conversation! Now with that caveat:

    It is literally impossible for any word (or anything else) in the Song of Ice and Fire universe to be related to anything in our universe. As a result, the accidental relationship of two words is either an astronomical coincidence, or completely unrealistic.

    The thing is, astronomical coincidences are woven into the very fabric of the fantasy genre. Why should another world have a culture so similar to our Medieval Europe? Why should another world even have humans?

    Frankly these things seem much more unlikely than two unrelated languages sharing a word.

    While it would be possible (albeit completely distasteful) to make dracarys into the literal English “dragonfire”, it would have necessitated a massive change in the structure of the language. The result would look absolutely nothing like Latin, and would, instead, probably look a lot like Chinese or Vietnamese.

    If I understand your argument it’s because it would be a compound of *draca and *rys, and a word that is just one consonant plus an inflectional ending seems implausible? And it’s much more attractive to assume the morpheme boundary is between dracar- and -ys, the latter being a nominative marker.

    Well, first of all, if we run with this assumption that dracarys does literally mean “dragon-fire,” it could also be drac·arys (as others have already assumed.) But I guess that would limit the number of names derived from that root.

    Second of all, consider the Latin word rēs “thing; matter, topic; possession” (you knew I’d get to Latin eventually, right?). This is a fifth declension, feminine noun, so the nominative ending here is -ēs, making the stem r-. So it’s at least theoretically possible to have Valyrian be declensional like Latin, and yet still have rys be the word for fire. And given the argument people have been making about the importance of fire… sure, why not? (It’s hard to imagine Latin making a compound with the word rēs as its second element, but that’s more likely because of its broad meaning than because of its absurdly short stem.)

    However, the more I think about your comparison to Roman imperial names, the more I’m starting to like it. I previously wrote:

    Bad example, though, because -inus does mean something

    But of course, -īnus, -ēnus, -ānus and so on, are not independent morphemes, but derivational syffixes. And the idea that -arys, -erys etc. are derivational suffixes common in names is quite attractive.

    This also leads to the possibility that dracarys is derived from the same suffix, and that drac- is an obsolete root, perhaps meaning “dragon,” which has lost its meaning.

    (i.e. so I can tell you how “Meraxes” comes out in the instrumental plural, but I haven’t gone as far as assigning meanings to them yet)

    “Meraxes” in the instrumental plural, ha! Now I’m imagining scenarios in my head:

    “If Meraxes itself came to help us, we could not win this battle. Not even with a dozen Meraxes could we be victorious!”

    However, when you gave us the declension of Aerys, you did not list an instrumental. Does it only occur in certain words or certain declension classes?

    • If I understand your argument it’s because it would be a compound of *draca and *rys, and a word that is just one consonant plus an inflectional ending seems implausible?

      No, actually—and in fact there are a number of words in HV already that have a one consonant root. The (a)rys wasn’t really the sticky part: It’s the first part, and what it would imply about the structure of the language. For me the largest issue was the compound itself. HV isn’t really a compounding language. Affixing, sure—and it has plenty of affixes that come from larger words that have broken down—but it starts out with words in tact (e.g. like Spanish adverbs always being built off the feminine adjectival form). That kind of Germanic or Sinitic compounding would really demolish the entire foundation of the inflectional nature of Valyrian (unless I just wanted to say, “This works this way. No explanation: it just does”, but I’m not willing to do that).

      But of course, -īnus, -ēnus, -ānus and so on, are not independent morphemes, but derivational syffixes.

      Right, that’s what I was getting at. For example, with “leased”, “-sed” doesn’t mean something, but “-ed” does—but it’s not like it’s a compound.

      “If Meraxes itself came to help us, we could not win this battle. Not even with a dozen Meraxes could we be victorious!”

      HA! I love it!

      • OK, I’m not sure I understand this. I mean, I get this argument:

        If GRRM had wanted to “dragonfire” to be an actual compound (which is the suggestion here, incidentally: compound vs. simple derivational affixation), I would’ve expected something like dracus arys.

        That’s a good observation, and I can buy that as a reason for why you didn’t want HV to have much compounding. But how would compounding “really demolish the entire foundation of the inflectional nature of Valyrian”? Most of the ancient Indo-European languages, highly inflectional though they may be, do in fact to compounds. Sure, Latin doesn’t do them as much as scientists seem to think, but it does do them. Greek definitely does, and so does Gothic.

        I guess your comparison to Chinese, Vietnamese, and Germanic refers to the possibility that draca and rys are exactly the lexical forms, and you can just mash them together willy-nilly? But that would be so easy to fix, if that’s all it is.

        Right, that’s what I was getting at. For example, with “leased”, “-sed” doesn’t mean something, but “-ed” does—but it’s not like it’s a compound.

        Well, but “-ed” is inflexional, not derivational. I’m thinking more like … hmm, hard to think of a good example in English.

  25. Interesting: I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a comitative case, but it certainly would be useful to have.

    The instrumental and comitative are not distinguished in all declensions, and would likely be the first case distinction to collapse…

    It’s certainly easy for English speakers to confuse comitative and instrumental. For instance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhWJPBqEkXU

    …and animacy does play a bit of a role in that.

    This makes sense as well. When Latin students learn about the passive voice, a lot of times they have trouble distinguishing between an agent (i.e. ab+abl) and an instrument (i.e. a bare ablative). They are typically told “If it’s a person, use ab. If it’s a thing, don’t.” This is a gross simplification, but it’s easy to see how it could wind up being written into a language’s grammar.

  26. 1. How much of the names of dragons and characters influenced the creation of the language?
    The thing that still gets me a little frustrated with the this HV is that I kind of understood that you don’t have meanings for the names of the characters (I know that nowadays the names have been globalized and usually come from a different language so it looks as if they don’t mean anything, but I assume that the people in the very past had names that meant things in their own languages – like the indians, native americans, hebrews, japanese, chinese, romans, etc.) I was hoping that we would have the meanings of the names (if you have any, please do post)

    2. Have you been filmed in any documentary on the creation of HV, like the one with the Dothraki language in the DVD Extras?

    3. Now it doesn’t bother anymore me that ‘rys’ doesn’t mean fire, and that it’s just a common ending for HV words, and now come think of it I understand that having a couple phonemes in common doesn’t imply that the words have a meaning or case in common (like in your examples “rattle”, “kettle”, “little”, “spittle”, “settle” or in “day”, “play”, “say” and “may” or in Portuguese – my mother tongue – “vaso” (vase), “prazo” (deadline), “raso” (shallow), “atraso” (delay), but in some cases it does imply, too (especially in latin-derived languages – Portuguese, for example).

    And, you said that ys is the actual nominative suffix, so it means that all the names that end in rys have as root word a word that end in r? (Aerys comes from Aer rather than from Ae)
    So, what would be the meanings of:
    Aer
    Daener
    Viser
    Jaehaer
    Naer
    Matar
    Or
    Var (?) =P

    I understand that the original words up there could also be (Ae, Daene, Vise, Jaehae, Nae, Mata, O, Va) having just the R as a meaningless infix)

    4. Does the ending ‘on’ form masculine words (does it?) out of ordinary words? – like a nominative masculine?
    What would be “Barath” or “Barathe”, then (assuming Baratheon is a HV word and represents something nominative and masculine, I mean, a masculine name)?

    • 1. Let me be sure you understand here, though: I don’t have meanings for them yet. It’s not as if the names don’t (or won’t) have meanings: they should, and will. Personally I’d like to learn a little more about exactly what the Valyrian Empire was like before committing to meanings for some of the important names.

      2. For HBO, no. I haven’t really been asked to do anything for HV specifically.

      3. Yes, those roots end in r, if they’re roots. A lot of the participles end in r, though, so when it comes to fleshing out the names specifically, some may end up being participles.

      4. No, there isn’t a masculine/feminine in Valyrian (notice that Aerys is male but Daenerys is female). The -on ending is just another ending for a nominal class. For example, havon means “bread” and has the same ending.

      • I took your excursus on gender in Qilōnario Geron to mean that the WAS gender in HV, but that the word for “Prince” was common/epicene. Was that incorrect?

        Or is it that there is a gender system, but the division isn’t masculine and feminine? Perhaps animate and inanimate?

        Or do mean there is masculine and feminine but it doesn’t strictly correlate with the declension class?

        Or… something else?

  27. First the obligatory congratulations on Valyrian. It sounds amazing, and I found Emilia Clarke’s delivery extremely powerful.

    I noticed that “of the House Targaryen” is “hen Targario Lentrot.”

    Are family names in HV essentially adjectives as in Latin, e.g “gens Iulia” – the Julian clan?

    Granted, I’ve never been clear on where the “House Targaryen,” “House Lannister,” etc. usage comes from: I’m not familiar with an real-world usage that matches it, instead I’m reminded of “Dune” with “House Atreides ” and “House Harkonnen.” Real-world noble families (at least in English) tend to be “the House of [Name],” a genitive relationship with the “house” belonging to the founder or place of origin.

    If this is correct, have you worked out what the origin/grammatic form of the “Targaryen” form is? Is it masculine singular (cf. “Romanov,” or “Iulius”)?

    Many thanks for your amazing work!

  28. Oops. Sorry. I just saw above the declension of “Aerys.” So is “Targario” a genitive singular noun, or is it a [dative?] singular adjective modifying “Lentrot?” Either way, I’m curious about the -yen ending. :)

    • Targārien is the nominative; Targārio the genitive. The difference here is that in HV, the possessor precedes the possessee, so whereas in Latin you’d say “the house of Targaryen”, in HV you say “of Targaryen the house”. Hen is a preposition that governs the locative, which is why lentor appears as lentrot. In this way, it’ll kind of feel like an adjective, but it’s actually a noun in the genitive.

      • In Latin you could go either way with that construction: Domus Caesaris and Caesaris Domus are both absolutely kosher. I suppose it’s more common to have the genitive follow, but not by as much as you might think.

        But of course the Gens Iulia construction mentined by nieciedo is more common when you’re talking about families or dynasties. There Iulia is not a genitive at all, but an adjective.

  29. Well this is by far the most interesting Game of Thrones-related site I’ve seen in ten years of ASoIaF fandom. Followed!

  30. OK, so if {urnēbion} means “watch”, David’s earlier quip of {valar urnēbis} resolves to “all men must watch [the episode]“. So the verb stem would be {urnēb-}, with {-ion} a regular nominalization suffix? {Qilōnario} “of punishment” showcases the genitive of that construction, suggesting a verb {qilōnar-} “punish”, itself derived from the word for “whip”, of which we have the accusative {qilōni} attested. One possible nominative form would be {qilōnys}, though I’m sure there are more possibilities.

    Having two declension paradigms for adjectives before and after nouns is a really cool idea! Though I’m surprised that adjectives can come after their nouns in the first place; so far HV appears to be under the iron rule of King Head the Last.

    This reminds me a bit of the crazy-ass behavior of adjectives in German, as in “der große Baum” vs “ein großer Baum” (definite vs indefinite article), or “mit der/einer großen Wucht” vs “mit großer Wucht” (article vs no article).

    In {urnēbion zȳhon keliton issa}, we have an example of two “adjectives” following a noun, though the first one is a possessive personal pronoun, for which there might be extra rules, and the second one is a predicate (“…is complete”) or even part of a verb paradigm (“…has been completed”) together with the copula {issa}.

    I don’t suppose we have enough material to speculate on what the differences in adjective declension might be, though if I had to guess, I’d expect the post-noun adjectives to be more marked (maybe more congruent with the noun ending?) than the pre-noun ones, since it would be important to show that the noun phrase doesn’t end with the inflected noun, as they usually do.

    • Again, this is pretty much all correct (including your supposition about adjective placement and declension). For the title, it’s the copula and a participle to try to match the English construction (which, by today’s standards, is a bit antiquated). It could have been done quite simply with just a verb appropriately conjugated.

  31. Have you considered a reason for the derivation of the ending of the Baratheon family name given that it was likely a name of Valyrian origen, sounds somewhat Valyrian and foreign to the rest of the original Westerosi houses, yet is spelled differently?

    In your opinion, was this it’s original spelling from when House Baratheon broke off from House Targaryen or was it something similar to House Velaryon?

    • The name is not native Valyrian, but could have come from a related language. I’d need to know more about the history of House Baratheon to speculate, but if Valyrian were Latin, Baratheon would look Greek to me.

      • Founder of House Baratheon was Aegon the Conqueror’s bastard half-brother, but AFAIK no source specifies which parent they shared.

        • Interesting… What if his name was Barratt, or something close, and he just fancied it up to try to make it sound more Valyrian? I could see that happening.

          • He was called Orys Baratheon, and was Aegon’s friend, most valuable commander, and rumored bastard brother. He was tasked with the taking of Storm’s End (current baratheon sit), killed the Storm King Argilac and married his daughter adopting the banner, honors and words of her line. So I’m not sure about the name Baratheon, with Orys being the founder one would suppose that he came up with the name, but that thing about taking the wife’s symbols makes this a little bit confusing. Anyway, hope I was of some help :)

          • Orys Baratheon is an interesting case, given that he was around before the Seven Kindoms were unified. Given that he was a bastard from the area that would become the Crownlands, by Westorosi tradition his surname would have been Waters (i.e. Aurane Waters, a bastard of House Valeryon). It stands to reason that Baratheon does have some meaning or background in Valyrian.

            Also, any thoughts on the Targaryen’s ancestral Valyrian steel swords (Blackfyre and <a href=http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Dark_Sister)? They’d surely have equivalent Valyrian names given that they were presumably brought with them to Dragonstone before the Doom.

          • It’s true that it’s never really expounded upon. I always assumed it to be a sort of Westerization of what might have once been a Targaryen cadet branch.

      • Per the appendix to AGOT, House Baratheon is descended from and named for Orys Baratheon, Aegon the Conqueror’s probable bastard half-brother and his best general.

        The male Greyjoys also seem to have Valyrian-looking names: Balon, Euron, Theon, Aeron, Victarion, etc.

        Do you expect for these to be High Valyrian, some sort of Valyrian descendant parallel to Astapori, or something else?

  32. Your work on the Valyrian language is exceptional. I didn’t realize what a wonderful language it is until the end of this episode (which is awesome!).

    Thank you for giving us such a great language! You’re incredibly talented.

  33. Please join up with Google to add High Valyrian to their Translate app!

  34. Hello. I just want to participate ;)

    Why does everyone say Daenerys has an army of 8000, when she has 8000 fully trained unsullied plus the younglings, who are probably at least as capable as any regular farmer conscript filling up the Westeros armies.

    Of suspension of disbelief and coincidende woven into fabric of fantasy I’m pretty much on the same track as Mad Latinist and Zhalio. I do appreciate, though, that you have left the matter as open as possible, minimalizing rather than accentuating the resonance.

    So we have a)four noun genders (animate, inanimate, abstract and neutral?) that almost certainly affect the declesion patterns b) almost certainly different declension patterns within the same gender due to phonotactics and what have you (I presume the declension class for secondary declension of paucals and collectives is not connected to gender in any way) c) eight noun cases d) at least singular, paucal, plural and collective (dual too?) for number f) almost certainly some other stuff

    How much does all this stuff stack neatly one after another or are there specific suffixes like paucal dative suffix of the third animate noun declension class?

  35. Exceptional work on High Valyrian and in Astapori Valyrian.

    Any chance we can have the Lord’s Prayer in High and Low Valyrian :) ?

    For some reason it reminds of me Lithuanian even though the sound is significantly different.

  36. I noticed something in the dialog and I have a question.
    ————-
    Kraznys says:

    Ydra ji Valyre?
    “You speak Valyrian?”

    Then Daenerys answers:

    Nyke Daenerys Jelmāzmo hen Targārio Lentrot, hen Valyrio Uēpo ānogar iksan. Valyrio muño ēngos ñuhys issa.
    “I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyria. Valyrian is my mother tongue.”
    ————-
    How come the word “Valyrian” when it’s said by him is “Valyre”, but when she says it, it becomes “Valyrio”?

    This language sounds so amazing by the way!

    Thanks.

    • The answer is that Dany’s speaking the older form of the language. In High Valyrian it was Valyrio; in Astapori Valyrian, it’s Valyre. Just a sound change (lots of diphthongs were simplified).

    • OK, more speculation…

      {Nyke} — we already have {-an} as an attested 1:sg verb ending, so this fits as an emphasized (and usually omitted) 1:sg:NOM personal pronoun.

      {Hen} governs the dative, as seen in {hen … lentrot}. It would then seem that {ānogar} is the dative of “blood”. Further above, David gave {ānogār} to mean the latter half of “fire and blood”, which I would think of as a nominative unless put into context. We know the final vowel is artificially lengthened by the “and” construction, so we end up with {ānogar} in the nominative as well.

      {iksan} vs {issa} — any ideas on why the stem seems to change? Both instances of the copula seem to have the same meaning, aspect, mood, permanence etc. I suppose one could just chalk that up to “it’s the copula”, which comes with the obligation to put all other irregular verbs of the language to shame. ;o)

      {Valyrio muño ēngos ñuhys issa} — this might tell us something about the behavior of adjectives… we know {-os} is a typical adjective ending, so this could parse as “Valyria’s tongue the-native mine is”.
      We already know possessives can (must?) follow the head noun, so “native” appears to be used as a noun phrase head here. While {ēngos} and {ñuhys} have different endings, they look like NOM:sg of two different paradigms, so they agree with each other.

      I’m wondering about {muño}, though. I would expect a nominative here, but the form looks genitive. Of course, there might well be a noun paradigm with {-o} in the NOM:sg. On the other hand, seeing what David did with cases in Dothraki, I wouldn’t put it past him to come up with a weird construction for “A = B” statements in HV, where the subject is in the genitive for some reason.

      • Would you mind to expand on your findings? I would like to know where did you find the [-an] ending (was it from “Nyk skan jiva aeske!”?, as I think we never seen it before.
        (1st person verbs in general seem to be very rare in the material we have available until now).

        More than that, why is it that Nyke is usually omitted? Would it be because, as David suggested with his paradigm of Aerys, that her name is in the nominative form (-ys) and it doesn’t actually need a personal pronoun to be used as her name?

        Also in the same nature as the first question, how do you know that [-os] is an adjective ending?

        Please correct me in any assumptions, I don’t know much about english grammar, and even less about the noun declension system, which seems to be one of the most fundamental bases of Valyrian. If you could point me to some references about it (latin declensions, cases, etc.) I would be very grateful :)

        -cheers

        • Dinok, I would be happy to discuss Latin morphology with you, but this is perhaps not the best forum (unless, of course, others are looking for a review as well).

          Also, I just posted an update at LJ about corrections that need to be made to my first Astapori post, thanks to the recent IRC chat with David. Some of the questions you raised are answered there.

        • @ Dinok: I was speculating about Daenerys’ High Valyrian, not Kraznys’ Astapori Bastard Valyrian. HV has an attested 1:sg ending in {tepan} “I give” and {iksan} “I am”.

          {Nyke} is most likely omitted in most sentences because the verb inflection already marks the first person singular (“I”) as the subject, thus the personal pronoun is redundant. It works that way in Latin, for example, and I believe in Russian too. For example, plain Latin for “I give” is {do}, and {ego do} would mean something like “I myself give”.

          I know {-os} is a common adjective ending because David explained it was a regular component in the creation of participles (verb stem + {-r-} + {-os}).

          • I know {-os} is a common adjective ending because David explained it was a regular component in the creation of participles (verb stem + {-r-} + {-os}).

            Actually, it’s the -os that’s used as a nominal ending when nominalizing present participles (and a few other, but not all, participles). Sorry! Should’ve made that clear. So, for example, dohaeriros is “servant”, but you could say, e.g. dohaerira vala to mean “serving man”. In the former it’s a noun; the latter an adjective.

      • Ah, mixup here. First, hen governs the locative, not the nominative. Second, I missed a macron (remember I said the macrons didn’t work with Final Draft). It’s hen anogār, and that is the locative form.

        • Wait, now I’m confused. Is what you’re saying that anogār is both the locative (“in blood”) and the (for want of a better term) conjunctive (“and blood”)?

          • I’m also confused… so {lentrot} is the locative of “House”? In the “Aerys” declension, {-ot} is dative (which is what I assumed, not nominative) and {-ȳ} is locative… it strikes me a bit weird that an ending as specific as {-ot} should have different meanings in different declensions, but perhaps that particular declension merges dative and locative? I’m wondering whether it is {lentron} in the nominative…

    • Oh, and we have {ñuhys} “mine” and {zȳhon} “his/her” as possessive personal pronouns. If we assume they both belong to the same adjective paradigm (as they would in Latin), we could conclude that {-ys} and {-on} are differently gendered forms that go together, like Latin {-us} and {-um}.

  37. You also have “ñuhe” in the accusative, but who knows what gender “kivio” is. Four genders, four numbers and eight cases could potentially mean 128 forms for “my”, although I’m sure that’s not the case.

    • Hi David,
      I didn’t know how to contact personally, so I figured I would just write a comment here. I have created a ‘glyph system’ for Valyrian, and I would really appreciate if you would take a look on it. It was conceived with High Valyrian in mind and the phonology you posted in “Tikuni Zobri, Udra Zobriar”. For example, it has no symbol for ‘f’. I also did not include separate glyphs for ñ, n*, kh, gh, rh (To be honest, I only know how ‘ñ’ is pronounced; the others confuse me – are they supposed to be aspirated?). I also haven’t come up with a way of distinguishing between long and short vowels, but I am not sure if that is necessary. Anyway, I would appreciate any constructive criticism you could give me.

      Links to PNG file and SVG file.

      • HTML fail by me. Well, the links still work…

      • Forgot what I said, the second link is messed up. Just delete “SVG at the end and then it should be fine.

        • I fixed your links. Very nice!

          • Thank you! Do you think it looks “natural”, i.e. something which would suit writing in High Valyrian?

            • Well…no. Only invented writing systems are that regular (cf. Canadian Aboriginal syllabics); nothing like that would ever have evolved naturally. Furthermore, it’s fairly clear in the books that High Valyrian used at the very least a subset of ideographs or pictographs to refer to many words (i.e. there’s a single glyph that means “doom” in Valyrian, as well as “fire” and several others mentioned in the books). The actual system they would’ve used would look very, very different.

              But this works well enough for use out of universe (i.e. in the real world).

          • (Reply to a later post because of nesting issue)
            Yes, I sort of realized it would be way to regular to be a natural writing system, but I had fun making it. I think I’ll pretend it was invented by Valyrian scholars who found the original writing system to irregular, haha. Also, now I know what type of writing system I have created – an abugida!

            I also read a little about the writing system for your conlang Kamakawi and Egyptian hieroglyphs, which I believe you mentioned previously as inspiration. Very interesting! So is what you had in mind a system where you have a glyph for “perzys”, which can also be used as the letter “p”, or the syllable “pe” or “per” (just examples)? Or would the sound the glyph “perzys” represent (when not an ideogram) be something unrelated, like “k” or “kel”?

            Do you have any thoughts on the designs of the glyphs? Would they rather pictographic, like hieroglyphs, or something more “abstract”, like in Kamakawi? Both, or something in between?

            Okay, I’m asking alot of questions, I know, but just one last one: what is “doom” in High Valyrian? Do you have any idea of what its glyph could look like?

            • All glyph systems start out as pictographic, and I imagine that would be where the High Valyrian glyphs would begin their existence. What happens next depends on how the glyphs evolved—how they were written. I’d always imagined they’d be more abstract than Kamakawi’s, some of which are still quite iconic.

  38. Zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor.
    … (And, by the way, since it’s a borrowing, it goes into the borrowed declension class, which means its accusative ends in -i.)

    I only just noticed this. So does that mean that in HV, unlike the ancient Indo-European languages, the copula takes an accusative object, rather than anominative predicate? Does that apply in all cases, or is it a specific construction?

    • No, I was just passing along an anecdote. :) Borrowings optionally take an /-i/ in the nominative. Guess I decided this one sounded better with than without.

      • OK, so in the nom.s. -i is optional, in the acc.s. the -i is mandatory? Does this apply in the plural as well, since Daenerys says Jevo glaesoti rȳ buzdari istiat? (Of course one of the things that makes me nervous about HV is that I can’t assume I know the number anything is in: someting I think is a plural could easily turn out to be a paucal (surely not in this case) or a collective (possible here, I guess).)

        • Not sure I follow. Every single word in that sentence is plural except for the postposition.

          • OK, well my digression probably threw you off. So let me put it more simply: is this correct?

            Nom.S.: buzdár or buzdári
            Acc.S.: buzdári
            Gen.S: buzdáro

            Nom.Pl.: buzdári

            Also, since the nom.pl. appears to be the same as the nom.s., can I assume that the acc.pl. is also the same? Or that the -i is also optional in the nom.pl.?

            • Also, since the nom.pl. appears to be the same as the nom.s., can I assume that the acc.pl. is also the same? Or that the -i is also optional in the nom.pl.?

              Only in the nominative singular is that -i ending optional. The accusative plural is actually buzdarī (like the first declension).

            • The accusative plural is actually buzdarī (like the first declension).

              So… valotī?

            • No, just valoti (you’d never get a long vowel on the end of there, because of the way the cases evolved historically—same is true of the paucal and collective case declensions). Valoti is the genitive, locative and dative plural.

  39. No, just valoti (you’d never get a long vowel on the end of there, because of the way the cases evolved historically—same is true of the paucal and collective case declensions). Valoti is the genitive, locative and dative plural.

    Are you referring to the historical evolution of HV cases from Proto-Valyrian cases, or did you actually sketch out a PV stage where the cases resolve into postpositions and such?

    How far back do you think one must go to get naturalistic paradigms in the present-day stage?

    • Are you referring to the historical evolution of HV cases from Proto-Valyrian cases, or did you actually sketch out a PV stage where the cases resolve into postpositions and such?

      I didn’t go so far back that there were no cases in the language, but I did start at a stage where there weren’t as many. This wouldn’t be the earliest Proto-Valyrian stage, but it would be a stage anterior to High Valyrian.

      How far back do you think one must go to get naturalistic paradigms in the present-day stage?

      That is an interesting question. After all, if you replicated Latin’s paradigms but changed the phonology and the exponence a bit, it’d be a naturalistic paradigm, but not original. So you could do it in one stage. For case systems, I feel more comfortable with at least one prior stage of stability (two would be better), with the understanding that there were more before. With Dothraki, for example, there’s one previous stage (when Dothraki still had a partitive case), but it’s very clear that the allative and ablative are younger cases than the nominative, accusative, partitive and genitive. That earlier stage isn’t spelled out anywhere, but it’s fairly evident that it must have existed just based on the character of the exponence.

      So it’s a tough question to answer definitively. One school of thought is that if it looks good, then it is. I don’t think we ought to be that superficial (i.e. there should be some thought given to how the system evolved), but how far back is far enough? It’s possible to go quite, quite far. One extra set of constraints (which, by the way, I hope [or would plead] are taken into consideration when my work is judged in the future) is that working with strict outside deadlines forces my hand—i.e. I don’t actually have all the time in the world. As a freelance conlanger, though, there’s plenty of time to expand the histories and produce complexity of staggering depth and brilliance. When (or if) we ever get a conlang masterpiece, it will need to have been worked on for many, many years—and so it will not have come from Hollywood.

      That’s just my two cents, though. A lot of this is in the eye of the beholder/appraiser/critic. I don’t know if it can be answered until there’s some serious (and worthwhile) conlang criticism that has any clout other than the kind of critiques that have been routine for years in the various conlang communities.

  40. Wait… what? WHAT?!? A panegyric/eulogy in honor of Dan Hildebrand and in memory of Kraznys mo Nakloz? Translated into Astapori Valyrian by David J. Peterson himself???

    http://winteriscoming.net/2013/04/curtain-call-dan-hildebrand/

    OMFG. Well, guess I need to write YET ANOTHER blog post on this ;)

  41. OK, finally got this posted: http://jdm314.livejournal.com/197521.html

    The HV was fun to analyze, but oh man the coding! I used an editor so I wouldn’t have to code all the color-changes by hand… but it introduced a lot of cruft I felt obligated to pick out.

  42. Estamos tentando fazer um dicionário em Alto Valiriano, entre no Grupo Dus Trono http://www.facebook.com/groups/GrupoDusTrono/permalink/584192254947472/

  43. So far I haven’t found a full explanation of how a sentence is formed in (high/ low) valyrian and it’s driving me crazy. There’s a dothraki dictionary along with a full writing system. I love the language! The transcription of the episode is well appreciated but I’d like to know how the words were put together. Anywhere I should look or is it something that’s coming up next ??? Many thanks for answering. PS Khaleesi made valyrian sounded really sexy.

  44. That’s what I was looking for! Kirimvose!!!!;))

  45. Oh. My. God. I just watched that scene at least 20 times while reading this trying to figure out the pronunciation seeing as I’m no linguist. I’ve been saying words and trying to figure out what means what. I’m fascinated by the language. David you’ve done awesomely (which isn’t a word, I’m sure you know). I honestly wish there was an extensive book or class teaching high valyrian. Please publish something or of there is anything I’d love to know right away. danielvindas91@icloud.com. I will speak it fluently and my children will say valyrio muno engos nuhys issa

  46. I’m just a non-book-reader lurker, but I was wondering if “drakarys” (dracarys?) could perhaps be a word that High Valyrian had itself assimilated from an even older language, e.g. the one spoken wherever dragons originally came from. In that language, it might be an imperative form, uttered as a request.

    There is a parallel of sorts here with real-world mythology, where beasts featuring a snake-like body with zero, two or four legs and optionally, wings are referred to by nouns based on the Latin roots “draco” (dragon, draconian, Dracula etc.) and “vipera” (wyvern) on the one hand and nouns based on the Germanic root “lindwom” (linnorm, lindworm, Lindwurm) on the other. In the Alps, the terms “Tatzelwurm” (German) and “arassas” (French) are also used.

    The mythological origins are actually like chalk and cheese, but over the centuries the semantic distinctions have largely been lost. Plus, all of the above is just for Europe, where all of these beasts instilled fear. By contrast, the Chinese think of dragons as auspicious and maintain their own vocabulary for them.

    Why then should there be only a single word for dragons or dragon-realted concepts such as dragonfire in High Valyrian? Presumably some combination of “zaldrizes” and “perzys” could also be used to (more clumsily) express the notion of fire breathed by a dragon, if required.

  47. I suppose in a High Valyrian dictionary you might encounter the sentence Drakarys hen zaldrīzē perzys issa ;)

  48. @ Mad Latinist:

    Exactly: drakarys of a dragon the fire is, i.e. drakarys is dragonfire.

    This, however, would not capture a significant detail: “hen zaldrize perzys” is neutral, whereas drakarys is something Dany only says to her dragons. She has shared fire and blood (i.e. that of Mirri Maz Duur and Drogo, i.e. life and death) with them, creating a visceral and emotional bond that is expressed by the honorific “Mother of Dragons”, even though they literally hatched from eggs and not her lady parts (cp. Melisandre’s shadow baby).

    We first hear Dany say the word in Qarth, where it prompts the fledgling dragon to cook its meat. In both the HotU and in Astapor, the fire is directed at a person. In all cases, “drakarys” was the only verbal communication and there was no indication of any telepathy, so the dragons appear to grasp Dany’s full intent empathically. The utterance is merely the trigger for unleashing the fury they already have in mind. Therefore, saying “drakarys” in the presence of a dragon you did not share that visceral bond with could have unintended consequences! Pyat Pree had hoped to overcome this problem by holding Dany prisoner with his own magic, but it proved too weak.

    To illustrate the difference between the terms for dragonfire, I would have loved to hear Dany warn Kraznys that “zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor”, followed by a pregnant pause as they stared at each other, followed by him cracking an haughty smile and asking for “hen zaldrize perzys” plus, sarcastically, the AV word for “please”. Of course, absolutely nothing would have happened, to comic effect. Embarrassed and unsettled, he would then have yanked the dragon’s chain and bellowed “drakarys” while gesticulating at Dany – only to find himself the object of the BBQ.

    Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see this version of events.

    • I think someone who has read the books will need to comment. But many posters here have claimed that the books specify that Daenerys deliberately chose the word dracarys as something that was unlikely to come up by accident, and trigger the dragons unintentionally.If this is true, then your theory probably is not correct. Book readers: is it described how Dany teaches this command word to the dragons in the first place? As Nagga’s Kin says, the TV series doesn’t really show this.

      And I was being kind of flippant in the first place with hen zaldrīzē persys (if that is even correct, as I don’t yet know the corect locative of zaldrīzes). The idea was that a dictionary definition might have to define something in terms that wouldn’t be used every day. For instance, a dictionary might call an acorn the seed, or fruit of an oak tree, but if you went around calling acorns “oak seed” or “fruit of the oak” people would certainly look at you funny.

      • There’s nothing to suggest that dracarys is a built-in command-word for dragons. In fact, the opposite is suggested as Daenerys says she picked a word in High Valyrian to avoid anyone saying it by mistake. This clearly suggests that she had to train the dragons to fire on command, much like how you’d train a dog to sit when you say sit.

      • You’re right indeed. I’ve read all of them until ADWD, and Dany specifies exactly that she chose that word because:

        a) It means “dragonfire” in the same “not normal-fire” sense that there is to “wildfire”;

        b) It would be rather unlikely for anyone in essos or westeros to know or at least accidentally say that word near her, and, you know, get super-insta-fried :)

        • @ Mad Latinist –

          Are we talking about the dragon possessing fire (genetive) or about the fire being located inside the dragon (locative)?

          @ Linda Antonsson –

          In the Qarth scene with Doreah (see link below), Dany encourages one of the dragons to cook his food by saying “drakarys” twice before confidently asserting that he would know how to feed himself from that point on.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUISmCzLPTA

          So, where did Dany learn the word “drakarys” and how it should be used? It’s possible it doesn’t have an imperative context in general Valyrian and that she chose it. In that case, it could have imprinted on the dragon as a command when she said it while he exhibited natural behavior (cooking his food) for the first time. The show has been stingy with dragon scenes, probably because the CGI is expensive and time-consuming.

          However, in the context of the show at least, it is also plausible that “drakarys” is in fact the general word used to get dragons to breathe fire once they’re old enough. In the Red Waste scene, she clarifies that her brother had taught her nothing about dragon husbandry beyond the fact that they were carnivores, implying that she did not know the word at the time. She might have figured it out in Qarth, perhaps the mysterious masked woman told her.

          http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-season-2-premiere-clip-dragons-305380

          Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing for sure, since first use of “drakarys” in the show occurred without any setup. Note that the show is an adaptation of the books and under no obligation to hew close to them on anything. Therefore, the books actually tell us squat diddely about the show’s fragmentary backstory of this critical word.

          @ Dinok –

          I didn’t suggest that Joe Schmoe would get super-insta-fried for accidentally saying “drakarys” near a dragon. In both the HotU and the Astapor scenes, the dragon(s) was (were) already royally pissed at Dany’s enemy. Her word simply triggered the behavior the dragon(s) had already decided on of their own volition, i.e. semantically it’s really more of a permission or encouragement than an order. The fishing scene with the boat proved that the dragons are quite capable of breathing fire even if the word is not spoken.

          • Actually, he would, or almost so. When Jorah in the books asks Dany “Dracarys?” during the trip to the Slaver’s Bay, rhaegal breaths a gout of flames at him, but he jumps out of reach fast enough. It’s pretty clear at this point that if they hear the word they will 9 out of 10 times just casually fry the person in the general area they think they should.

            • Again, the show may use the word differently than the books do. I’m not asserting it does, just that it has that option.

              In the book scene you reference – which we didn’t get on the show – was the dragon upset with Jorah when he said the word? Does it matter that he used intonation to imply a question?

              It seems implausible dragons would breathe fire willy nilly upon hearing the word spoken by just any Joe Schmoe because then it would be impossible to control them, rendering them all but useless as WMDs. It would be like having a nuke that might go off if someone merely coughed too close to it.

            • No they weren’t upset or anything, he just said it. And yes, that’s how it works, and that’s why it is a high valyrian word: there is not a person to “cough too closes to it” because firstly, only Dany knows what the command is and second, no one even speaks High Valyrian anymore. Imagine exactly the same thing in the 21st century with greek or latin, it would be such an uncommon word that no one would say it accidentally (unless you’re as close to Dany as Jorah and has heard the word without being the one to get fried :P)
              It is totally plausible because the dragons are just super size flying fire-breathing dogs, if you teach a dog to bark at command they will do it almost every time no matter who says it.

            • (We seem to have run out of nesting levels, so this is actually in response to your comment of May 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm)

              The explanation that Dany would think a High Valeryian word would be safe because no-one speaks that language any longer seems abstruse to me.

              First, as David J. Peterson pointed out in another thread, High Valyrian is a bit like Quranic Arabic. It is still widely taught and understood, just not used in secular oral or written communication. Consider how everyone in Astapor, including 8000 Unsullied, appear to have no problem at all understanding Dany perfectly well.

              Second, and this is probably the more relevant argument, “drakarys” is just one word and not even a difficult one to pronounce. Even someone who has no clue about HV (e.g. an enemy soldier) could overhear it and pass it on. If you’re right, then at some later date, the dragons could then be turned against Dany simply by repeating the word, making them all but useless as weapons.

              In the show at least, there ought to be a more credible safeguard against BBQs that Dany didn’t ask for, e.g. they’ll only accept the word if it comes from her. She doesn’t appear to have a word for turning the flamethrowers off again!

              Your comparison to dog training doesn’t fully convince me. Unlike Dany’s dragons, dogs have many generations of domestication behind them. They’re naturally social but have been bred specifically to be docile and subservient. The latter does take training, which works because a dog parses the pitch of his master’s voice, the body language and offerings of love or food to learn the intent of a command. Feedback during training reinforces desired behavior and punishes the wrong responses (e.g. by scolding). Clever dogs can pick up on the semantics of up to 150 words that way. Try doing that with a cat.

              On the other hand, well-kept dogs are intensely loyal to their owners and families and will fiercely defend them and their territory if they perceive a threat – as many a postal worker can attest to.

              Dany’s dragons also appear to be as fiercely loyal to her as she is to them. Sure, she needs to handle them with a firm grip (witness the use of iron chains as leashes). However, in the show at least, they don’t appear to be loose cannons. Breathing fire is a lot more aggressive than biting!

            • (Due to the nesting issue, this is a response to Nagga’s Kin, not Dinok)

              Just because Daenerys _thinks_ the word is a good choice, doesn’t mean that it has to be. Maybe she made a mistake in picking a word that someone can pick up easily?

              This is the passage with Jorah and Dany:

              “So I see. Dracarys?”

              All three dragons turned their heads at the sound of that word ‘ and Viserion let loose with a blast of pale gold flame that made Ser Jorah take a hasty step backward. Dany giggled. “Be careful with that word, ser, or they’re like to singe your beard off. It means ‘dragonfire’ in High Valyrian. I wanted to choose a command that no one was like to utter by chance.”

              The only reasonable conclusion from this is that it is very much like teaching a dog to bark on command.

              No one says that Daenerys is teaching them the right way or in anything like the way that the Valyrians trained their dragons. However, the dragons clearly are … domesticated in a way and Valyrians have a particular affinity for them/connection to them (this is revealed in later books and in some as of yet unpublished materials). So while someone else might be able to get a pavlovian response out of using that word, they’ll have no way of controlling it — they might as well get themselves flamed.

          • Are we talking about the dragon possessing fire (genetive) or about the fire being located inside the dragon (locative)?

            Well, I used the preposition hen, which seems to literally mean “from,” and takes an object in the locative case. So literally “Fire from a dragon.” Notice that Daenerys uses this to say “Of the house Targaryen.” Compare the semantic development of Latin de.

          • I’m just saying that their mental capabilities are those of a dog, this coming from GRRM himself, and how can you say that they don’t have generations of domestication behind them? What about all the dragons since the foundation of the Valyrian Freehold? They’ve all been domesticated, and much better than what Dany’s doing to her three. Also, the dragons have shown to be very much loyal to her, as you said. Actually, in the books, all that Qarth part is totally different, so much that at that point the dragons didn’t actually knew the word dracarys yet. It is on that chapter when Jorah accidentally slips the word that Dany just told him that she has trained them. Drogon is the one to enter the House of the Undying with her and he simply burns all the warlocks inside there because he is protecting Dany, no command needed.

            As for the possibility of it being turned against her, I believe that as they grow up she will actually start to show them who are their friends or something like that. However, Dany does not know anything about dragon training, and in the books, the whole essence of dragons seems to be exactly this: a mass destruction weapon that only responds to his owner and rider.

            However, we don’t need to suppose that Dany actually knows what she is doing, I mean, GRRM never writes perfect characters, and Dany is a 15 year old with an army and three dragons. You’ll get to see later that indeed they aren’t as well trained as they appear now, and they’ll start to get wild.

            I believe that the episode with Jorah may just have been a slip on Viseryon’s part (i confused him with rhaegaL) as they had just been trained, and later on, they won’t be so vulnerable to stranger’s commands.

            However, when they get bigger, I believe it will not matter because you know, they’ll be flying and killing everything on their path, got no time for listening to strangers :P

            • Of course Nagga’s Kin suggests that dragons form a telepathic bond with their owners. THAT part of his/her theory is actually perfectly plausible in GRRM’s world, and would be a nice parallel to the Starks’ wargish connection to their wolves. (Though presumably it’s not an identical connection even so: Dany, to my knowledge, never dreams of being the dragons.)

  49. I’m confused by the use of subjunctive in this context, though. “A dragon not be a slave.” Isn’t this classical indicative territory — stating a general truth?

    I suspect {daor} might work a something like an evidential in HV: “That a dragon be a slave is not true“.

    • I’m thinking something like “A dragon shall not be a slave,” that is, something like “not true, and may it never be true.” The statement is kind of gnomic. But yeah, subjunctive would not have been my first guess, for sure.

    • Or perhaps “subjunctive” in Valyrian is more like the meaning I’ve been proposing for that -il- verb form, namely something that does not take place at a specific time, and therefore could be used in general statements like this. (Copulas being copulas, the lack of -il- is not too odd).

      David has already chided me once in this thread for making hard work of something very simple. So hopefully he’ll do it again and we can find out what’s really going on here ;)

      • IIRC, in Spanish, the present-tense subjunctive indicates a future event that isn’t certain to occur, whereas the future tense indicates one that is.

        In that sense, a subjunctive here could be taken as a warning “the dragon may not behave like a slave” rather than the sweeping assertion “a dragon will not be a slave”. After all, Dany considers herself something a dragon (in spirit and in terms of resistance to fire) and her brother did treat her as if she were his property. Her dragon eggs had also been sold.

        • OK, well just to head off any further speculation, David already answered this, but accidentally posted it in the wrong thread. As it turns out, we are both wrong here:

          http://www.dothraki.com/2013/04/perzo-vujita/#comment-1442

          The subjunctive is required for negative statements like this.

          So, apparently this is an irrealis-type-of-thing: a negative statement (“like this”–just in case that means something important) automatically triggers a subjunctive, presumably because … well by definition it’s not a fact, so to speak.

        • Compare Welsh rydw “I am,” but nag ydw “I am not.” Hmm, ydw is also used, though, for questions (“am I?”) … don’t know if that’s the case in Valyrian too. Yne sytivīlībilāt?… is that a subjunctive? It is a -il- form for what it’s worth.

  50. Hello, Mr. Peterson! I understand this is fairly late, but I have a question about the use of ‘issa’. So really, my question is, when do you use it? I did notice that it is translated into ‘is’ or ‘are’, but only on specific occasions. Thank you!

    • Issa is the third person singular indicative present tense conjugation of sagon, “to be”. It is the equivalent of “is”.

      • Maybe the question is wether “issa” is used with collective plurals like “valar” or “azantyr” or they need the plural form.

      • That’s very helpful! I thought *iksa* translated to you, which confused me.

      • Hello, just wondering if sagon is conjugated like limagon. I’m wondering this because it seems to be slightly irregular with issa, issi, and sa. When exactly do you use sa? I noticed it was mainly used in LV, but Missandei also used it in HV when she introduced Dany in Mhysa. It was mostly used in Grey Worm’s introduction as well. And from what I’ve noticed, it is used as a 3rd person singular indicative, like issa. What is the difference?

        • “Sa” is the AV equivalento to “issa” in HV. You got confused because in that episode Missandrei is speaking a mixture of High Valyrian and Astapori Valyrian, as David comented on his post.
          But he verb “sagon” may be irregular, though.

          • I knew she was speaking a mixture, but I only thought her second sentence was AV.Thank you

            • The whole thing was AV, it’s just that Dany’s full titulary was done in HV.

              Here are the forms we have of sagon:

              Present indicative: iksan, iksā, issa, ?, iksāt, issi

              Present subjunctive: 3s iksos, 1pl soty. (Plus David has hinted that the 1s may not contain a k)

              Perfect: 2pl istiat

              AV Present: skan, ska, sa, ?, ?, si

              AV perfect: 3s stas

              (Don’t remember if we ever managed to find the expected infinitive, sagho, or not.)

              There’s also AV las, lis, iles, and some possible HV equivalents which I don’t have handy, but I’m unclear as to whether these are forms of the same verb or not. (Very likely they start out as the suppletive imperfect of sagon but may end up as something else in AV)

  51. Martin Dracarys

    Hey there :) I see some of you guys (including David J. Peterson) spell “Dracarys” with k like “Drakarys” it should be with c “Dracarys” like it is in the books ofc! Thanks/Martin.

    • Hey there I see some of you guys (including David J. Peterson) spell “Dracarys” with k like “Drakarys” it should be with c “Dracarys” like it is in the books ofc!

      Sorry: drakarys with a k—at least if you’re spelling it in High Valyrian. If you’re spelling it in English, you can spell it however you want; not in High Valyrian proper.

      • Martin Dracarys

        Oh ok. It still feels a little bit strange… GRRM spell it with c in the books and now it is with k? Daenerys say “Dracarys” to her dragons and explain to Ser Jorah that it means “Dragonfire” in High Valyrian. I guess it was something didn’t match in the grammar? And you was compelled to change it? It should atleast be with c in english? Anyways good job with the language it sounds very nice when they speaking it :) and thanks for fast reply.

        • Martin Dracarys

          Forget “It should atleast be with c in english?” its the High Valyrian word “Dracarys” or “Drakarys” :P or it is “Dragonfire” i guess.

        • The distinction between “c” and “k” is a historical peculiarity of the Latin alphabet as it evolved on Earth. There’s no reason to import that into the fictional world of GoT.

        • See Zhalio’s reply, but I’ll go slightly further. The Roman alphabet doesn’t even exist in Westeros or Essos, in theory. High Valyrian is actually spelled with glyphs, so if you look at how drakarys would actually be spelled in its fictional world, it probably wouldn’t even be spelled with an alphabet. The spelling system that we use in the real world is for our convenience. Consequently (again, for the sake of convenience), I have normalized the spelling so that if something has a hard “k” sound (a sound we would transcribe as [k] using the International Phonetic Alphabet), we always write it with k. This spelling doesn’t affect the grammar or the pronunciation of the word in any way: I think we can all agree that we’d pronounce “dracarys” and “drakarys” exactly the same way. All it is is a convention to make our lives a little easier so that when people are learning High Valyrian, they don’t have to bother with learning how “c” should be pronounced (a troublesome consonant in any language that uses the Roman alphabet as its orthography).

  52. Hello David,
    I could watch it a million times just to hear Daenerys speaking High Valyrian and the cute baby-dragon setting Kraznys on fire.
    Great job with this language. I love the way it flows. It’s strong, gallant and elegant.
    Greetings from Brasil.
    P.S.: Sorry for my ‘not-so-good’ English.
    P.S².: I wrote “Brasil” because I rather write the name of my country as it is.

  53. Just a small question… Was Jelmazmo made up as “stormborn” for a specific reason or just sounded right? Is it its own root, or is it a combination of storm and born?

    • I thought I’d explained the etymology somewhere, but if not, jelmio is the word for “wind”. The augmentative suffix -āzma turns jelmio into jelmāzma, which means “storm”. Then the word is declined in the genitive to give you “Daenerys of the Storm”. In the oldest form of the language, it properly would have been Jelmāzmo Daenerys, but in modern times it’s treated like other last names and moved to the end.

  54. I have just watched this episode again. Definitely one of my favourites, seeing the sexy Dany showing why she is a leader

  55. Ohhh it’s soooo very fabulous to see these words in phonetic form. Please do more….

  56. Hi!

    I’ve got a question, I don’t understand:

    What does “ji” stand for?

    As in: “Ydra ji Valyre?”

    I love your work& love learning High Valyrian!!

    Nice greetings from Vienna!

    cheers:)

    • It literally means “the.” The rules for when to use articles vary from language to language, and apparently Astapori Valyrian requires one here, while English does not.

      If you want more information than that, you’ll need Mr. Peterson himself to answer, as I don’t really know anything more about it..

  57. thanks!!

    and what does “sa” as in “Sa tida” – “It is done.” stand for?

    as I can’t find it in neither the Astapori- nor the High Valyrian dictionary.?

    • Sa means “(he/she/it) is.” We don’t usually list verb forms separately, just the infinitive… for the rest of the forms we know, see [[Astapori Valyrian Verb Conjugation]].

      Of course we haven’t listed this word on the vocab page at all, because we don’t officially know the infinitive. It’s almost certainly sagho, but we don’t have official confirmation of that yet, and we don’t normally put words on the vocab page until we’re sure of the citation form.

      • aah OK! thanks :)

        So the equivalent in High Valyrian would be: “issa tida.”, right?!

        • Well, kinda sorta.

          1. The HV equivalent of AV sa is indeed issa, so that’s exactly right. But…

          2. Tida is an AV word. The HV cognate is probably teta “finished.” So you could use that, but…

          3. HV pretty much always puts the verb on the end. So it would be teta* issa “It is finished.” But…

          4. While that is perfectly good HV, so far as I know, it would probably be more idiomatic to say tetaks “it has been finished.”

          * Note to DJP: now that I think about it, I’m not sure why tida is in the celestial gender. Tido seems more intuitive. Could you explain?

  58. I don’t know if this has been asked above but I really want to learn how to speak HV because it’s mystical and beautiful. I even want to learn Esperanto and try creating my own language (like HV).
    Maybe even two languages…No three in total. I don’t know where to start but I have an idea on what the languages sound like or remind people off.
    I’m an amateur writer and giving my fantasy worlds a language might let it become more realistic.
    I love HV and the Dothraki language.

    People creating this language (Mr. David Peterson for example) are doing a job I would love to do too. You probably have to be creative for it as well and my mind is almost filled with creativity and fantasy.

    But I’ll stop now…

    • That’s totally awesome. :) If you want to learn more about creating your own language(s), I recommend you go here. For High Valyrian, though, check out the wiki, which is here. It’s a long road if you want to learn everything there is to know about creating a language, but it’s a fun one! I wish you all the luck in the world. <3

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