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InundaTED

If you’re following me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m at TED in Long Beach right now, and that it’s not likely that I’ll get out three more blog posts before the month is up. That, however (as well as the title to my last post), got me thinking about months.

In the Universe of Ice and Fire, we know there are seasons, because we’re told that there are. Seasons can last months, years—decades, even. We don’t know why, but I’ve heard that there is an explanation, and we’ll learn what it is when George R. R. Martin is done with the series. In the meantime, though, I have absolutely no idea what to do with month names—or dividing up months—in Dothraki, and so I’m going to leave it alone. After all, though summer will be the same every time one experiences it, whether summer lasts three months or three years, there’s no guarantee that a single month (e.g. September) will be the same year in and year out. What, then, would distinguish it? Why even name it?

That, though, doesn’t change the fact that we have months in our world, and that those months have names. So if one were to use Dothraki, we could use the English names and Dothrakify them (though “February” is terrible in any language. What an awful word! I think I’d Dothrakify it as Fevyuweri, which will betray my accent), but I thought it might be fun to come up with Dothraki words for our months—and so I’m throwing it out to you. What would be some good names for our months in Dothraki? You might find it useful to refer to the extant vocabulary of Dothraki in coming up with words, but feel free to be creative. As a reminder, these are the terms for the seasons in Dothraki:

  • Spring: Eyelke
  • Summer: Vorsaska
  • Autumn: Chafka
  • Winter: Aheshke

You might also find it interesting to look at how other cultures have named their months. For example, in Ancient Egyptian, the months were called Growth, Harvest and Inundation followed by a number (I always found that amusing). If we can come up with terms we like, we’ll start using them out of world.

Oh, by the way, I think it’d be helpful to come up with a list of out of character Dothraki vocabulary (e.g. some of the modern terms we’ve come up with). Possible expansion for the language wiki…?

And a Happy Goat Year!

Happy 2012 to you all!

2012 should be a good year for Game of Thrones fans: Season 2 is debuting in April, and George R. R. Martin will be finishing up The Winds of Winter! Okay, maybe not, but A Dance with Dragons will be coming out in paperback, after kicking some choyo in hardback. Athdavrazar!

Since it’s a new year, I thought I’d do some resolutions, since I never seem to do any. For Dothraki, I’ve got a big one: 5,000 words by December 31st, 2012. We’re currently at 3,300, so that’s a fair amount, but I’ll give it my best shot!

To start things off this year, let’s look at some year-related words, if that’s a licit category. We know the word for “day” (asshekh) already. The word for “year” is firesof, deriving ultimately from fir, an adjective meaning “round” or “circular”. I’ve left uncreated words for things like “week”, “fortnight” and “month”, for the time being, since it seems like at least some of these might end up being borrowed from other languages, so those lexemes will have to remain mysterious for the time being. Something everyone in the universe of Ice and Fire certainly has to deal with, though, is the seasons.

If you’re new to A Song of Ice and Fire, seasons work very, very differently. In the world of Westeros and Essos, summers and winters can last several years at a time, or just a few months; one never knows. How does it work? Magic. (Or, for more information, go here, but don’t expect a complete answer.) But certainly the seasons aren’t something one can shrug off, like we can here in Southern California. (Want to know what the high here was today? 75°F/24°C. Yeah… We got it good here.)

Since the seasons are unpredictable, I decided to derive the terms for the seasons from climatological phenomena. The four seasons are as follows (all inanimate nouns):

  • eyelke “spring” (from eyel, “rain”)
  • vorsaska “summer” (from vorsa, “fire”)
  • chafka “autumn” (from chaf, “wind”)
  • aheshke “winter” (from ahesh, “snow”)

There are parts of Essos that won’t see snow in the winter, but the Dothraki travel all over, and likely weather snow for a good part of a given winter.

As firesof is an inanimate noun, a new year would be a firesof sash, but to wish someone a happy new year (or the equivalent), one would more likely say something like, Firesof athvezhvenari! And you can replace athvezhvenari with any other superlative noun in the genitive, such as, Firesof shekhikhi! or, Firesof alikhi!

So, to one and all, Firesof athdavrazari!

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