As we near the day of Winter Goat (goat pictures! Send them!), I thought it would be fun to do the old “Twelve Days of Christmas” in Dothraki. I thought I’d do this with twelve days to go until Christmas, but then I forgot to do it, so instead, here’s all twelve days!
Of course, there’d be no such thing as Christmas to the Dothraki. (And, of course, in modern times, we don’t even recognize twelve days. Oh, hang on a sec. The twelve days of Christmas start on Christmas day! This must be what Germans refer to as Sylvester. Huh. Live and learn.) Consequently I had to think up something quasi-similar that they could celebrate annually (or every-so-often-ly, at least), and what I came up with was the coming of Jalan Qoyi, the so-called “blood moon”—a.k.a. harvest moon. The harvest moon doesn’t last for twelve nights, but apparently there’s a time between it and the hunter’s moon that’s special. It’s probably longer than twelve nights, but I say close enough.
So! Are you ready for a translation of a song that will definitely not scan if you try to sing it? Because I’m not! Here it comes!
Jumping straight to the twelfth day (use either khal or khaleesi, depending on your preference)…
Sh’akatthik Jalani Qoyi, azh khal/khaleesi anhaan…
On the twelfth (day) of the Blood Moon, the khal/khaleesi gave to me…
- Akatthi Awazakis,
- Twelve (Dothraki) Screamers,
- Atthi arakh hasi,
- Eleven sharp arakhs,
- Thi Jaqqe Rhani,
- Ten Mercy Men,
- Qazat zhoris qiya,
- Nine bleeding hearts,
- Ori vezhis haji,
- Eight strong stallions,
- Fekh Rhaeshis Andahli,
- The Seven Kingdoms,
- Zhinda serj kherikhi,
- Six leather vests,
- Mek mawizze!
- Five rabbits!
- Tor fasokhqoy,
- Four blood pies,
- Sen gal zhavvorsi,
- Three dragon eggs,
- Akat inglor,
- Two medallion belts,
- Ma firikhnharen ha khalaan!
- And a crown for a king!
Actually, that’s not bad to sing! There are a couple places where you have to jam in a syllable, but overall it works out pretty well. (Note: If line 7 seems like a mouthful, just remember it has only one more syllable than line 8, but you may as well treat ae like a diphthong. It’s doable.) As for the first line which needs to change each time, you can review numbers (and how to create ordinals) here. In singing, the syllable la is the one that should correspond to “day” in that line. Also, khal seems to work better if you hold it for two beats. I suppose you could do zhilak, “lover”, instead, but it’d be odd to do it without anni, “my”, and it would sound rather…personal.
And, of course, if you’d like to learn more Dothraki grammar—or get a gift for someone who might want to—you can pick up Living Language Dothraki, which is on sale now! There’s both a physical version and an online version, so it works both for folks who want an actual book in their hands and those who don’t want more stuff in the house.
Now, if I may turn my attention to long time readers of this blog, we have some business to attend to. There is a book coming from HBO called The Game of Thrones Compendium. This is a book that is going to compile and present a gigantic mezcla of fan submissions related to Game of Thrones the show (season 1 through 4—crucial to remember that it’s the show and not the books, where they differ). Afterwards, it’s going to be published. You can submit anything from analysis of the show to original works of art related to the show (visual art, songs, spoken word recordings, poetry, pictures of costumes). For a full rundown on what it is and how it works, read the faq here.
No matter what, this thing is going to be really cool. But you know what would make it cooler?
ORIGINAL WORKS IN DOTHRAKI AND/OR VALYRIAN!
Ever wondered what you would do with a poem in High Valyrian or Dothraki other than put it in a comment on this site? This. THIS. Granted, whatever you produce should be related to Game of Thrones in some other way besides the fact that it uses a language from the show, but that shouldn’t be tough. In fact, I’m sure some of the haiku submitted already could be resubmitted for the book. (Oh, and for legal purposes, all poems, etc. submitted to this website are the property of the original authors, and by submitting them here you give me the right simply to display them; you have not conveyed the rights of the original work to me in any way: You can still do what you want with it.) Or do something new. It’s all good!
The point is this: I want to see some language work in this book! Original poems, original songs—maybe even a dramatic reading of some of the lines in the show (Drogo’s speech, for example?)—memes (yes, Mad Latinist, you can submit your Valyrious memes, so long as you have the rights to the images! [If you don’t, note that you can use images from the show for this])! The possibilities are limitless!
Before submitting stuff, be sure to read the faq and the submission specs. If you’d like me to proofread something, please feel free to leave it in a comment, and note that it’s for the Compendium; I’ll try my best to get to those quicker than I do other things (I know I tend to be slow in responding).
Oh, and if you have a Dothraki or Valyrian tattoo? Please take the best photo you can of that and send it in!
As someone who works on the show, is a fan of the show, and is a fan of media in general, I think this is a really awesome project, and I hope it leads to more projects of its kind for other franchises, because it’s an outstanding idea. You can start submitting work on December 18th, and the submission period will be open until March 28th. So get ready, and let’s get crackin’! Dothralates!
It’s been a heck of a month for Living Language Dothraki. It made the Los Angeles Times’ best sellers’ list, so that’s cool! I’ve been all over the country talking about Dothraki, and I got really sick at the tail end of the journey.
And speaking of tails…
Winter Goat is getting ready to make a return! If you’d like to submit a photo to be considered for Winter Goat 2014, please send them to me at “dave” at “conlang” dot “org”. If I get some photos, I’ll put them up and we’ll have a vote, as is the Yuletide tradition here.
It was a lot of fun wandering the country talking about Dothraki. It’s been a while since I’ve been so focused on Dothraki specifically, as opposed to some of the other languages I’ve been working with, and I’ve discovered that it’s still the language I’m most fluent in (despite the fact that I’m nowhere near fluent). I signed a number of books with messages in Dothraki, and I’ve realized, to my horror, that a number of those feature errors (e.g. I didn’t use the right case with the relevant preposition; I spelled a word wrong, etc.). If you find a signed copy without any grammar errors, it’ll be quite valuable.
In New York, I did a panel at New York Comic-Con which was packed. That was a really awesome way to kick things off. You never know with a language creation event: you could be presenting to a room of two or two hundred. In this case, it was probably closer to four hundred. Here’s a picture my wife took during:
After New York I did a number of events in Southern California. Here’s a picture of the set of San Diego Living: a morning show. An early morning show. Ugh. Why don’t they record it at a different hour and just do a tape delay?! But whatever. It’s done. (Though I did flub whatever it was I said during the interview. My grammatical errors aren’t restricted to writing!)
I did a number of signings at libraries and bookstores. Among my favorite was the signing that was held at Mission Viejo city hall. They had a gavel. It was awesome. But this is my favorite picture from the event. It’s probably too blurry to do it justice, but this was just before Halloween, and this girl came in an outstanding Arya costume. The craftsmanship was unbelievable. A photo simply can’t do it justice. Athdavrazar, zhey Ari!
Last week I went to Colorado and then the Bay Area. In Colorado it snowed. A lot. It was literally below freezing. How people live in that nonsense is beyond me. Prof. Steven Hayward did get a nice shot of me at Garden of the Gods, though.
I also went to Berkeley, where, apparently, I failed to take a picture of anything except the hot dog I ate and this dinosaur in VLSB:
I don’t even know with me sometimes…
But hey! If the Dothraki lived in prehistorical times, they would totally ride raptors, right? Wouldn’t that be awesome?!
In the Bay Area, I participated in a couple great events at Kepler’s and Books Inc., and I also gave a talk at Google (the Google). Here’s a shot after:
It was an employees-only event, but they did put up a video on YouTube, which you can watch here (after all, they are YouTube).
I was also really grateful to be able to see some of the original Dothraki lajaki: Crown of Gold, Daenerys and Hrakkar. I was out-of-my-mind sick, but that really made the whole trip. Thanks for coming out to dinner, and I hope I didn’t get you sick!
I’m not sure when I’ll be going out next, but per usual, I will note on here whenever I’m doing an event somewhere or will be going to a convention. If I don’t post on the day, may you have a very merry Thanksgiving! Could go for some of that turkey and stuffing right now, to be honest…
Living Language Dothraki is officially on sale today! You can buy it at any bookstore, or go to the official site to buy it here. I got mine in the mail last week.
The feeling is pretty overwhelming. A lot of folks worked very hard on this, and a lot of stuff happened behind the scenes to make this day a reality. We all have HBO to thank for this. They’ve allowed a community to grow around this language, and they gave the green light to this book. Now you can take a look at it yourselves, and I hope you enjoy it!
I’m going to be in New York all week, and will be posting updates on Twitter. My remaining schedule for the coming months looks like this:
- October 7th: Living Language Dothraki is on sale at an independent bookstore near you!
- Word Bookstore, Jersey City, NJ, October 8th: I’ll be doing an event and signing at Word in Jersey City at 7:30 p.m. (note: there are two stores, one in Brooklyn and one in Jersey City. Be sure not to confuse the two!).
- Lansdowne Road, New York, NY, October 10th: Living Language is hosting a happy hour at Lansdowne Road where they’ll be giving away prizes for people who want to come and practice their Dothraki. It’s near the NYCC convention center for those who are in the neighborhood for the convention.
- New York Comic Con, New York, NY, October 9-12: I’ll be on two panels on Sunday the 12th: Dothraki 101 at 11:15 a.m. in 1A24 and How A Game of Thrones Changed Fantasy…Or Did It? at 1:15 p.m. in 1A05. The latter panel features some names you may have heard of if you read fantasy, e.g. Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb, Garth Nix, etc. (Totally not kidding. Check it out!)
- Book Soup, Hollywood, CA, October 14: I’ll be doing an event and signing at Book Soup in Hollywood at 7 p.m.
- Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA, October 17: I’ll be doing an event and signing at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego at 7:30 p.m.
- San Diego Comic Fest, San Diego, CA, October 17-19: I’ll be doing three panels at San Diego Comic Fest this year: “Conlanging: The Art of Language Invention with David J. Peterson” at 2 p.m., Saturday, October 18th; “Dothraki 101 with Language Developer David J. Peterson” at 5 p.m., Saturday, October 18th; and “1984: Warning or Instruction Manual” at noon, Sunday, October 19th. If you’re in the SD area, this is a great local con. Check it out!
- Orange County Public Library, Tustin, CA, October 22nd: I’ll be doing an event and signing at the Tustin library right near my home at 7 p.m.
- Life Is Beautiful Festival, Las Vegas, NV, October 24-26: Panel information coming soon!
- Mission Viejo Public Library, Mission Viejo, CA, October 28th: I’ll be doing an event and signing at the public library in Mission Viejo at 7 p.m.
- Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, November 10th: I’ll be giving a talk at Colorado College at 7 p.m. (more details to come).
- The Tattered Cover, Highlands Ranch, CO, November 11: I’ll be doing an event and signing at the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch at 7 p.m. (Note: Be sure to note the location, as there are several Tattered Cover stores in the Denver area!)
- Books, Inc., Mountain View, CA, November 14: I’ll be doing an event and signing at the Books, Inc. in Mountain View at 7 p.m. (Note: Be sure to note the location, as there are several Books, Inc. stores in the Bay Area!)
- Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA, November 15th: I’ll be a part of a group of other sff authors at Kepler’s Sci-Fi Fantasy Day. It’s going to be from 1-5 p.m. and feature a number of interesting talks and panels. My Dothraki event will be at 2:30 p.m. Please note that this is a ticketed event (tickets are $10 and can be purchased here), but a ticket grants you admission to the entire day’s events.
If you’re going to be near any of these places, please come say hi. Otherwise, thanks for following the blog the past few years, and for helping to make this day a reality!
A lot of people have been asking me over the years, “When will there be a book on Dothraki?” My response to this has always been, “Yeah! When will there be a book on Dothraki?!” Because I’ve long wanted for there to be a teach yourself guide on Dothraki—maybe something with exercises, grammar explanations, dialogues, vocabulary, etc., even some audio files to go with it. That would be awesome! But while I’m a language creator, it’s not like I’m a publisher. I can’t of a sudden decide that a teach yourself guide will exist, even if I wrote one. I’m just one guy: I need help!
Now, thanks to a partnership between Living Language and HBO Global Licensing, I got the help I need.
I’m happy to announce that Living Language is going to be publishing an official guide to Dothraki. Living Language Dothraki will come in three forms: a printed book; an online course; and an app for iOS devices. I’ve worked on every aspect of the course, and added some new vocabulary unique to the Living Language series. It’ll help get newcomers up to speed in the language, and will provide long time learners with an official resource to keep and refer to for years to come.
This book would not be a reality if there weren’t already a fanbase place—not just for Game of Thrones, but for the languages themselves. I especially want to thank the Dothraki fans that were there from the very beginning: Hrakkar, Dany, Crown of Gold, Lajaki, Najahho, Ingemar and Qvaak. If you’re wondering what I’ve been so busy with this year, this was a big part of it. San athchomari shafkea! I can’t wait for you to see it. October 7! Mark your calendars!
Preorder Link: http://livinglanguage.com/dothraki