The Sword and Laser discussion

81 views
Questions for David Peterson

Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (last edited Jul 08, 2011 12:52PM) (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1680 comments Mod
Next week, we'll have David Peterson on the show, President of the LCS (http://www.conlang.org/) and creator of the Dothraki language for the HBO series A Game of Thrones. If you have any questions for him, please post them below by Monday, 7pm PST!


message 2: by Al-wakkass (last edited Jul 08, 2011 01:33PM) (new)

Al-wakkass Sa'ad | 2 comments I always had a sneaking suspicion that you used arabic as one of the root languages...the reason of my suspicion is that they always said "/ana/" when they meant "I".
so was Arabic an inspiration?
thanx for an awesome language

cheers
Al-Wakkass

(p.s. I read the wikipedia page regarding the language and I know it doesn't mention Arabic)


message 3: by ingemar (new)

ingemar (ingsve) | 6 comments What are some of the freedoms you have personally taken when creating idioms for the Dothraki people that go beyond what is known from the books.


message 4: by ingemar (new)

ingemar (ingsve) | 6 comments Who do you think did the best job of bringing the Dothraki language to life on screen and what are some of the pitfalls or mistakes you have noticed.


message 5: by Anne (new)

Anne Schüßler (anneschuessler) | 834 comments Ooooh, that sounds awesome.

One question I would have is: How complete does an invented language have to be so you can actually make use of it? I would guess that to be able to use a made-up language in a consistent and believable way, you'd need way more grammar and vocabulary than you'd eventually use.

So, how far do you go? Could you actually use that language like a real one? How much do you need to throw yourself into a language to get a feeling for it and now how to create new things and how it should work?


message 6: by Kris (new)

Kris (kvolk) cool...How do you invent a language? what's the process?


message 7: by J (last edited Jul 08, 2011 07:38PM) (new)

J (mxyzptlk) | 20 comments Part 1a: I like the question about the use of Arabic, and would broaden that to ask just what root languages you turned to for inspiration, vocabulary, grammar, and/or syntax.

Part 1b: Just tell us a little about how those languages were used -- which for grammar, which for vocab, etc. For instance, the Dothraki Wiki gets into things like noun animacy and says words that end in /ak/ are active -- so an arakh would (appropriately) be an active noun. Does that come from any particular language or influence? (Wiki at wiki.dothraki.org if anyone's interested.)

Part 2: Do you yourself ever just walk around using Dothraki conversationally -- like at the dinner table, or telling a bedtime story? For instance, could you just spit out "Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!" in Dothraki?

Part 3: Bonus question -- Could you grammatically diagram the following Khal Drogo sentences in Dothraki?

"I will not have your body burned. I will not give you that honor. The beetles will feed on your eyes. The worms will crawl through your lungs. The rain will fall on your rotting skin... until nothing is left of you but bones."

(Spoken by Drogo to Mago in episode 8 just before he gives Mago a sore throat.)


message 8: by ingemar (new)

ingemar (ingsve) | 6 comments J wrote: "For instance, the Dothraki Wiki gets into things like noun animacy and says words that end in /ak/ are active -- so an arakh would (appropriately) be an active noun."

Arakh ends in /-kh/ and not in /-ak/ which is an important difference. Arakh is an inanimate noun while those that end in /-ak/ are animate.


message 9: by aldenoneil (new)

aldenoneil | 1000 comments Are you really just bullshitting everybody?

No, don't ask that. Or ask it and then all share a laugh.


message 10: by J (last edited Jul 08, 2011 10:07PM) (new)

J (mxyzptlk) | 20 comments ingemar wrote: "Arakh ends in /-kh/ and not in /-ak/ which is an important difference. Arakh is an inanimate noun while those that end in /-ak/ are animate. "

Sheesh, picky... Just found my Dothraki-English dictionary, and arakh is inanimate. I don't know the language (just found the wiki tonight), and if I made the sentence a question by moving the "would" to after "so" instead of after "arakh" I'd have been better off.

Syntax!

Still, I'm not sure the important difference is between a -kh and a -k, since the word for language is lekh and that's classified as animate.

But can you really hear the difference between -kh and -k sounds when watching the show? In the world of the narrative I think the language is all oral -- no literary tradition. It's kind of like claiming there's an important difference between the Irish seacht, the Scottish seachd, and the Manx siaght, when they're all pronounced pretty much the same and all mean "seven." (I'm talking about hearing the difference between sounds, not animacy or inanimacy.)


message 11: by Al-wakkass (last edited Jul 09, 2011 03:18AM) (new)

Al-wakkass Sa'ad | 2 comments J wrote: "But can you really hear the difference between -kh and -k sounds when watching the show?"

Yes in fact, the sound for -kh doesn't exist in the english alphabet, it does exist though in Arabic and Hebrew..Just my two cents.


message 12: by ingemar (new)

ingemar (ingsve) | 6 comments "J wrote: Sheesh, picky..."

Ya, I guess it was a little picky. I just thought I'd clear it up.

Lekh is a special example since it has two different meanings depending on animacy. The animate lekh means language and the inanimate lekh means tongue.

You sometimes don't hear a difference between /k/ and /kh/ on the show but you should. Any instance where /kh/ is pronounced like /k/ is a mistake by the actors.


message 13: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6251 comments Why doesn't translate.google.com have a Dothraki option?


message 14: by Robert (last edited Jul 10, 2011 09:44AM) (new)

Robert M (rfmdevil73) | 12 comments I have not read any of the Game of Thrones books yet. Curious, how well does the Dothraki Language for the HBO series match up with what's in the books if the language was used....completely your own work or were you expanding off of George Martin's text?


message 15: by ingemar (new)

ingemar (ingsve) | 6 comments Is there any choice you made when creating the language that you later wished you hadn't done but by that time it was too late to go back and change it?


message 16: by aldenoneil (last edited Jul 10, 2011 08:22PM) (new)

aldenoneil | 1000 comments Robert wrote: "Curious, how well does the Dothraki Language for the HBO series match up with what's in the books?"

Proper nouns are the same, but from what I remember there wasn't a whole lot of Dothraki speech in the novel. So I haven't answered your question at all, but I do get to see my name and pic
show up again.


message 17: by Anne (new)

Anne Schüßler (anneschuessler) | 834 comments This goes without saying, but he should definitely say something in Dothraki.


message 18: by Ben (new)

Ben Marshall (275ben) | 8 comments Congratulations on creating such a natural sounding language.

My question relates to the actors who are asked to learn Dothraki.

On movies and shows where non-native speakers of a language are asked to sound or speak English, French, Uzbekistani, deep-South or so on, voice coaches help an actor out with pronunciation & feeling. Since you created Dothraki, I assume you were very closely involved with the actors too.

Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) spits and chews his way so convincingly through his lines that it makes me wonder how much of a challenge it is with a language that's created from so little to give an actor a solid base for their performances? Do you need to tweek and alter Dothraki as needed to let it work better dramatically?


message 19: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (last edited Jul 11, 2011 04:20PM) (new)

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
Anne wrote: "This goes without saying, but he should definitely say something in Dothraki."

Yes! Ask him to say, "Listen to the Sword & Laser Podcast!" or "Join the Sword & Laser Bookclub" in Dothraki.

Of course, that brings up the questionable existence of "laser" (not to mention "bookclub" and "podcast") in the Dothraki tongue, but I'm guessing an approximation could be worked out phonetically (as loan words).


message 20: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6251 comments Hash tih fikishi nahre yeroon?


message 21: by ingemar (new)

ingemar (ingsve) | 6 comments Tamahome wrote: "Hash tih fikishi nahre yeroon?"

Hmm, where did you get that from? That's an old transcription I did as a basis for further correction. It was corrected by David to be "Hash tihi vekhi she nhare yeroon?"


message 22: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6251 comments ingemar wrote: "Tamahome wrote: "Hash tih fikishi nahre yeroon?"

Hmm, where did you get that from? That's an old transcription I did as a basis for further correction. It was corrected by David to be "Hash tihi v..."


I just googled for any Dothraki question. :)


back to top