Back when Game of Thrones was being adapted from George R.R. Martin’s books to turn it into the big fancy television series viewers know and love today, producers sought the assistance of a linguistics scholar from California named David Peterson to create the two made-up languages in the series — Dothraki and High Valyrian — more or less from scratch. Peterson discussed this process a bit last year. It was notable for phrases like “linguistic trial by combat,” as well as this useful little tip.
Peterson admits one of his favorite expressions is a sentence in Dothraki: Mori allayafi anna, jin alegra, he says, over the phone. “It’s how a Dothraki person would just say ‘I like ducks,’ but, if you break it down, he’s actually saying ‘I like them, these ducks.’”
But one can only express his or her love of ducks in an invented language from a fantasy television series about dragons and incest so many times before it starts getting weird, so Peterson is here to help. Beginning in October, Living Language — a language instruction guide from Random House that utilizes “techniques originally developed for the U.S. State Department” — will begin offering a course in Dothraki that was created by the man himself.
The basic course, yours for the low low price of $19.99, includes a Dothraki book and CD that features “a pronunciation guide, basic phrases, a detailed guide to grammar, 200 vocabulary words organized in eleven thematic lists, a dialogue, culture notes, and 50 written exercise questions to test your Dothraki.” And for $30.00, you can get the Dothraki Expanded Online Course, which includes expanded grammar notes and “more than 500 Dothraki vocabulary words and hundreds of phrases, as well as an extensive pronunciation guide.” No word on how many of those 500 words are filthy Dothraki cusses, but I’m hoping it’s at least a dozen. Otherwise that price seems a little steep.
The website also includes a free sample with a few vocabulary words and short sentences. One of the sentences is “Hrazef dik adavrae,” which translates to “The fast horse will be good.” Now you just need to learn how to say “Yeaaaah, not so much” and you’ll be well on your way!