Dothraki:About

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Dothraki is the language for the Dothraki people, a nomadic war-mongering race that ride the aptly-named Dothraki Sea steppes in George R.R. Martin's series, A Song of Ice and Fire. It was created by David Peterson, of the Language Creation Society, for the HBO adaptation of the series: all copyright belongs to HBO and the LCS.

Dothraki Creation

Dothraki was originally created to suit the Dothraki people in George RR Martin's series. Martin has admitted himself that he is not very good at languages, and that:

"I don't have a whole imaginary language in my desk here, the way Tolkien did."
"The same was true of Dothraki. Lots of characters speak the language of the horselords in my novels, and I did pepper the text with a few Dothraki words like khal and arakh... but for the most part I was content just to say, "They were speaking Dothraki," and give the sense of what was said, playing with the syntax and sentence rhythms a bit to convey a flavor."[1]

Since this was not good enough for the makers of the HBO series, the executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who wanted a detailed language, they hired the Language Creation Society to take over the Dothraki language from Martin. Dothraki was the first language that the Language Creation Society was hired to create.

"The LCS solicited and vetted a number of proposals for the Dothraki language from its pool of experts, with Peterson’s proposal ultimately being selected by the Game of Thrones production team." [2]

David Peterson took inspiration for the language from various other languages, but it is still it's own, unique language. There were "about thirty words, most of them names" to go with, from the books.

"There’s enough there, though, to give one a sense of what the language might sound like if it were fleshed out. That’s not to say there’s only one possible way the Dothraki language could have turned out (the initial proposals were quite divergent), but for me, there was enough material to figure out what direction I wanted to take." [3]
“In designing Dothraki, I wanted to remain as faithful as possible to the extant material in George R.R. Martin’s series,” says Peterson. “Though there isn’t a lot of data, there is evidence of a dominant word order [subject-verb-object], of adjectives appearing after nouns, and of the lack of a copula ['to be']. I’ve remained faithful to these elements, creating a sound aesthetic that will be familiar to readers, while giving the language depth and authenticity. My fondest desire is for fans of the series to look at a word from the Dothraki language and be unable to tell if it came from the books or from me—and for viewers not even to realize it’s a constructed language.”[2]

HBO, having seen the proposal from the Language Creation Society, went forward with the creation.

“We’re tremendously excited to be working with David and the LCS,” says producer D.B. Weiss. “The language he’s devised is phenomenal. It captures the essence of the Dothraki, and brings another level of richness to their world. We look forward to his first collection of Dothraki love sonnets.”[2]

Martin has also stated that "I look forward to the day when someone translates Shakespeare into Dothraki. They've already done a Klingon translation, and probably an Elvish one as well, so what the hell." [1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "George R.R. Martin's LiveJournal Entry". April 13, 2010. http://grrm.livejournal.com/148593.html. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Official HBO Press Release". April 12, 2010. http://dothraki.conlang.org/official-hbo-press-release/. 
  3. "Tor.Com". April 22, 2010. http://www.tor.com/blogs/2010/04/creating-dothraki-an-interview-with-david-j-peterson-and-sai-emrys. 
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