From Dothraki
Revision as of 17:08, 18 December 2010 by Lajaki (Talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search

The Dothraki language canon is the complete collection of information about the Dothraki language provided by authoritative sources, namely David J. Peterson and George R.R. Martin.

The canon comprises two things:

  • words and phrases spoken or written in Dothraki
  • descriptions of the linguistic elements of Dothraki such as orthography, morphology, syntax, and grammar

The Dothraki words and phrases from canonical sources are presented or linked to on the Corpus page (where copyright allows). Documentation, explanation, and analysis of Dothraki linguistics are presented on other Learn Dothraki wiki pages (Phonology, Morphology, Grammar, etc.). This page serves to document the canonical sources themselves.

For more on the canonicity of various sources, consult the Canonicity page.


A Song of Ice and Fire

The A Song of Ice and Fire series is an epic fantasy series of books penned by George R. R. Martin. In it, one of the main point of view characters is named Daenerys Targaryen, an exiled princess who is married off to a Dothraki horselord. The Dothraki speak the Dothraki Language. More information on it is released in the books than anywhere else, and all of the linguistic detail comes straight from the original author of the series.

Official HBO Press Release

On April 12th, HBO officially released information about the language. In the post, it was explained that David J. Peterson had been hired to create the language after a selection process run by the LCS. Peterson then states his inspirational languages of Russian, Turkish, Estonian, Inuktitut and Swahili, and goes on to talk about some of the main features of the language: that it has a unique phonology, that over 1,800 words had been developed, that it is subject-verb-object in grammar, that it has post-noun appearing adjectives, and a lack of a copula. Finally, some specific information about certain Dothraki words was given, in the largest trove of Dothraki words to date. [1]

George R.R. Martin's LiveJournal Entry

On April 13th, George R.R. Martin posted on his LJ about some of the decisions he had to make in the books concerning writing Dothraki, since, he admits, he is not the best at languages. This is useful mostly for it's explanation of the original source of Dothraki. The title of the entry is Klaatu barada nicto, the famous phrase from the film The Day The Earth Stood Still (which is definitely not Dothraki). He signs off by saying that he wishes he knew the words for "It is known..." [2]

Official HBO Audio

On April 13th, David J. Peterson released recordings of nine Dothraki entries which had been released in the previous HBO press release. These recordings illuminate much concerning stress, phonetic realisations of the George R.R. Martin orthography, and the natural sound of Dothraki. They are publicly available on the Dothraki blog. [3]

On Hold for Now

The official blog stated on April 15th that the language releases were going to be put on hold for a while, due mostly to a delay in the production of the HBO series production because of recasted actors. However, the blog did have one bit of information: fonas chek was used as a sign off message, although it's meaning is not yet certain. [4]

On April 22nd, an article interviewing both Peterson and Sai Emrys was posted on It covers the LCS workings and goal, then the size of Dothraki in the books and it's usage. Peterson goes on to talk about how other languages influenced his, including another conlang of his called Zhyler, and to say that Dothraki is not necessarily agglutinative. He then goes on to talk about the pronunciation of Dothraki, as being like Arabic and Spanish, and then to talk a bit about circumfixes. Sai then speaks more about the selection process, and Peterson talks of his competitors, and what got him into conlanging in the first place. Kamakawi, Petersons most advanced conlang, and orthography are covered. He states that he has been involved with George R.R. Martin in the creation process somewhat, and that he has provided recordings for the actors on the set, but is unsure as to whether he'll be able to accompany the actors while they are shooting. Finally, he talks about how he constructs new words according to phonotactic constrictions of the language and searching the lexicon for roots, the future possibility of a Dothraki-English dictionary, and finally the words for "blood of the dragon": qoy zhavvorsi. In the comments, Sai also states that they do not aim for Dothraki to become an global auxiliary language.[5]

Scientific American

This article, from June 3rd, has the a good deal of Dothraki linguistic examples: it starts with the phrase zhey vichomer, which must be some sort of welcome or greetings. Peterson talks about the origin of the language, but mentions that he currently has over 2,000 words in the lexicon. He then goes on to talk about action verbs and their transitivity and assigning of semantic roles, with examples. He goes on to state that Dothraki was made primarily to fit George R.R. Martin's view of the Dothraki, as normal human beings, and so does not include any violations of linguistic universals that he knows about. He explains what he means by linguistics universals before saying that his main focus on this language has been on morphological processes. He gives some examples pertaining to circumfixes, before signing off with fonas chek again. [6]

Here, on June 24th, David Peterson did an interview with a Russian website, mostly chronicling Russian's influence on the language. He talks about how the Dothraki case system has been closely modelled after Russian, that Dothraki has animate and inanimate nouns, no articles, and differing cases after prepositions. The lack of a copula and the structure of relative clauses are also similar to Russian. Peterson and Emrys then go on to state that no other languages had been ordered as of yet by HBO, although the LCS has been giving them some thought. The question of whether or not the Dothraki have a writting system is then settled, with the answer being no, unless it were to be borrowed from Pentosh or another culture like Valyrian. Peterson gives some illuminating comments on the duality of Dothraki existence, and the effect of this on the language, and his considerations of the women population of Dothraki speakers. He ends with the repeated statement from the Press Release that the viewers of the HBO series hopefully won't even notice that Dothraki has been constructed, but will merely consider it a natural part of the A Song of Ice and Fire universe. [7]


On August 25th, David Peterson did another interview with Wired. He talks in depth about his linguistic background and credentials, and then about the LCS. He mentions prominent conlangers, and his own conlangs and the justification for making them, as well as the real languages he's learned. He goes on to talk of his previous knowledge of the books, the process by which he was appointed to make the language, and the process he used to create them. He states that Dothraki is an à priori language, not based on anything else, but lists some influences. He puts the current word count at 2356. The future of the language is discussed, as well as his desire to see it grow, and to be part of the filming process. Finally, he goes on to talk about the currently non-existant plans to make the language more public, before mention this fansite and going on to give us another Dothraki sentence, with audio: Oqet vichitera oma vafikhoon. A sheep shivers without its wool.[8]

Usona Esperantisto

On October 20th, Usona Esperantisto published an article online in which David Peterson and Sai were interviewed. During the interview a new phrase was published; Vos arakhaan feveya qoyoon meaning "not to a sword thirsting for blood". We also learnt that when the dothraki do someting in secret they do it torga essheyi meaning "under a roof".

HBO Blog

On November 10th, the HBO Blog had a short bit with some Dothraki in it: "Ánha tih mahrazhés fin kásha chakát karlín. That sound right?" This shows that accent marks are being used to express stress, to make life easier for the actors. A translation of this sentence is not yet extant. On December 10th, the HBO Blog had another short bit of Dothraki in it: Eyél várthasoe she ilekaán ríkhoya arrekaán vékha vósi yeroón vósma tolórro! No translation was given.

On December 15th the the HBO Blog had a first installment of what is going to be a series of dothraki lessons by David J. Peterson. Several new words were published along with a breakdown of word order far various classes or words which is the first look at some grammar for the language..

Networking Sites

On the official Facebook Dothraki page, the phrase M'athchomaroon! is in the box. M'ath, attested in private correspondance only, seems to be a contracted form, often with zhey and greeting, and so this may be deduced to mean some sort of welcome. As well, having been followed by the official twitter account LearnDothraki, David Peterson, under his Twitter name Dedalvs, replied with the new words Athchomar chomakea, zhey LearnDothraki! Glad to know you.[9] He replied @Mary_of_T later, with "Just for you: Asshekh Dothraki samveno 2,300 as."[10] This probably means "Dothraki surpassed 2,300 words today", given his previous post.[11] Later, in regards to a mistranslation of athdavrazar, he wrote "@richfenne Here's a freebie just to settle this once and for all. English: "midnight"; Dothraki: addo ajjalani. #dothraki" [12] Sai made a post on December 10th that may have a couple of Dothraki words in it: "#dothraki diplomat #protip: If your ilek is referred to as rikhoy, you should already have been running.".[13] There may have been more Dothraki words on the 15th of December: Peterson tweeted with Aheshke jada..., but nothing else.[14] On the 16th of December Peterson answered a tweet with the word Athjilar, meaning yet unknown. [15] However, in a response to a twit wondering whether Athjilar meant correct, another word, sek, was given[16], later confirmed to be yes on the IRC channel.


  1. "Official HBO Press Release". April 12, 2010. 
  2. "George R.R. Martin's LiveJournal Entry". April 13, 2010. 
  3. "Official HBO Audio Press Release". April 13, 2010. 
  4. "On Hold For Now". April 15, 2010. 
  5. "Tor.Com". April 22, 2010. 
  6. "Scientific American". June 3, 2010. 
  7. "". June 24, 2010. 
  8. "Wired Article". August 25, 2010. 
  9. "Twitter Post". August 2, 2010. 
  10. "Twitter Post". August 11, 2010. 
  11. "Twitter Post". August 9, 2010. 
  12. "Twitter Post". November 20, 2010.!/Dedalvs/status/5886396753514496. 
  13. "Sai's Twitter Post". December 10,2010.!/saizai/status/13367598758494208. 
  14. "Aheshke jada Twit". December 15, 2010.!/Dedalvs/status/14950768679325696. 
  15. "Athjilar Tweet". December 16, 2010.!/Dedalvs/status/15584654899810304. 
  16. "Sek". December 17,2010.!/Dedalvs/status/15735540368281600. 
Personal tools