Looking for a way to kill time between last night's epic finale of Season 4 of "Game of Thrones" and next year's Season 5? Why not brush up on your Dothraki?
While "Thrones" author George R.R. Martin laid the groundwork for the fictional language, credit for the television expansion truly belongs to linguist and language creator David Peterson. HBO hired the 33-year-old to not only create Dothraki, but also tackle the language of High and Low Valyrian. He ended up taking R.R. Martin's initial 50 words in Dothraki and expanding them to more than 3,800. Eventually, according to a new interview with Salon.com, he intends to make available more than 10,000 words.
"In a show, everything that’s happening on the screen has to be explicitly reified, whether it’s the actors in the background, the sets, the costumes," he tells Salon. "Everything that shows up on the screen or can be heard from the actors on the screen adds a conscious decision on the part of the filmmakers. And so that’s why they realized that it wouldn’t just pass to throw up whatever for the Dothraki, whether it was just being spoken in the background or whether it was being spoken in the forefront. You can’t have a narrator just jump in and say, “And then he said this in Dothraki.” They need to actually be saying it."
Peterson is helping fans interested in learning Dothraki with a new "Living Language" book that not only includes a pronunciation CD, but also a grammar guide, basic phrases, and 50 written exercise questions. Taking things one step further, an online course will also be available for purchase that will be separated into five progressive lessons. Depending on the course, you will be able to entertain your friends and intimidate enemies with 200-500 vocabulary words.
"It will take you to the point where you will be able to put together a variety of simpler phrases," he says. "Like you should be able to string together dialogue and you should be able to understand dialogue. There are going to be nuances of the grammar that are more for intermediate and advanced, but this will get you through the bulk of standard texts, I think. And if you wanted to go back to Seasons 1 and 2, it should give you a foothold into a lot of the dialogue that’s in the show."
Peterson's Living Language Dothraki: A Conversational Language Course will be available beginning Oct. 7.
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