Between the books and the series, George R.R. Martin has captured a massive audience and drawn them into the world of Game of Thrones. The seventh season of the HBO series brought in over 10 million viewers on average. The connection viewers feel to this world makes them want to experience it, and one way to immerse yourself into the action is by learning one of the languages spoken across the three continents.
Impress your friends at your watch party by speaking a few phrases in these common Game of Thrones languages.
Common Tongue of the Andals
Luckily, for most of us, we already speak this language in some form, since it’s basically just English. The trick to emulating this dialect is with the right accent. While it may seem like everyone just sounds British on the show, accents can place you on one side of the conflict or the other. To make sure you’re aligned with the right region of Westeros, you’ll need to work on your pronunciation.
If you want to sound like a Stark, following the King of the North, you’ll need to speak more like someone from Northern England. Sean Bean’s accent, before he lost his head (RIP Ned), is the most accurate example of people from the North.
If you want to sound more refined, like a Lannister, you’ll need to learn to speak Received Pronunciation. This form of English comes from the Southern end of Britain and is the standard form of British English. It’s derived from the way educated individuals in the South speak.
Practice will help make perfect when working on your accent for the Common Tongue. You may just have to spend a lot of time listening to people speaking, which may require you rewatch Game of Thrones. Again.
Created from scratch by the show series’ linguist, David J. Preston, this language evolved from just a few phrases Martin used in the book series. It’s a complete language, spoken by the nomadic, horse-riding warriors of Essos whom we meet fairly early on in the series. Currently, there are about 100,000 of these native speakers fighting alongside Daenerys on her path to the iron throne.
Perhaps the most popular word in Dothraki is Khaleesi or wife of the clan leader since it’s one of the many names Daenerys goes by during the show. The most common phrase is probably Me nem nesa or This is known. A few other fun phrases in Dothraki include:
-Majin, finnaan kisha dothraki asshekh? So, where are we heading today, then?
-Che dothras che drivos. Ride or die.
-Me zisosh disse. It’s just a flesh wound.
In addition to forums, fan sites and unofficial language dictionaries and guides, you can become able to fully converse in Dothraki with the help of a few very robust sources. Created by Random House, the Dothraki Companion App teaches you about 300 Dothraki words. It coaches you through vocabulary and grammar using games, flashcards, culture notes and conversational dialogue exercises.
Another option is the Living Language Dothraki, written by the dialect creator himself. Available on Amazon, this course consists of a language guide and CD complete with words, phrases, grammar explanations, culture notes, dialogue and exercises.
Divided into high and low dialects, this language is primarily used throughout Slaver’s Bay. While High Valyrian is used by the Red Priests to communicate with each other, it’s never used conversationally in the books. Fully-developed for the show, a few key High Valyrian phrases include:
-Skoriot ñuhyz zaldrīzesse ilzi? Where are my dragons?
-Ñuhor līr gūrēnna. I will take what is mine.
-Daoruni gīmī, Ionos Sōnaro. You know nothing, Jon Snow.
Broken down into an assortment of dialects, Low Valyrian changes based on where people speak the language. Almost every main city in Slaver’s Bay has its own derivative of the language. People speak Astapori in Astapor and Meereenese in Meereen. The two languages differ due to how secluded they are from outside influence. As a result, Meereenese has very different pronunciations when compared to Astapori.
Duolingo, a website that teaches languages for free, offers a full course on High Valyrian. For just five minutes a day, you can begin learning through games and ample opportunity for practice, helping you get conversational in no time.
Header Photo by mauRÍCIO santos on Unsplash
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