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Anthony Appleyard

Valyrian-looking and semi-Valyrian-looking proper-names in the books

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Is it completely clear which names in the books are Valyrian? With many it is clear, e.g. Targaryen, Jaehaerys, Maegor, etc etc. But where fits in the name Baratheon?, as it contains 'th', which sound occurs in Dothraki (and English), but not in Valyrian except in foreign words. And the dragon name Vhagar? (In it, I tend to pronounce the initial "vh" as "v" with a hesitation after, like with real-world Indian (of India) words such as "bhagavan" and "dharma".)

 

Edited by Anthony Appleyard

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The way I looked at it was this. Some names are obviously Valyrian-from-Old-Valyria Valyrian (Daenerys, Viserys, Aerys). Some names are of Valyrian origin, but likely came through some other Valyrian daughter language (Colloquo, Thoros, Daario, Beqqo). Others are Valyrian-inspired, and these are names like Baratheon. My aim was to make sure the Valyrian-from-Old-Valyria names were represented in the language, and that the daughter language names would not be precluded, but could be derived (so, for example, the root that gave us Valyrian beqes "sow" might also have given us Braavosi Beqqo, with the changes having to do with a gemination rule [something that would have to be in place to derive Braavosi, given all the names], and a simplification of the ending—or perhaps grafting another ending onto the root). The unique Low Valyrian names were going to inspire the languages they were supposed to come from, and inform how I would derive the language from High Valyrian. For example, the fact that we have the game cyvasse that comes from Volantis says a lot (a diphthong not really present in High Valyrian that is spelled with a letter whose pronunciation is quite different; the use of C as opposed to S might indicate that it was originally a K in High Valyrian and there was a spirantization that happened; the double S could mean something; the silent E could mean the loss of an ending, etc. These are English spelling conventions, of course, but it could mean something that GRRM chose to spell it cyvasse as opposed to saevas or saevass or syvasse or any other number of spellings he might have used, so why not lean into it?).

That was the goal. With Vhagar, by the way, I figured that was the best way Valyrians could figure to render the sound F. That name is, in fact, the way I decided not to include F as a sound in High Valyrian. I reasoned Vhagar might have been a name that had been inspired by a foreign name/word. Anyway, that was how I went about it when fleshing out High Valyrian. It would still be fun to create the daughter languages one day.

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