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banehunter

Targaryens and the common tongue

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Is it ever mentioned how and at what point did targaryens start speaking the common tongue?
Also, why would they abandon valyrian (I know it was still taught, but even between targaryens they spoke the common tongue)?

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1 hour ago, banehunter said:

Is it ever mentioned how and at what point did targaryens start speaking the common tongue?
Also, why would they abandon valyrian (I know it was still taught, but even between targaryens they spoke the common tongue)?

Practicality.  They relocated to Westeros.  Why would they maintain speaking Valyrian?  I suppose they could have kept the custom, but why? Valyria is gone.  

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43 minutes ago, Aline de Gavrillac said:

Why would they maintain speaking Valyrian?

Although close to Westeros, Dragonstone was part of the Valyrian freehold. The doom didn't come until 102 BC and it would be a reason for them to preserve their culture, identity and language and not abandon it (as the "descendants of valyria"). I don't see how relocating to dragonstone would cause them to switch language. Looking at real history, people don't just suddently decide to stop speaking their language (e.g. when spanish came to america, they continued speaking spanish). Probably those who travel to westeros would learn the common tongue, but that would be a small minority and there was no pressure to abandon valyrian.

Edited by banehunter

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On 1/28/2020 at 11:34 AM, banehunter said:

Also, why would they abandon valyrian (I know it was still taught, but even between targaryens they spoke the common tongue)?

Are we sure that they did?

I wouldn't discard the possibility that they didn't. After all, Dany spoke High Valyrian even though she had been raised by Willem Darry. It seems that Viserys would be the likelier candidate for having taught her the language. And if Viserys knew the language it would be because it was commonly spoken among the Targaryens (his mother died when he was 9).

Another (very minor) hint that the Targaryens may speak Valyrian is that Barristan also spoke the language. He is a knight, not a scholar, and it is uncommon for Westerosis to speak it (even Sam Tarly acknowledges that he knows "little" High Valyrian). A reasonable justification for Barristan being able to speak High Valyrian would be if it had been the royal language at court during the years he served Aerys.

 

[All that said, I don't think that GRRM has ever given much thought to it. We know he is not very interested in languages, and there are far more absurd situations such as the North or Dorne speaking "Andalish". But I think that including languages may have introduced very interesting layers in some stories. For instance, the 'black' side of Viserys I's family would speak in Valyrian, but the green may not even understand it. Or Egg could have been the first king switch the Targ familiar tongue to common (since he was the son of a Dayne, spent most of his childhood with Dunk, and married a Blackwood), only to have this move reversed by the more conservative Jaehaerys and Aerys.]

Edited by The hairy bear

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Dany learned Valyrian in Essos. It is the language spoken in the Free Cities, and it shouldn't be difficult to learn High Valyrian there - whereas very few people in Westeros have ever learned it. You need a good maester to learn it in Westeros.

With the Targaryens already having idols of the Seven in their sept on Dragonstone before the Conquest (made from the ships that carried Aenar and his family to Dragonstone) we can expect them having abandoned (High) Valyrian in the decades between Aenar and Aegon I.

If George ever elaborates on those years it might, perhaps, turn out, that one of the Targaryen Lords of Dragonstone married a Westerosi noblewoman (perhaps a cousin or niece or aunt via a Targaryen spare daughter a generation earlier who married, say, the Lord Darklyn of Duskendale) who brought both the Faith and the Common Tongue into the Targaryen family and taught it to her children who then passed it on (could work well if she served as regent for her minor children or was otherwise very influential).

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On 1/28/2020 at 5:34 AM, banehunter said:

Is it ever mentioned how and at what point did targaryens start speaking the common tongue?
Also, why would they abandon valyrian (I know it was still taught, but even between targaryens they spoke the common tongue)?

"A man wants to be king o' rabbits, he best wear a pair o' floppy ears."

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Lord Daemion Targaryen (grandfather of Aegon the Conqueror) and Lord Aerion Targaryen (father of Aegon the Conqueror) both had a maester at Dragonstone. This is a sign the Targaryens had more contact with the Westerosi culture by the end of the Century of Blood.

I don't think we can point a specific moment where the Targaryens started speaking the Common tongue, it is more likely a progressive processus. I'm guessing Lord Aenar and his son Lord Gaemon the Glorious did not care to learn the Common Tongue but several generations later when it was clear that the Valyrian Empire was dead, it would be a useful language to learn for the Targaryens.

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