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Language Creation Society

General Thanks

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Hi everyone,

This is David Peterson (the Dothraki creator). I haven't posted here yet, but I wanted to say thanks for all the support and questions! It's great to see so much involvement at such an early stage. I think it bodes well for the series.

I'm in a bit of a tough spot regarding which questions I can answer, and which I can't (a lot of back and forth between me, Sai and HBO). There may be questions that have been asked that I can answer here, but I'm not sure what they are. For the time being, though, I can tell you that all the questions I've seen have definite answers (with the caveat that I may have missed a question here and there). As the series debut approaches, the level of involvement I can have will increase, but it's still early (consider Paul Frommer's situation--and that was after the movie was already out in theaters!).

But by all means, keep the questions and comments coming! Even if I don't respond, I am reading them, and keeping a list of what needs to be explained, what explicated and what clarified (if those are three different terms. I get the impression they are...). I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm here and paying attention, even if I'm not interacting directly.

-David

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David,

First off, it's great to have another member of the production other than D&D on the board.

Secondly, thanks for letting (at the very least) me know that any question I may have will not be to thin air.

The only one I can think of is "Will the language be released for fans to learn by themselves?"

Oh, and "Will the actors be required to know the language, or will they just be taught it phonetically?"

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I know you guys aren't allowed to reveal a lot, but could you please, please, please let us know how to say "it is known"?

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Couple of replies here.

The only one I can think of is "Will the language be released for fans to learn by themselves?"

I think that would be great, but we're a long ways away from that.

Oh, and "Will the actors be required to know the language, or will they just be taught it phonetically?"

While they certainly can learn it, I'm guessing that would be a pretty unreasonable demand. Consider the many, many films and television shows where actors speak natural languages on screen that they don't speak otherwise (for some reason Sam Neill speaking Russian in The Hunt for Red October is the first example that comes to mind...). If they did have to learn the languages they spoke on screen, actors would probably be the world's best polyglots!

I know you guys aren't allowed to reveal a lot, but could you please, please, please let us know how to say "it is known"?

Unfortunately, it's the common Dothraki phrases like "It is known", "blood of my blood", "Mother of Mountains", etc. that we're specifically not supposed to reveal yet. In time, of course, it will all be known*. Some of these, though, you may be able to figure out as, little by little, other phrases are revealed.

-David

* Yes, I recognize that that was a terrible joke. It's late...

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Thanks for keeping us fans in the loop. Are you surprised at how much hype this has gotten in such an early stage of production?

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Thanks for keeping us fans in the loop. Are you surprised at how much hype this has gotten in such an early stage of production?

Honestly, I think I would have been more surprised had I not been following the Suvudu Cage Match with such interest. I knew well before my involvement in the show that George R.R. Martin had a lot of fans, but the Cage Match demonstrated it numerically. I mean...Jaime Lannister beat Cthulu. Cthulu! And he gave Rand a run for his money. In fact, I took a screenshot at 2:52 p.m. PST on the last day of voting (a screenshot which I now realized I trashed, for some foolish reason... I was going to post it) where Jaime was up on Rand by a single vote. That contest made clear to me that GRRM's fanbase is a force to be reckoned with (and that, perhaps, the cage match was less about who would actually win in a real cage match. I mean...Cthulu!).

I have to say, though, I think the HBO folks are surprised (pleasantly so!) at how much attention a series which hasn't even really been marketed yet has garnered.

-David

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I mean...Jaime Lannister beat Cthulu. Cthulu!

Speaking of Cthulhu, has anybody ever conlanged the Cthulhu language? I've always loved the sound of it, but all I've ever seen of it are those few famous verses.

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Could you tell me how to say, 'I am vengence, I am the night, I am Bat-man,' in dothraki?

That would be pretty sweet.

And thanks for coming to the board. It is very dear of you to do so.

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It's awesome that the entire TV series (and hopefully another six) will have Dothraki spoken instead of HBO going down the Star Trek route of having everyone speak English. :lol: (It would of course have been somewhat difficult to create languages for all the different species which appeared in Star Trek.)

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Speaking of Cthulhu, has anybody ever conlanged the Cthulhu language? I've always loved the sound of it, but all I've ever seen of it are those few famous verses.

A lot of us have! However, there's so little to go on that there's not a lot of fun in it. To do anything, you'd have to make up an entire language - that little snippet doesn't give enough of a limitation to make that more interesting than making any other language, plus you've got the whole 'it's not really mine' thing. So lots of people have a go at it and then get bored. I remember a few years back a lot of us did it as a sort of challenge - analyse the fragment in as many ways as possible.

Personally, my (slighly but not indefeasibly contrary to cannon) pet theory/conceit is that the unearthly sounds are actually bad spelling pronunciations: the cultists are trying to pronounce the written words! But the spelling was never intended to be phonemic: what look like hideous consonant clusters are actually a complex and bizare system of mutation analogous to the Gaelic notation for lenition and eclipsis (Gaelic mutates the initial consonants under certain circumstances, and sometimes writes both the original AND the mutated forms, making what look like unpronouncable clusters. Hence initial strings like <bhf>. Why not the same for Cthulhuian <wg> and <mglw>? Meanwhile, note how several words have <gl>? Let's say that that's not the cluster /gl/, but rather some modified lateral - as it is in Italian. Same with /gn/. The apostrophe always appears between consonants, so it's not unreasonable to think it might actually be a vowel, presumably schwa. We've got both <glu> and <glw>, but they could easily by alloglyphs, as one is before a vowel and the other before an apostrophe (phonetically vocal, in this model, but not orthographically so). <fh> should clearly be read as in Gaelic - as nothing at all! Merely an etymological relic.

So I think it should be spoken /[email protected]'wi [email protected] kuKu [email protected]: wa:nal' an'/ (perhaps loosely 'funnil-wee mwunah kuhlu rulay waa-nile ain' to an English speaker?). Those degenerate cultists were just pronouncing wrongly, like people who say 'facade' with a k-sound.

----

OK, if you found that at all exciting, you're probably too geeky for normal internet society. Apologies.

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