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Language Creation Society

LCS: Scientific American “Fantasy TV in the service of science� & response

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Joshua Hartshorne recently wrote us an open letter entitled “Fantasy TV in the service of science,” posted as a guest blog by Scientific American.

David Peterson (creator of Dothraki) and Sai Emrys (LCS president) emailed him immediately after its posting. David’s response, kindly posted by Scientific American, takes into account what was discussed during a fairly lengthy conversation.

We hope you enjoy the dialogue. If you have more to contribute, please make a blog post and email [email protected] or twitter #dothraki with the link.

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This is a really interesting entry, thanks. I find it odd that the change-of-state verb samvolat, "to break", is in the same class as drivolat/addrivat “to die/to kill”; nithat/annithat “to feel pain/to cause pain”, and raggat/arraggat “to choke on/to choke”. Those all have different aspectual properties than break. You can choke someone for half an hour, but you can't kill someone for half an hour, for instance. Using diagnostics like prepositional phrases can illuminate a few things - and I'm interested to see if Dothraki diagnostics will show more about the nature of their verbs, and if the aspectual categories will change from our own, English ones. Does anyone know if this is the case? We've already seen that dothrolat is an activity verb, I think, and not a change of state verb - wouldn't it be interesting if the Dothraki had a verb that was the other way around? For instance, if a person 'rode', they suddenly changed their status in a change of state like way?

Just a rambling thought.

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