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lynxx

High Valyrian

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Well, he certainly already has a big vocabulary (close to 1,000 words if I'm not mistaken)

666 as of now (no joke: http://www.dothraki.com/2013/06/kastamiro-daomior/).

Personally I am waiting for the translation of the letter Talisa was writing... it's pretty clear now there was no nefarious plot so it's probably just a nice letter back to Mom that's going to make me tear up yet again...

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I'm getting more and more intrested in this artificial language... my favourite Valyrian word is Jelmazmo (Stormborn)

another thing that I find particularly interesting is the similitude between these two words:

Dorzalty = unburnt

Zaldrizoti = dragons

David j. Peterson is very talented

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666 as of now (no joke: http://www.dothraki....tamiro-daomior/).

Personally I am waiting for the translation of the letter Talisa was writing... it's pretty clear now there was no nefarious plot so it's probably just a nice letter back to Mom that's going to make me tear up yet again...

Right you are! Thanks.

I'm getting more and more intrested in this artificial language... my favourite Valyrian word is Jelmazmo (Stormborn)

another thing that I find particularly interesting is the similitude between these two words:

Dorzalty = unburnt

Zaldrizoti = dragons

David j. Peterson is very talented

Nice catch there!

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I think an invented Valyrian language would be cool, but it probably wouldn't be connected to the Wean when they came to Wesave brought elements of Westerosi common tongue because the Andals who conquered the first men were not Valyrian. If anything Valyrian would have more in common with Dothraki.

But the Targaryen might have brought elements of Valyrian when they conqured Westeros, as William the Conquerer brought elements of French into English when he conquered England.

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I don't understand what's "Wean" nor "Wesave". Just let me tell you that a High Valyrian language has already been created by David J. Peterson, so it's a fact now, and well, certainly the jury is still out on the subject as to whether the Westerosi language is actually English or is represented by English and unknown.

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I'm more or less seriously pondering on learning High Valyrian. Although I have only very little spare time, which I'm mostly spending with learning Na'vi (still), and High Valyrian seems kind of hard to learn to me. But well, hence Na'vi is somehow not enough and Dothraki never really tempted me, and since I've heard the first Valyrian words and dialogues on the show, I kinda have fallen in love with Dany's mother tongue...

So... is someone around here who already started learning/trying High Valyrian?

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I'm more or less seriously pondering on learning High Valyrian. Although I have only very little spare time, which I'm mostly spending with learning Na'vi (still), and High Valyrian seems kind of hard to learn to me. But well, hence Na'vi is somehow not enough and Dothraki never really tempted me, and since I've heard the first Valyrian words and dialogues on the show, I kinda have fallen in love with Dany's mother tongue...

So... is someone around here who already started learning/trying High Valyrian?

I am, as it happens! The Dothraki/High Valyrian wiki (www.wiki.dothraki.org) is a great way to start. David J. Peterson's blog (www.dothraki.com) is also great for the source information, and more themed discussion of various parts of the grammar. I think it's a lot of fun, and I tend to get a bit obsessive about this stuff when I get into it. I have done translations of some "standard" texts, like the Lord's Prayer, The North Wind and the Sun, and the Sheep and the Horses, which has been really good practise. Alas, David J. Peterson will not be posting his language recaps this season, but we are a few people who try to decode the Valyrian in each episode. MadLatinist/Iustinius is sort of the driving force behind it all, and the results you can find on his blog (jdm314.livejournal.com).

Yes, I am. And also I'm one of the few collaborating with the High Valyrian wiki.

Cool! It's a great wiki, I've done some very minor contributions myself but mostly I just use it.

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Was that Ghiscari we heard the slaves speaking in Oathkeeper? Sounded much different from Valyrian, with a lot of "sh" sounds and fewer vowels.

No, it was Mereenese Valyrian, which just like the Astapori variant is a creole language of High Valyrian and Ghiscari. Essentially, the majority of the vocabulary and the basics of the grammar comes from HV. But the phonetics and phonology (sounds) of Ghiscari has had the most influence of the sound of AV and MV on it, as well as it having many borrowings from Ghiscari.

(And you are right, MV is full of sh, or rather, /ʃ/!)

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No, it was Mereenese Valyrian, which just like the Astapori variant is a creole language of High Valyrian and Ghiscari. Essentially, the majority of the vocabulary and the basics of the grammar comes from HV. But the phonetics and phonology (sounds) of Ghiscari has had the most influence of the sound of AV and MV on it, as well as it having many borrowings from Ghiscari.

(And you are right, MV is full of sh, or rather, /ʃ/!)

This is the most impressive bit for me.

It's a piece of obnoxiousness that the 'pro' comes in and disparages the obvious intention behind (e.g.) dracarys and sets about creating a language that is more grammatically than phonetically Latinate so that it sounds more or less completely wrong to the fandom. (He was right that breaking it down into dragon + fire would have implied a closer affinity to Chinese-influenced languages, but then the question becomes "so what"? It should have been more important that the roots related to the patently English Common Tongue and 'sound Latin' than that a clearly-defined ablative is still being used.)

At the same time, it's an absolute treat to see things like Valyrian loanwords popping up in Dothraki for items they would've picked up in trade from the settled (and Valyrian-speaking) areas or the well-defined dialects distinguishing each new area Dany marches into. When she did her 'big reveal' that she spoke fluent Valyrian to the slaver, she wasn't just speaking High Valyrian: she apparently also threw out his area's slang word for 'slave'... establishing she had understood everything he had been saying about her. Very, very well done.

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This is the most impressive bit for me.

It's a piece of obnoxiousness that the 'pro' comes in and disparages the obvious intention behind (e.g.) dracarys and sets about creating a language that is more grammatically than phonetically Latinate so that it sounds more or less completely wrong to the fandom. (He was right that breaking it down into dragon + fire would have implied a closer affinity to Chinese-influenced languages, but then the question becomes "so what"? It should have been more important that the roots related to the patently English Common Tongue and 'sound Latin' than that a clearly-defined ablative is still being used.)

At the same time, it's an absolute treat to see things like Valyrian loanwords popping up in Dothraki for items they would've picked up in trade from the settled (and Valyrian-speaking) areas or the well-defined dialects distinguishing each new area Dany marches into. When she did her 'big reveal' that she spoke fluent Valyrian to the slaver, she wasn't just speaking High Valyrian: she apparently also threw out his area's slang word for 'slave'... establishing she had understood everything he had been saying about her. Very, very well done.

Well, to be honest, the Valyrian Freehold never had any substantial impact on the culture or language of Westeros, simply because it never reached that far (not counting Aegon, since he didn't change that much either in those areas). Personally, I don't think GRRM had the intention of making dracarys a compund word - I think he simply thought "hey, what it is related to dragons and Latin?" and wrote down what came to mind. Everything else, such as the consistent endings of nouns/proper nouns point toward a language that inflects nouns by case, gender and number very consistently. For such a language, it is very rare to create compunds without case markers - and it would be very difficult to find any such markers in such a short word as dracarys. Just looking at the info in the book, the only possible division would be dracar - rys, and comparing with names such as Maekar, Rhaegar etc. that essentially means HV for some class of nouns does not mark the genitive, which is generally the last thing to go when it comes to cases. As David J. Peterson has states himself, analyzing dracarys as a compund would a huge effect on the entire language in a direction than would be very much unlike Latin or any inflected language.

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No, it was Mereenese Valyrian, which just like the Astapori variant is a creole language of High Valyrian and Ghiscari. Essentially, the majority of the vocabulary and the basics of the grammar comes from HV. But the phonetics and phonology (sounds) of Ghiscari has had the most influence of the sound of AV and MV on it, as well as it having many borrowings from Ghiscari.

(And you are right, MV is full of sh, or rather, /ʃ/!)

Neither Meereenese nor Astapori Valyrian are "creoles", they might have evolved from a creole or pdigin, but they are fully fledged languages by now. A creole is something else entirely. I would say that on the contrary, the phonology is basically Valyrian, it just retains some sounds that could represent a Ghiscari influence. This is a point to have in mind.

(He was right that breaking it down into dragon + fire would have implied a closer affinity to Chinese-influenced languages,

Just like how "dragon-fire" is so very Chinese-influenced? :p

Well, to be honest, the Valyrian Freehold never had any substantial impact on the culture or language of Westeros, simply because it never reached that far (not counting Aegon, since he didn't change that much either in those areas). Personally, I don't think GRRM had the intention of making dracarys a compund word - I think he simply thought "hey, what it is related to dragons and Latin?" and wrote down what came to mind. Everything else, such as the consistent endings of nouns/proper nouns point toward a language that inflects nouns by case, gender and number very consistently. For such a language, it is very rare to create compunds without case markers - and it would be very difficult to find any such markers in such a short word as dracarys. Just looking at the info in the book, the only possible division would be dracar - rys, and comparing with names such as Maekar, Rhaegar etc. that essentially means HV for some class of nouns does not mark the genitive, which is generally the last thing to go when it comes to cases. As David J. Peterson has states himself, analyzing dracarys as a compund would a huge effect on the entire language in a direction than would be very much unlike Latin or any inflected language.

I don't agree with any of this. Certainly it is a judgement call but there's no reason for what you say. First of all there's no hint at all of HV having "consistent endings of nouns/proper nouns point toward a language that inflects nouns by case, gender and number very consistently" as you say. In fact quite the contrary, Aerys is masculine, Daenerys is feminine. The only true point is that -lla and -a ending suffixes are reserved for females. Other than that, there's no consistent treatment at all and no hint whatsoever of cases, only that "valar" is supposed to mean "all men" in some way, but we have no singular.

and it would be very difficult to find any such markers in such a short word as dracarys.

If this were true we wouldn't have a word like rūs which means "baby" in High Valyrian. So this is not true at all, "rys" could have meant "fire" and nothing would be wrong there. It's just a judgement call.

Just looking at the info in the book, the only possible division would be dracar - rys, and comparing with names such as Maekar, Rhaegar etc. that essentially means HV for some class of nouns does not mark the genitive, which is generally the last thing to go when it comes to cases.

Again I completely disagree with this. I can think of a ton of ways to divide "dracarys", for example "draca + rys" but also could have been "drac + arys" and "drac + carys" (with loss of a consonant). This again is a judgement call, it depends on what you want to get. In fact if we compare with the names, as you say, I would think the idea is "dra-ca-rys" (cf. Mae-kar, Rhae-gar, Ae-rys, Dae-ne-rys, etc). This is totally unfounded. A compound doesn't need to use the genitive, and such a compound can be found in a language with genitive, just think of Old English hronrād "whale-road, the sea", in which "whale" is not in the genitive.

It is always a decision he takes out of many others. In fact compounds are frequent in Tolkien's elvish languages, which in many ways define the idea of the fantasy language.

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Neither Meereenese nor Astapori Valyrian are "creoles", they might have evolved from a creole or pdigin, but they are fully fledged languages by now. A creole is something else entirely. I would say that on the contrary, the phonology is basically Valyrian, it just retains some sounds that could represent a Ghiscari influence. This is a point to have in mind.

Just like how "dragon-fire" is so very Chinese-influenced? :P

I don't agree with any of this. Certainly it is a judgement call but there's no reason for what you say. First of all there's no hint at all of HV having "consistent endings of nouns/proper nouns point toward a language that inflects nouns by case, gender and number very consistently" as you say. In fact quite the contrary, Aerys is masculine, Daenerys is feminine. The only true point is that -lla and -a ending suffixes are reserved for females. Other than that, there's no consistent treatment at all and no hint whatsoever of cases, only that "valar" is supposed to mean "all men" in some way, but we have no singular.

If this were true we wouldn't have a word like rūs which means "baby" in High Valyrian. So this is not true at all, "rys" could have meant "fire" and nothing would be wrong there. It's just a judgement call.

Again I completely disagree with this. I can think of a ton of ways to divide "dracarys", for example "draca + rys" but also could have been "drac + arys" and "drac + carys" (with loss of a consonant). This again is a judgement call, it depends on what you want to get. In fact if we compare with the names, as you say, I would think the idea is "dra-ca-rys" (cf. Mae-kar, Rhae-gar, Ae-rys, Dae-ne-rys, etc). This is totally unfounded. A compound doesn't need to use the genitive, and such a compound can be found in a language with genitive, just think of Old English hronrād "whale-road, the sea", in which "whale" is not in the genitive.

It is always a decision he takes out of many others. In fact compounds are frequent in Tolkien's elvish languages, which in many ways define the idea of the fantasy language.

Grammatical gender has nothing inherently to do with biological sex, in fact, a much more common division of gender in the world's languages is animate vs inanimate. The name "Aerys" isn't masculine - the person given the name is.

But really, lots of monosyllabic roots (as you suggest) that you can put together into new words makes a language not remotely similar to Latin. Your comparison to Old English is not pertinent in my opinion; whether there are languages on Earth that make compounds doesn't really reflect whether GRRM wanted dracarys to be a compound of some sort.

Of course it is always a judgement call, I don't recall disputing that. I was providing arguments that DJP has laid out before and that I agree with. Any creative endeavour, including conlanging, involves creative decisions and neither you or I can claim some objective basis for our position.

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Grammatical gender has nothing inherently to do with biological sex, in fact, a much more common division of gender in the world's languages is animate vs inanimate. The name "Aerys" isn't masculine - the person given the name is.






Don't remember where I did this. You said the books were consistent about gender, when in fact they are not. There are just names, with no reference to gender other than the fact that names ending in -lla and -lle and occasionally -nne will be feminine (very Latinate, English-y). Then you talk about grammatical gender vs. biological gender which could not be in GRRM's mind since he's not that knowledgeable about languages. In fact some endings do suggest parallels: -nys/-nyra, -nya; we find that some endings only occur for feminine others only for masculine. We have Viserys, but Visenya, Rhaegar but Rhaella. It does seem Martin had in mind some endings that were indicative of feminine. What I mean by this is that there's nothing in the books that hints at the system DJP created, not that there's any problem with that, but your claims are unfounded.







But really, lots of monosyllabic roots (as you suggest) that you can put together into new words makes a language not remotely similar to Latin. Your comparison to Old English is not pertinent in my opinion; whether there are languages on Earth that make compounds doesn't really reflect whether GRRM wanted dracarys to be a compound of some sort.






You seem to believe Martin knew Latin and wanted to emulate it. In fact in the history of fantasy-writing Tolkien's Eldarin is a more plausible model, even if you are affected by it indirectly. And how did Tolkien call Quenya? The Elven Latin. Certainly it's a language that has the function of Latin in Medieval Europe, but the aesthetics of Elvish languages still have a lasting impact in what is perceived as "fantasy language of lore". I don't think he had imagined the whole thing or had a particular language phonotaxis, that's way too sophisticated and he said he knows nothing about languages, he's not Tolkien, he himself said it, not me.



I've never said there would be "lots of monosyllabic roots" having just a few is enough for -rys to appear. Latin has pēs "foot", ōs "mouth", rēs "thing", aes "copper", bōs "cow", mūs "mouse" (to list the most famous ones), and their compounds: bipēs "biped", aerifer, or how about centicēps "hundred headed"? And that doesn't make Latin any less Latin ;) There are hundred of ways you could have dealt with "rys" DJP just picked the one he liked the best, but there's no more reason for it than a different one judging by the books. Again I'm not saying this IS THE CASE, I'm just pointing out that you have no bases to think what you say so vehemently. It can be your opinion, but there's nothing other than opinion to support it, not the books.



My comparison with Old English is to illustrate that compounds do not mean that the language doesn't have a genitive, they just don't give you that information at all, so it is very pertinent.



You say this doesn't affect GRRM's idea about dracarys yet you say that this shows what the idea was? Make up your mind. To me it's quite clear that he wanted to evoke "draca" and "draco" and "dragon" and then added one of his "Valyrian suffixes" namely -rys (cf. Ae-rys [we have Ae-gon, Ae-ron], Vise-rys [we do have Vise-nya], Dae-ne-rys [we do have Dae-ron], Manta-rys). We can't assume anything from that one way or the other, that you like what DJP interpreted and then created is good, but don't say the books clearly show this because they don't.



DJP doesn't like compounds for HV, that's ok, but don't tell me the books say that. It's just interpretation. ;)



Note: Sorry if I sound too harsh, I don't mean to, but I wanted to make that point clear. Cheers!


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There's been a new post from David about the Valyrian language(s) worth reading:

http://www.dothraki.com/2014/05/the-state-of-valyrian/

Don't remember where I did this. You said the books were consistent about gender, when in fact they are not. There are just names, with no reference to gender other than the fact that names ending in -lla and -lle and occasionally -nne will be feminine (very Latinate, English-y). Then you talk about grammatical gender vs. biological gender which could not be in GRRM's mind since he's not that knowledgeable about languages. In fact some endings do suggest parallels: -nys/-nyra, -nya; we find that some endings only occur for feminine others only for masculine. We have Viserys, but Visenya, Rhaegar but Rhaella. It does seem Martin had in mind some endings that were indicative of feminine. What I mean by this is that there's nothing in the books that hints at the system DJP created, not that there's any problem with that, but your claims are unfounded.

You seem to believe Martin knew Latin and wanted to emulate it. In fact in the history of fantasy-writing Tolkien's Eldarin is a more plausible model, even if you are affected by it indirectly. And how did Tolkien call Quenya? The Elven Latin. Certainly it's a language that has the function of Latin in Medieval Europe, but the aesthetics of Elvish languages still have a lasting impact in what is perceived as "fantasy language of lore". I don't think he had imagined the whole thing or had a particular language phonotaxis, that's way too sophisticated and he said he knows nothing about languages, he's not Tolkien, he himself said it, not me.

I've never said there would be "lots of monosyllabic roots" having just a few is enough for -rys to appear. Latin has pēs "foot", ōs "mouth", rēs "thing", aes "copper", bōs "cow", mūs "mouse" (to list the most famous ones), and their compounds: bipēs "biped", aerifer, or how about centicēps "hundred headed"? And that doesn't make Latin any less Latin ;) There are hundred of ways you could have dealt with "rys" DJP just picked the one he liked the best, but there's no more reason for it than a different one judging by the books. Again I'm not saying this IS THE CASE, I'm just pointing out that you have no bases to think what you say so vehemently. It can be your opinion, but there's nothing other than opinion to support it, not the books.

My comparison with Old English is to illustrate that compounds do not mean that the language doesn't have a genitive, they just don't give you that information at all, so it is very pertinent.

You say this doesn't affect GRRM's idea about dracarys yet you say that this shows what the idea was? Make up your mind. To me it's quite clear that he wanted to evoke "draca" and "draco" and "dragon" and then added one of his "Valyrian suffixes" namely -rys (cf. Ae-rys [we have Ae-gon, Ae-ron], Vise-rys [we do have Vise-nya], Dae-ne-rys [we do have Dae-ron], Manta-rys). We can't assume anything from that one way or the other, that you like what DJP interpreted and then created is good, but don't say the books clearly show this because they don't.

DJP doesn't like compounds for HV, that's ok, but don't tell me the books say that. It's just interpretation. ;)

Note: Sorry if I sound too harsh, I don't mean to, but I wanted to make that point clear. Cheers!

I never said the books tells anyone anything about the grammar of High Valyrian. I was pointing how certain details of names etc. could be interpreted in a certain manner. I also don't see how I made my point "vehemently".

Please, do quote any instances were I have claimed to know anything at all about what kind of language GRRM intended HV to be. Just because I present points to support my argument doesn't mean I claim my opinion to be any kind of truth, which would be absurd and stupid.

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Everything else, such as the consistent endings of nouns/proper nouns point toward a language that inflects nouns by case, gender and number very consistently.

Here you say that the fact that we have Ae-rys, Daene-rys, Ae-gon, "point toward a language that inflects nouns by case, gender and number very consistently.". Which is quite impossible to gather from just the proper nouns and the "consistency" is really hard to tell from the only 1 plural noun (with no singular stated).

For such a language, it is very rare to create compunds without case markers - and it would be very difficult to find any such markers in such a short word as dracarys.

Here you say that compounds are rare for such a language, although most case languages do have compounds as I have demonstrated before. Also you say that it is difficult to find a marker in such a word as "rys" which contradicts even David's creating of many monosyllabic words, as the ones I have exemplified above. But just to remind you: rūs "baby", which even has the same number of letters.

Just looking at the info in the book, the only possible division would be dracar - rys

Here you state that "just looking at the info in the book" you gather how the word should be divided. There's no real evidence for this, the word could be split in many ways.

that essentially means HV for some class of nouns does not mark the genitive, which is generally the last thing to go when it comes to cases. As David J. Peterson has states himself, analyzing dracarys as a compund would a huge effect on the entire language in a direction than would be very much unlike Latin or any inflected language.

No, it only means that it does not use any case in compounds, as so many other languages do. In fact why couldn't the word for "Dragon" be "drac" and the genitive "draca"? That's just a random thought to illustrate that there's nothing you can infer directly from the look of the word or its length. No reason to think the genitive was dropped.

As David J. Peterson has states himself, analyzing dracarys as a compund would a huge effect on the entire language in a direction than would be very much unlike Latin or any inflected language.

How could this even be if Latin itself has compounds of this same kind and is an inflected language? Furthermore, Old English is also another inflected language and also has many compounds. So your conclusions do not follow from what you say.

David envisions High Valyrian not being too prone to compounding, but there's no "evidence" in the books and it's not "obvious" from the words. That's all I'm saying.

Cheers!

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