“As language creators, when you meet other language creators for the first time, it’s both exciting that you have people to talk about this with, and super disappointing because you realize you’re not unique.” –David J. Peterson
David J. Peterson is a conlanger who’s created languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World, MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles, and the CW’s The 100. David is also the author of his newest book, The Art of Language Invention, where readers can learn technical how-to’s and advice about inventing their own languages.
In our conversation, we get super technical about how David builds and constructs languages, the evolution of languages, why Arabic is David’s favorite language he’s learned, and we (of course) take a closer look at the Dothraki and Valyrian languages he invented for Game of Thrones.
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Fans of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones can now learn the Dothraki language. Written by David J. Peterson, who developed the language for the HBO series, Living Language Dothraki will arm you with enough vocabulary and grammar to have a complete conversation in Dothraki. Me nem nesa!*
The course includes a 128-page language guide and a one-hour audio CD featuring over 200 words and phrases, grammar explanations, cultural notes, a dialogue, and exercises for reinforcement. Containing words never before heard on HBO’s Game of Thrones or seen in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, this course is the ultimate Dothraki guide.
What You’ll Learn From This Episode:
David’s path that led him to become a linguist
- Why Arabic is David’s favorite language he learned and David gives us examples of how the language is constructed
- We dive into detail about how David’s hobby as a language creator led him to having a career as a professional language creator for TV shows like GAME OF THRONES
- Why language creators have been widely ridiculed and how David’s career in crafting languages is specifically helping to create a shift in perception
- David walks us through the incredibly meticulous amount of work that goes into building a language
- David explains why the verbal system is the most difficult, yet the most crucial, step in creating a language
How David’s book THE ART OF LANGUAGE INVENTION will help with language building
How to easily learn the beginnings of new languages through memorization and practice
- The differences between the low and high Valyrian language created for GAME OF THRONES
- David unpacks the evolution of languages
- What exactly is a ‘Conlang Community’?
- Did you know that J. R. R. Tolkien was a language creator before he wrote his high-fantasy books like The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? (ME NEITHER!) Learn why he’s held in the highest regard in the conlang community
Learn More About David J. Peterson
David J. Peterson is a conlanger and author. He’s created languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World, MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles, and the CW’s The 100. He’s also the author of Living Language Dothraki, and Penguin Books’ The Art of Language Invention.
David’s Recommended Books & Resources:
The Evolution of Grammar by Joan Bybee and Revere Perkins
Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariost
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev