How does the protagonists of the Game of Thrones speak?

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Waiting for the sixth season of the Game of Thrones to begin, Babbel, the company behind the popular app for learning languages, has done research on the origin of Dothraki and Valyrian, revealing the secrets behind the languages that we hear in the film but that he did not invent George RR Martin.

Dothraki, andalo, Valyrian: in books written by George R.R. Martin composing the A Song of Ice and Fire that inspired the Game of Thrones, there’s no trace apart from a few words or phrases and dialogues are given mostly in English.

Unlike then, of what was done by Tolkien for his world (but Tolkien was a philologist and linguist), then the words we hear in the movies were not invented by the author of the novels.

Who invented thus the language that we hear in the TV series? The unveiled Babbel, the company that makes the popular app for learning languages. It all stems from a need purely “cinematic”: to give a feeling of greater realism in the film was in fact necessary that the characters speak in certain contexts, a certain language, to seem more credible.


The Dothraki is the first language invented for the Iron Throne and is spoken by the nomadic peoples of the central plains of Essos: looks like the Russian, with many sounds that recall the Arabic languages. The actual historical correspondent seems to be the Mongolian spoken during the era of Genghis Kahn (XII-XIII century).


This language was invented by David J. Peterson, linguist and co-founder of the Language Creation Society. A curiosity: the first version of the Dothraky language was written on a small portable children’s Winnie the Pooh.


It is the common language spoken in most of the continent of Westeros, where he does most of the story, and in fact introduced by Andali, a population coming from Essos, about 6,000 years before the time in which the stories are set.


But obviously in a period of time so vast it could not remain true to itself, so it has evolved into a spoken franca language even outside of Westeros and, within the same continent, in different variations, or dialects.

The ancient language of the first men


The ancient language is the most widely spoken over the barrier, especially from free people, but there are also various dialects, as claimed by Mance Rayder.

The writing system is based on runes, based on those used by the Germanic tribes. The Giants speak an extremely simplified version of this, called “Mag Nuk” (lit. “Big tongue”)


Own language of the Dead’s Army. In this case, however, there was no need to invent it, but everything was solved with the sound effects: in fact Martin books is described as “the cracking sound of the ice is broken” and so was also made in the series.



High Valyrian

In the books, the language is described as “liquid.” One invented for the TV series has four kinds of grammar where the names are characterized as lunar, solar, water or land. Once dominant language in Essos, ceased to be spoken 400 years ago, after the destruction of Valyrian kingdom, surviving only among members of the upper classes, such as the Mother of dragons, Daenerys Targaryen.


Low Valyrian

This language, also known as “bastard Valyrian “, seems to be actually made by a family of dialects, each of which representing a low variant Valyrian. The evolution of the language seems to be similar to that of Latin, which, with the passage of time, has split into various Romance languages we speak today (and thus equal all the low variety Valyrian).


This is not just a language, but only a “communicative approach” formed by the single word “Hodor”, and is spoken by Apunto same Hodor, the servant of the house Stark whose real name is actually Walder.


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