The New York Times takes a look at the fantasy world language trend and discovers that there is a method behind the madness of Klingon, N'avi, Thhtmaa (the language of the termite aliens from Dark Skies), and, of course, Game of Thrones' Dothraki. To explain the origin of that last language, the Times tracked down David J. Peterson, the 30-year-old linguistics enthusiast who created Dothraki, along with twelve other languages including Zhyler ("inspired loosely by Turkish") and Kamakawi. His method for Khal Drogo and friends? First: determine what words would be necessary to its speakers (Peterson nixed toilet and cell phone, but gave the Dothraki fourteen words for horse). Second: build a vocabulary, with emphasis on words that are "native and basic" (translation: words that don't sound like other words). Third: grammar! Peterson, for his part, "adored the 18 noun classes in Swahili and the negative verb forms in Estonian, both influences in his created languages. He scribbled sample sentences and added suffixes and prefixes to expand the vocabulary." And then, magically, he had 10,000 Dothraki words — still not enough to write one chapter of a George R.R. Martin book, but enough to scare people on HBO.
Most Viewed Stories
We'll Probably Never See Queen Elizabeth II Be This Sassy Ever Again
What’s New on Netflix: May 2016
Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd's Recreation of a Styx Music Video Is So Good, It Might Transport You Back To 1981
Behind Jamie and Claire’s Daybed Scene on Outlander
Watch President Obama's Wonderful Correspondents’ Dinner Speech
24 Outrageous Prince Stories
You'll Probably Need Aloe Vera For All of the Burns From Larry Wilmore's Correspondents' Dinner Monologue
What’s Wrong With Game of Thrones’ Dorne Plot?
Outlander’s Rosie Day on Suffocating Corsets, Time Travel, and Rape Culture
Man Thinks Amy Schumer Owes Him Photos if He Demands Them
Latest News from VultureTheater Review: Gillian Anderson Is an Inside-Out Blanche DuBois
With a fake Vuitton bag.Rent: The Oral History
Captain America: Civil War Is a Busy — But Uninventive — Blockbuster
Marvel has resorted to making its colorful superheroes fight one another.Terrence Malick's Voyage of Time Is Getting an Official Release After a 30-Year Production
Voyage of Time began production in the 1970s and has become one of cinema's great What-Ifs.Female Filmmakers Have it Just as Rough in Europe as They Do in Hollywood
The gender disparity problem isn't unique to Hollywood.Captain America Brings Freedom To Foreign Lands With $200 Million Overseas Opening
It's the 14th-best foreign opening ever.Mads Mikkelsen Wants to See Hannibal Return Just As Much As You Do
"We are all angry. We were pissed. It's madness."Radiohead Erases All Social Media and Their Website Has Faded to White; Is This an Anti-Viral Marketing Campaign?
The band seems to be deconstructing the notion of modern viral marketing to build hype for #LP9.Ringling Bros. Circus Will Feature Performing Elephants for the Final Time Tonight
Elephants have been a part of the circus for over 200 years.What, You Thought Carrie Fisher Wasn't Going to Bring Her Dog, Gary Fisher, to the Correspondents' Dinner?
The coolest pooch in the world.
His widow explains it in a new interview.Haim's Cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams' Will Have You Seeing Crystal Visions in No Time
Players only love you when they're playing Rumours.You'll Probably Need Aloe Vera For All of the Burns From Larry Wilmore's Correspondents' Dinner Monologue
"I've been watching CNN a long time. I used to watch it back when it was a news network."Watch President Obama's Wonderful Correspondents’ Dinner Speech
"Helen Mirren is here tonight. I don’t even have a joke here, I just think Helen Mirren is awesome."Outlander’s Rosie Day on Suffocating Corsets, Time Travel, and Rape Culture
"You're not taught about women's history at school. They rush over the hardships that women had to endure."Behind Jamie and Claire’s Daybed Scene on Outlander
"We wanted it to be special."Outlander Recap: The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover
Sorry, Claire: No dinner party is complete without a fistfight.The Girlfriend Experience Recap: Mirror, Mirror
A client's death brings Christine an enormous inheritance — with strings attached.A Teacher Thought It Was a Good Idea to Show The Human Centipede 2 in Class, But It Really Wasn't
Director Tom Six responded that the movie should be required viewing in all schools.We'll Probably Never See Queen Elizabeth II Be This Sassy Ever Again
Revel in the royal shade.