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.
Trending Video on Vulture
Most Watched on Vulture
Most Viewed Stories
Will & Grace, and Jack & Karen, Are Back With a New Scene About the 2016 Election
This Is Us Recap: Let’s Twist Again
Vulture Asks: Which TV Couple Do You Anti-Ship?
Atlanta Recap: Black Bieber
The Best TV Couple of the Past 30 Years, Round One: Homer and Marge vs. Don and Betty
In a Tale As Old As Time, Timeless Creators and NBC Are Sued for ‘Ripping Off’ the Show’s Format
Seth Meyers Breaks Down How Trump Supporters Think He Performed in the Debate
Bruce Springsteen’s Memoir Beautifully Dissects His Own Masculinity
Every Current Suspect for ‘A’ on Pretty Little Liars, Ranked by Plausibility
Let Seth Meyers Give You the Play-by-Play of the First 2016 Presidential Debate
Latest News from VultureAnne Heche Was So Committed to Throwing Real Punches Filming Catfight That Her Hand ‘Exploded’
She'll think twice before punching anything again.Emily Blunt Will Make Her Saturday Night Live Hosting Debut Next Month
Miranda Priestly would be so proud!7 Suggestions for Future Dan Brown Books, and Inevitable Tom Hanks Movies
If you ever need a ghostwriter ...63 Times a Very Excited Bruce Springsteen Used ALL CAPS in His Memoir
He gets VERY excited!Felicity Had TV’s Greatest Love Triangle, But No Great Couples
While this trio made for great TV, as couples, they were terribly boring.Billy on the Street Season 5 Trailer: Lupita! Aziz! Jon Hamm! Ahh!
Dollar bills for everyone!Watching Intervention Taught Emily Blunt How to Play Drunk for Girl on the Train
"Fascinating. Heart-wrenching. It makes you weep."Jennifer Lopez to Stand in Judgment of Our World’s Best Dancers on NBC’s World of Dance
As she should.Sith Lord the Weeknd Fully Embraces His Dark Side in ‘Starboy’ Video
No robots, I'm afraid.The Best TV Couple of the Past 30 Years, Round One: Philip and Elizabeth vs. Lena and Stef
You can feel how much these two couples care for one another through your TV screen. They just show their love in very, very different ways.
Origin is coming in 2017.HBO Delivers High Maintenance a Second Season
The Guy returns.Stephen Colbert Regrets That Polite Trump Interview He Did on The Late Show
"Being nice to a guy who isn’t nice to other people, it doesn’t serve you that much.”Mr. Robot Creator Sam Esmail on How He Handles Criticism of the Show
"Everyone was bummed out [when people figured out the twist] because we were still shooting and everybody on set was like, Oh shit, this is fucked up."Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs Is Classing Up Black-ish With Some Francophilia
Like Thomas Jefferson, he's back from France.His Name Is Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hosting SNL Is Just One of the Million Things He’s Doing
Joined by musical guest Twenty One Pilots.Playlist: The Songs Bruce Springsteen References in Born to Run
The deep cuts and classics.Garth Brooks Now Has More Diamond Albums Than the Beatles (or Anyone)
The Ultimate Hits from 2007 is his seventh 10-million seller.A Roundtable Discussion With the Transgender Talent Behind Transparent
"[Being trans] is something that happens and we don’t really know why. And we don’t have to know why. It’s a part of the human experience."Jon Favreau Is Directing a New Lion King, Because the Circle of Remakes Moves Us All
It will include songs from the original film.