"Muña Zaldrīzoti Dovaogēdī sindis."

Translation:The Mother of Dragons is buying the Unsullied.

July 17, 2017

This discussion is locked.


The sentence looks ambiguous to me. If one sees Muna Zaldrizoti as a set expression, I suppose it is clear, and perhaps the capitalization should tell one it is a title, but since we have usually seen genitives coming before the thing possessed, I don't know why one would not just as likely read it as "The mother buys the dragons' Unsullied."


I think this is intentional ambiguity - all natural languages have some. You could understand it as a cultural artefact, as who in their right mind doesn't know about Muña Zaldrizoti?


That could be, but that would be an odd intentional ambiguity. In my reading of languages that are both highly inflected and have fluid word order, such as Latin, writers tend to avoid such ambiguities, unless they truly are intentional. That is most usual in poetry, either where both meanings would be true and interesting or even better when one of the readings would be true, but shouldn't be said, because it is salacious or scandalous in some other way. It would be wonderful if Mr Peterson or Mr Martin use the possibilities of the language in that way. This course even had me thinking I might read the books (my wife has been recommending them for years), until I found out that Mr Martin doesn't actually use very much Valyrian in the books. Maybe I'll try the novellas.

Of course, what is really going on here is a formulaic expression (Daenerys Jelmazmo, Muna Zaldrizoti, Collector of Epithets), though you see that formulaic order, it seems to me, more often in titles (King of the Andals and of the First Men, etc) than you do in epithets. Old English kennings get collected like this, of course, but I don't think they are usually so formulaic.


In HV the modifier-noun (prepositive) order is normal, and the noun-modifier (postpositive) order is marked as elevated, literary, formal etc. This is intentional. For example, in Game of Thrones season 3 episode 4, the Mother of Dragons keeps a poker face while a Low (Astapori) Valyrian speaker profess a torrent of abuse right in front of her, ending with:

Sa tida. Pelos ji lony. J'aspo eza zya azantyr.
It is done. She holds the whip. The bitch has her army.

Ivetrá j'aspo, zya dyni do majis.
Tell the bitch her beast not to come.

Notice prepositive order, regular in LV. But she then surprises him by revealing that she could understand every word of what he said:

Nyke Daenerys Jelmāzmo hen Targārio Lentrot, hen Valyrio Uēpo ānogār iksan. Valyrio muño ēngos ñuhys issa.
I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyria. Valyrian is my mother tongue.

Notice that both orders occur, but postpositive is present in key, marked focus parts, lending to it a classical, imposing tone: Valyrian is the mother tongue of mine.

Now compare this with season 4 episode 6, when she is trying to calm down a terrified peasant:

Zūgagon daor, ñuhys raqiros. Skoros ynot epilū?
Fear not, my friend. What ask you of me?

I don't think this is at all implausible. I speak Portuguese and meu amigo ("my friend") and amigo meu ("friend my") are both natural possibilities, with the latter being marked as special or elevated, just like in HV.

George Martin isn't into linguistics, and there's almost nothing for linguistic buffs in the books. The language part is show-exclusive; which is a shame, because the books are IMO far superior in every other regard. Still, Peterson's work on the show dialogue is (as illustrated above) stellar.


Thank you, that makes wonderful sense, and it really shows the care and thought Mr Peterson has put into the language. I really do not read much contemporary fiction (I have been intending to read Orhan Pamuk's My Name is Red for years, but never gotten around to it), but if I start, these books will definitely be on the list. I must say, though, that the distaste for slavery in a clearly hierarchical, dynastic society really grates, especially since so much of the show makes sense.


It is ambiguous, when simply written down, so I have gone ahead and accepted all possible translations where zaldrīzoti is grouped with Dovaogēdī. Something to bear in mind is that sentences like these are never ambiguous when they're spoken aloud. Now that audio is being added to the course, I feel a little disingenuous accepting answers that don't work with the audio, but I know not everyone listens to the audio, so it can't be helped.


When you say that the sentences are never ambiguous when spoken aloud, is that because the context would be apparent, or because of some nuance of the pronunciation of the sentence?


Rytsas raqirossas jorrāeliarzus! Good to see more readings about High and Old Valyrian here. I would like to add a little info. ;)

The infinitive form of the verb is: sindigon

sindigon ['sindigon]

perfect: sindita

v. V-fin. [High Valyrian Verb Tables: Vowel-final] to buy

Example sentence:

Dohaeriros istin, sindita liortā, qilonta ozbartā. — I was a slave once, bought and sold, scourged and branded.

From Dothraki Wiki


This is a great part of the show, which I assume was equally good in the books, although am not there yet


The show dropped the ball repeatedly and disappointingly, but this one scene they adapted very well.


True, and true, but the main flaws in the show popped up once they had to right it themselves. It was adapted pretty well.

Learn High Valyrian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.