Valyrian and Latin
So, as I’ve been studying High Valyrian, I’ve gotten a very Latin vibe from it. The nouns appear to be declined for case, the usual - though by no means only - word order is S-O-V, and the verbs seem conjugated as often as they do in Latin. Is this reasonable, or am I reading into things? If it isn’t nonsense, are the genders basically just Declensions? Finally, if they are Declensions in disguise, is there a set of principle parts and endings by case?
If you haven't seen it already, you might want to look at the declensions page on dothraki.org: https://wiki.dothraki.org/High_Valyrian_Noun_Declensions
For a (my) quick overview of a way to look at High Valyrian declensions:
In general (but not always) in the nominative singular:
- Lunar nouns end in a vowel.
- Solar nouns end in an -s.
- Aquatic nouns end in an -r.
- Terrestrial nouns end in an -n.
Each of the first five declensions is based around a different stem vowel. In general, the stem vowel of the declensions is:
- (foreign words)
So, the gender and the declension of a High Valyrian noun are presented as two different things, although (as the page linked to shows) the genders can be seen as breaking the declensions down further. Let's briefly look at that.
Not all the combinations of gender and declension have had examples yet. Ignoring the subtypes (see the linked to page for these), there are 14 different combinations (so far) for the first five declensions, rather than the full 20 that is possible:
- -a -ar
- -y -ys
- -o -os -on -or
- -e -es -en
- -i -is -ir
(Which is 5 charts for lunar nouns, 4 for solar, 3 for aquatic, and 2 for terrestrial.)
A perusal of the charts on the linked to page should show you what unifies (with some little variations) the cases across the declensions and genders (and numbers).
It's meant to fulfil the role of Latin in the world of ASoIaF/GoT: it's the language of a bygone powerful civilisation that had major cultural impact on the Western civilisations of the world. So, it's completely intentional.
Ghiscari is meant to fill the role of Arabic.
Common is rendered as Modern English in the show, but probably meant to be closer to Old French in its usage.
Dothraki is, of course, ASoIaF/GoT's Mongol language.
Wouldn't be surprised to hear characters from Asshai and beyond in an eventual spin-off speak a Chinese-sounding language.
Haha yeah that would be really cool. The name Yi Ti just sounds so oriental..
It is if you just use Duolingo but if you supplement the course on this site with the Dothrawiki pages on High Valyrian then it's much easier... Also get a friend to do it with you so you can be cryptic language nerds together :D
this is old but i figure I might as well answer why HL seems similar to Latin, Peterson mentioned in his book " The Art of Language Invention" that HL was essentially the Latin of Game of Thrones, he specificly didn't model HL after Latin, but he took a lot of cues and ideas from it.