https://www.duolingo.com/Dedalvs

Return from Inactivity

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Rytsas, raqirossas!

For anyone following the Incubator progress, you may have noticed that there's been an uptick in activity here this week. This isn't an accident. This is basically the first time I've had real free time since last…yikes. Basically, since the last time I was working heavily on the course, which was really during the filming of Bright October 2016 through February 2017 (I was on set between 8 and 14 hours a day with little to do, so I spent my time working on the course). During the early part of last year I was busy preparing a course on language creation I taught at UC Berkeley, then after that was done I had to finish this course (to the point that it was at when it released in beta) and get right on to other work. That work carried me up to this month.

As originally planned, I had two people who were going to work with me to build the course and be active in the discussion forum. That didn't pan out, as they stopped participating rather early on. I basically hired another conlanging friend to help me get to the finish last year, and we were able to complete 3/5 of the course by our deadline, at which point I was on my own again.

At the moment, I just have catch-up work and family life for the next month or so, so I'm going to try to get things back on track here before I busy up again. My prioritized goals are as follows:

  • (1) Finish the notes (only three to go!).
  • (2) Finish filling out words (I'd like six example sentences per word).
  • (3) Finish the final 2/5 of the course.
  • (4) Continue monitoring and fixing errors.
  • (5) Think about adding bonus skills.

A couple of things I wanted to note here:

  • Yes, there will be audio in this course. However I want to wait until the full course is complete. No point doing audio for 3/5 of the course only to have 2/5 of the course not have audio for an extended time. Rather get it all done in one go.

  • If you find yourself consistently marking an error on a question and it never gets fixed, it could be that I have no way of figuring out what error you're referring. For example, if the error is with the form exercise (the multiple choice thing), I have NO way of determining that by your report. Instead, leave a freeform report and tell me where the error is. That will help me find it. (Oh, and for the person talking about the apostrophes in the Genitive lesson, I don't know how to help you...? The apostrophes are there in my English translations and have always been there. I can't really do anything else. Sounds like a Duolingo technical problem. Go to Troubleshooting.)

  • As I'm preparing new skills, grammar-based skills are easy. Do you have any request for theme-based skills? These would be things like the Family, Sizes, Color or Animal lessons. Anything in particular (any themed vocab., etc.) you'd like to see in the last 2/5 of the course?

Thanks for taking the course and sticking with it! It's awesome, and I'm over the moon about it, but I've only got so much time.

tl;dr I'm the creator of High Valyrian, but I work a ton (many shows/movies/video games), and I have absolutely no help on this course. It will be finished, but I work for free here, so it will be when I get time. Kirimvose!

6/22/2018, 8:38:17 AM

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Greatscotteh
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On behalf of the High Valyrian community, we can't thank you enough for what you've done and what you are doing! Despite your absence on the course, the number of people interested in your language has continued to grow, especially here on Duolingo and on the Discord server!

I'm a huge advocate for open source projects so I can understand that sometimes you just don't have the time to work on something even if you want to. It's really exciting to hear progress is continuing, although it's a shame that you're doing this on your own.

I look forward to seeing what you add to the course, but take your time! I can't imagine the amount of work that needs to be put in to create a Duolingo course, and how much time it takes.

So again, thank you for all that you've done. We all appreciate and enjoy what you've created. You're (obviously) more than welcome to join us on Discord or Reddit (where most of us are active) if you have the time.

Hope you're having a good day!

6/23/2018, 8:58:36 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/StephieRice
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Exciting!

The only fix I think you may be able to do about the apostrophes depends on if you can disable cards for those and force them to be typing lessons. (I have many ideas about how Duolingo themselves can fix the issue, but it took them years to address a cheating bug I continuously pointed out, over 5 years. And their fix is just an avoidance now, they disabled screen rotation instead of fixing the fact that screen rotation during card excercises fills out your answer for you but I digress)

I don't have many ideas for themes yet, but maybe a "Ceremony" theme in which vocabulary for things like marriage, coronation and other Valyrian ceremonies.

P.s. This is the first time I have really had the chance to delve into your work and I find it amazing! Thank you for sharing your ability with the world and thank you for giving time to develop this course!

Kirimvose!

6/22/2018, 3:34:16 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Dedalvs
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Yeah, like, for example, the difference between cards and typing is something I didn't even know about until I went and took the lesson to see what was happening. It's 100% something we have absolutely no control over in the Incubator. Apparently this is a known issue, so I went and added my voice to it in the Incubator feedback section, but beyond that, there's nothing I can do aside from mass disabling all sentences that feature a plural possessive. :(

Great idea about ceremonies, but then we run into the same problem I've been having with the language from day one: We don't know what those ceremonies are like! I can create something, but George R. R. Martin may end up completely overwriting it in a future work. Because I want to remain faithful to his vision (since the entire universe is his conception), I've always left things like marriage ceremonies, funerals, etc. completely blank. We know a lot more about this type of thing in Dothraki culture than we do Valyrian, unfortunately. :(

Thank you for the feedback, though! Continuing to work!

6/22/2018, 7:02:13 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/ehartz
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Maybe you can create a category for ceremonies that talks about ceremonies we are familiar with in other cultures. Like, "In Westeros, the groom cloaks the bride during the wedding ceremony" or something like that? After all, we do know that the Valyrians had some interaction with the Westerosi (trading, selling Valyrian swords, etc.). That way, we can learn some words about ceremonies and celebrations without actually making incorrect inferences about what Valyrian ceremonies might have been like. (And we can all pretend we're Daenerys, having secret conversations with Missandei about the Westerosi around us that they can't understand!)

9/4/2018, 7:43:51 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/StephieRice
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Theme ideas:

Labor/Work (would include vocab related to discussing work/vocab of known vocations)

Judiciary (containing vocab related to potential sentences one may receive in a High Valyrian court, perhaps vocab related to reward as well)

Time (how to describe and discuss time in HV)

Geography (continents, geographic features, places of interest)

Science (no clue here, but any knowledge related vocabulary that might be deemed science or maybe magic. The vocab related to the way this culture collects and treats knowledge as well as perhaps some vocab related to important parts of that body of knowledge)

6/23/2018, 5:40:09 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/benulo
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Dear David, welcome back. We really appreciate everything you do for this course and High Valyrian, which is a wonderful language. Your work here is very precious, and we're ready to help in any way we can.

6/24/2018, 9:20:55 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/benulo
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Also in response to the discussion of possibly adding new skills, one of my desires for High Valyrian is to be able to speak it like I speak any other language, or at least write various things in it (obviously, it would take me a long time to reach that level), so one thing I'm keen on is some practical, everyday vocabulary/skills that you might find in other language courses, like skills about professions/work, travel, and basic things like that. Your course actually does provide a good basic vocabulary, and the course content generally being geared toward High Valyrian's most obvious use (fantasy/medieval themes, Game of Thrones references, etc.) is truly appropriate and I enjoy it immensely, but hope we can broaden the language's horizon. Not asking you to change what you're doing or do more work, but just letting you know what I like, lol.

6/24/2018, 9:29:15 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Dedalvs
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This is something I'll keep in mind. When it comes to a created language like this, though, one has to bear in mind that it has two realities: Our reality (the real one), and the fictional reality for which the language was created. It's the latter reality that I'm creating the language for. Consequently, modern vocabulary has no place in it. One can always create modern vocabulary and "Valyrianize" it (e.g. aeroplāna, a lunar noun that means "airplane"), but that's not vocabulary I would sanction as official part of the language I create, because it has no place in the fictional universe.

Having said that, you can say "I'm going to the market" in High Valyrian, and one is just as likely to say that today as one is in the fictional universe. I'll keep in mind trying to come up with skills that focus on phrases/words that work just as well in the real world. Thanks for the suggestion!

6/25/2018, 5:22:15 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Caelan_Jolley

So we could use lone words like aeroplāna for things not in the language? What about constructing new words from old ones?

8/11/2018, 7:48:49 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Caelan_Jolley

What about a skill based on nature. What's a forest in High Valyrian? Is it the same as a wood? Or do they mean the same thing in different sizes? What is the word for tree bark?

7/6/2018, 4:39:15 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Xenon-
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I recently started watching GOT(always late) and when I heard the languages I was thinking how nice it would be if I were able to learn those. So when I found Duolingo and saw that there was a lesson for Valyrian I was absolutely exhilarated! Thank you very much for all your work on the lesson making it possible to easily learn your language. I also found out with joy that you were also the one to have created the language of the Dark Elves in Thor:The Dark World ( I'm a big Marvel fan)! Are you planning a further cooperation with Marvel, maybe for the languages of aliens like the Skrulls in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie? As for a new words chapter I would suggest something for Science, substances, elements and so on!

6/30/2018, 10:28:43 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Njordisk
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Thanks for your hard work, it is truly appreciated. I would personally love some vocab related to the north (e.g. snow, winter, ice, long nights). It might not relate to the origins of the language, but considering where the show seems to be heading, it is not completely irrelevant.

  • Best regards from the (currently not so) cold Scandinavia
8/3/2018, 1:30:05 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Scurvy2

This is so much fun! Thank you for putting in so much effort! So, the real question, will there ever be a section on flirting in High Valyrian? I mean, how else do you win over the only other people in the place that speak it? ;) ~C

6/26/2018, 10:33:34 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Bobbybfat
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How about an "event" theme? Parties, feasts, ceremonies, rituals, ect. I can't even find a word for wedding on wiki.dothraki! I can't talk about red or purple weddings without the word for wedding!!! How did that one fall though the cracks eh? Anyway I think that would be a cool idea for some new vocab.

8/4/2018, 5:19:37 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Dedalvs
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Thought I'd respond to something here specifically. It's a difficult thing to work on the Valyrian language, since the culture attached to it is not my own, and is also not fleshed out publicly. There's a lot I simply do not know about what Valyrian life was like—and that includes, among other things, weddings. The result is the language can talk about a lot of generic things, but not a ton that gives you great insight into the culture. This is, unfortunately, by design, since I'm not the one that has the right to flesh out the culture. The only thing I can do is wait and see what George R. R. Martin releases.

8/4/2018, 5:33:54 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Bobbybfat
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Ah yes, that's gotta make this conlang especially tricky. Culture is so heavily integrated in language that the two walk hand in hand. You've explained this in your book; can't make too many assumptions when the author could change the whole culture on a whim. If George R R Martin doesn't reveal any new aspects of valyrian culture in future does that put building the conlang any further on hiatus??

8/4/2018, 8:22:49 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/xPsGoDWh
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I've been trying to find out if there's a Valyrian word for "dream", both noun and verb, as well as "prophesy/prophecy/prophet". I couldn't find any, so could you include those? I think they're kind of important for the setting, since there are so many dreams and prophecies.

Anyway, I really appreciate the work you put in here and realise this might not be possible. I wish I could help. I have the time, but unfortunately not the skill.

9/9/2018, 6:25:26 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Linguistfr
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For theme based skills, what about Geography? In "The world" skill, there are the Valyrian equivalent of the names of cities in Essos, but it'd be awesome to have the names of the the other geographical cities, regions, places, terms (like island) and features of the world of ASOIAF

10/1/2018, 7:00:42 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/FirstConan
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I'd love to see course teaching relativ clauses in HV.

10/13/2018, 3:27:05 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/ehartz
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I'm super late in seeing this, but I just wanted to add my voice and say that we all REALLY appreciate all the work you've put into this. I didn't even know that there would still be additions to the course and there would eventually be audio added, and I'm really looking forward to when that happens. I can't provide any suggestions about what I'd want to see because I'm still nowhere near unlocking all the things that are already there, but I will appreciate anything and everything you decide to add!

Kirimvose!

9/4/2018, 1:44:48 AM
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