The Mad Latinist (jdm314) wrote,
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Lōtintosy iderennī emilun

There was no Valyrian in last week's Game of Thrones. Nice to have a week off and all, but of course we can always find stuff to do. And of course the first matter is the name of the episode:
Ēlos Zȳho Brōzio
First of his Name

Now, right before the episode aired, there was that brilliant VALAR JAVARIS promo for Silicon Valley. I was sure they would put that promo online, but no luck finding it so far. When it first came on, I was totally fooled, thinking it was a real GoT promo, and that David J. Peterson had given them this verb javaragon "to code." Well, if it wasn't a real Valyrian word when they wrote it, I'll bet it is now! After all, Mr. Peterson liked that promo so much that he named one of his posts after it this week.

Oh right. Quite possibly the biggest news is that DJP posted two new entries this week! Given how long it's been since he's found time to post, even during GoT season this is pretty amazing. Then there was a major post on This blog entry will cover each of those three posts.

Now, in "Valar Javaris" (VJ), DJP gives us a translation of Dany's High Valyrian speech from Breaker of Chains (which I analyzed here, and a little bit about Meereenese Valyrian as well. But let's start with the HV.

Now, I'm going to assume you read my previous transcription, as well as DJP's, so I'm just going to quickly go over some of the interesting points, particularly stuff I got wrong.
  • Kostilus: OK, apparently "maybe" is just the familiar kostilus "be it possible," which we've previously seen as "please."
  • Yno bē pirtra: "Lies about me." I read this as one word, and somehow didn't get that the first three syllables were "about me." A silly mistake: it would not be at all like DJP to leave off those words. Although pirtra looks like a substantivized perfect participle, there is apparently no such word as *piragon

  • Daoruni: A while back I noticed a problem: on the vocab page I list the word for "nothing" as daorun, whereas on the pronouns page I list it as daoryn. I was totally baffled and had no idea which one was correct. Listening to this clip, it sounded like Daenerys said daori, which I took as evidence that daoryn was correct. Nope, this confirms it's daorun after all!

  • Daoriot jemas: I heard this as a passive jemaks but otherwise got it right. So the literal meaning is "it leads nowhere." Honestly I'm surprised that HV allows "lead" to be used this way: I would think it would require either a passive (which would be very Latin) or an "instrumentive" (my own term for what DJP calls the "instrumental passive") I would have really expected *ajemas. Perhaps we can (not entirely tongue-in-cheek) take this as evidence that jemagon was originally the applicative of emagon!
  • Mērī jemī ivestran It just occurs to me that this is another case of using ivestragon for "to speak," as was the case in Missandei's "Ivetrá ji Qohtenke."
  • Dohaertrossa gave us fits, but turns out to be just a substativized past-habitual active participle of dohaeragon. I really should have gotten this, if for no other reason than that DJP told us on IRC (July 8, 2013) that it was coming:
    Btw, there’s some hilariously opaque stuff in the S4 translations.
    Stuff I thought I would never, ever be able to use...
    …and which proved quite useful.
    Like a nominalization off of a past habitual passive participle.
    I may have missed this in part because he had also said (IRC, Oct 16 2013) that the PH participle was dohaertiarza (using that very example even!). It never occurred to us that this was the past-habitual passive participle, and there's a corresponding active participle (now known to be dohaertre) as well.
  • Hembar: I spelled this hempār, thinking there might be a connection to sepār "and (then)." I still maintain there may be an etymological connection, bit it's clearly not as direct as I had thought.
  • Mirinot: I spelled this Merinot, but close enough.
  • qrinuntys: recall that deciphering this word took a lot of effort. But we got it spot on. Great job, everyone!

  • jevor riñar: Since riña is lunar, I would have expected jeve riñari... no idea what we don't get this here. I suppose it's possible that riñar would sometimes be treated as a 1lun. noun (as sometimes happens to collectives), but even then we would expect *riñri (or something?) here.

  • laodissis ossēnīs: Papaya had the verb forms exactly right, but neither he nor I caught that there was no se here (figuring it was swallowed up between that final /s/, and the following initial vowel); instead we have "conjunctive lengthening" (like in perzys ānogār), something I really need to write about on the wiki.
  • boteri: exactly what it sounded like, not my verschlimmbesserung, *botaria. So what is the citation form of this? Is it maybe a collective *boter?

  • Se jevo qrinuntoti pōjor gūrotriri maghan: Recall that this line was so garbled that it took some serious teamwork to reconstruct it. I am proud to say we were damn near right on with Jevo qrinuntoti pojon gustarion maghan! Credit where credit is due: neither Zhalio, Joel W, nor I managed to figure out that word gūrotriri, but Joel's guess was hands down the closest to correct. Now what is this word, gūrotriri? Well, it appears to be the accusative of gūrotrir, the collective of gūrotir, the substantive of gūrota, the perfect participle of gūrogon. Gūrogon, at least in the reflexive means "to deserve." What does it mean when not reflexive? We'll return to that question later.
  • Nābēmātās!: all I can say is that this makes SO much more sense than ˣNēmēbātās!

The other thing of importance in VJ was that Mr. Peterson talked about Meereenese Valyrian. Some of what he said was directly in response to my own description of MV; he particularly contested my claim that it was like Portuguese to AV's Spanish, preferring to compare them to California and Scottish English. He said he was given specific instructions to make MV difficult for Dany to understand, apparently to set up a future scene. Well, I guess we'll learn more about the degree of difference and mutual intelligibility between AV and MV as we get more dialog. In the meantime, it raises a bit of a problem for the wiki, which I have described here. If you are reading this, please go participate in the discussion there, as I'd like to hear as many opinions as possible.

He also gave a couple of AV transcriptions:
Shka ma khurf. P’ashkesh she kraj waov.
“You’re a fool. The masters are too strong.”
For this phrase, he gave the AV equivalent as Ska me gurp. P’aeske si kotovi uvuve and the HV as Mittys iksā. Āeksia tolī kostōbi issi.. Honestly, I don't have the time and energy to go into full detail on this, and many of those details have already been incorporated on the wiki. But note the following:
  • Khurf, coming as it does from an original /g/, shows I was wrong about the velar fricative, as well as words of Ghiscari origin not changing as much. Oh, and note that while the AV is given as gurp, mitty also exists in that language.
  • P'ashkesh: as I had thought, kesh was just an idiosyncratic pronunciation. Note, however, that it's apparently always ashkesh, not ae-.
  • Kraj: another word of Ghiscari origin, corresponding to AV krazi, which I'm pretty sure is what Grey Worm was calling Dany when asking to challenge Oznak.
  • Waov is not from va after all, as shown by AV uvuve. This doesn't look too Valyrian, so presumably it's a Ghiscari word.

After this, he gave the MV for "Unsullied" as Thowoá, so we were pretty close.

Then, in a comment:
Yel mizozliwash. Erntash ye kosh shp’ashkesh.
“She will protect us. She defeated the Masters’ champion.”
No idea where erntash comes from, but he did confirm that kosh is not related to Dothraki. Other things worth noting: ye for ji, and shp’ for ez p’.

"The State of Valyrian" (SoV) is actually less relevant to this blog, because it's more about the sociolinguistics of Valyrian than the details of the languages. Most interesting to me, though, was that he did answer a question I'd long been posing: what do they speak in the empire of New Ghis? In short, Mr. Peterson believes it's likely to be another Ghiscari Valyrian dialect, albeit probably quite different from the mainland dialects. In discussing this with Najahho, I jokingly suggested that it was as different from AV as is MV, but in precisely the opposite direction. But there may be something to this joke, since this would be a perfect opportunity to have a dialect continuum.

Here is a rough sketch of what the family tree might look like:
   /| NGV
 MV ʌ
   / \
 YV   AV
Very rough, but a nice start.

Next we have the Making Game of Thrones entry, or rather entries, because it consists of two separate posts.

First of all, we have "Interview With Linguist David Peterson," in which we read:

HBO: Have you planted any Easter eggs in the show?

David Peterson: One of the biggest is from Episode 3 this season. There's a scene where the Meereenese rider is challenging Daenerys' champion. He's shouting and Nathalie Emmanuel [Missandei] is translating – but she's not translating what he's saying. He's actually saying a Low Valyrian translation of the French guy's insults in 'Monte Python and the Holy Grail.' That was [series creator] Dan Weiss's idea and it was so hilarious that I had to do it.

HBO: Have fans caught on?

David Peterson: They know that something's going on. Right after that episode aired, I was getting tweets like, "Is he saying a 'your momma' joke?" Close… But no, he's actually starting out with, "Your mother is a hamster." 

Well, ahem, not to blow my own horn, but I totally nailed it (as did ;) ).

Well, at least I was right about the first line. It didn't occur to me to try to apply that principle to the rest of the speech! That might have helped. But in any case, Mr. Peterson promises a full transcript will be forthcoming. If that comes to pass it will be awesome in its own right, of course, but it will also be a massive increase in our corpus of MV, especially our officially transcribed corpus! Given how off my own transcriptions have been so far, we desperately need some more official ones to work from.

Second of all, "High Valyrian 101: Learn and Pronounce Common Phrases gives us a wealth of new vocabulary and expressions. Let's take a look!
Where are my dragons?
Skoriot ñuhyz zaldrīzesse ilzi?
Only thing to note here, really, is that he's previously given this phrase as "SKORIOT ÑUHYZ ZALDRĪZESSE ISSI?!" Ilzi makes total sense: many language distinguish "to be {something}" from "to be {somewhere}," and this fits in well with the AV use of las (that's mostly used with adjectives, unlike HV, but cf. the YV for "Who goes there?", which, having reviewed the scene, I'm now thinking is "*Val konir las?") It remains to be seen if issa is incorrect in this context (aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus...), or if either alternative is permitted.

I will take what is mine.
Ñuhor līr gūrēnna.
Interesting, but not exactly surprising, that we have ñuhor līr instead of just ñuhon. But notice that gūrēnna, suggesting a citation form gūrogon! So apparently when gūrogon is reflexive, it means "to earn, merit, deserve," but when it is not it just means "to take." Compare also the verb gūrēñagon "to learn," which is probably the same verb with a derivational suffix.

What do we say to death?
Skoros morghot vestri?

Not today.
Tubī daor..
For previous discussion of this quote, see here. I've gotta say, I far prefer the "emphatic" kesȳ tubī for this sentence: tubī daor can mean either "not today" or "not by day"... but what we say to death should be kesȳ tubī daor "not this day!" On the other hand, DJP has been hinting since at least last october that he might not like kesȳ tubī here.

Also worth mentioning that this is more grist for the skoros vs. skorion mill, and confirmation that dat. + vestragon (as opposed to acc. + ivestragon) is a perfectly acceptable alternative.
The next several phrases are explicitly marked as "WHEN IN WESTEROS," something to which I will return later.

I would like a trial by combat.
Vīlībāzmosa iderennī emilun.
Emilun "I would have," another example of the desiderative use of the future subjunctive.

Iderennī is particularly interesting, because while it looks like the known word iderennon "choice," it cannot possibly be a form of it. The in seems to suggest "trial" is a fourth declension noun (so either *iderenne, *iderennes, or *iderennen). I don't think we've seen any words related in quite this way before.

Vīlībāzmosa: the instrumental represents the English quite literally, but notice that we've only seen vīlībāzma as "war" before, but apparently it can be used more generally for "combat." This makes sense, because etymologically it seems to mean just "fighting."

More pigeon pie, please.
Tolī rhūqo lōtinti, kostilus.
Tolī "more": a familiar word, but a new meaning (we previously knew it as "above; after; too")

Lōtinti "pie" could suggest a noun of the 2lun., 2sol., or 5lun. paradigms, but 2lun., *lōtinty seems by far the most likely. Papaya points out that this could very plausibly be a substantivized perfect participle, suggesting a verb *lōtī̆nagon, which could mean somthing like "bake," "fill," or heck, maybe even just "make a pie."

Rhūqo "pigeon" is problematic, because -o suggest nearly any paradigm whatsoever. But Joel (ibid.), points out that *rhūqes is likely, simply because so many animal names belong to that paradigm. This is a good guess, but still just a guess because there are many exceptions. I guess HV recipe names use a "genitive of substance" or the like... Latin is very inconsistent in what it uses in this context, but generally either de or ex, so I bet you could get away with hen in HV as well. That would prevent some "Girl Scout cookies" problems.

The night is dark and full of terrors.
Bantis zōbrie issa se ossȳngnoti lēdys.
This one actually came out the same way as last time.

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.
Skorī dēmalȳti tymptir tymis, ērinis iā morghūlis.
Skorī: this confirms that skorī may be used relatively (as opposed to interrogatively, e.g. Skorī dēmalȳti tymptir tymis? "When do you play the game of thrones?"

tymptir tymis: looks like tymagon takes an accusative. Latin ludere usually takes an ablative (equivalent too an HV instrumental). HV is not Latin, but that seemed like precisely the sort of detail they might share.

ērinis: aha! So that's the "Erin-word" in HV.

You know nothing, Jon Snow.
Daoruni gīmī, Ionos Sōnaro.
Ionos: Nice! He didn't just go with *Jon and make it 6th declension. Given our difference in philosophy with respect to names, I am pleasantly surprised to see this! It would, however, be nice to know what the lexical form is: Iono? Ionos? Ionor? Ionon? In theory it could be any of those (though the first two seem by far the most likely).

Sōnaro "Snow": interesting. Zhalio and I had speculated that it woudl be Sōno. DJP went with the collective instead, which makes sense in terms of treating "snow" as a substance, rather than a specific object, but on the other hand sōnar also means "winter" (in fact, we knew this long before sōna "snow.") This gives double meaning, I suppose, to Sōnar Māzis: "Winter is coming" = "Snow is coming," just like the fan theories about visions in Game of Thrones/a Song of Ice and Fire, that snow stands for Snow.

A Lannister always pays his debts.
Lannister va moriot zyha gēlȳnī addemmis.
Va moriot "always": literally "to the end."

Addemis "pays": I'd love to analyze this into separate components, but no luck with that so far. (Obviously tempting for me to think of Latin adimō, which actually means "take away; destroy," but comes from emō "buy." Equally obviously, that has nothing to do with this.)

Gēlȳnī "debt" is, funnily enough, the paucal of gēlion "silver." This shows, by the way, that the paucal for -ion nouns is not in fact ˣ-iun as I had previously suggested, but -ȳn (totaly logical, but it hadn't occurred to me.)

Seven hells!
Sīkudi nopāzmi!
I really wonder what the nop- in nopāzma means. I'm a little surprised this isn't an accusative of exclamation, but those are often slippery anyway.

I love you.
Avy jorrāelan.
We've had this one for a while. I'm not sure why it gets a present tense rather than an aorist, though, since of course it's more romantic to present your love as a general fact of the universe, rather than as a present state. I know DJP puts a lot of thought into things like this, so I wonder if he has something in mind here.

Will you marry me?
Ao ynoma dīnilūks?
Oooh, interesting. For a number of reasons.

Ao "you," an emphatic nominative.

Ynoma "with me," a comitative! For whatever reason, true comitatives (as opposed to instrumentals that happen to look like comitatives) seem to be really rare in HV... I think this may even be the first time we've actually seen one.

Dīnilūks: First of all, the form: 2s future passive subjunctive, presumably another desiderative subjunctive. Thing is, what does this dīnagon actually mean? Here's where it gets particularly fascinating:
  • We have the HV verb nādīnagon "to remove (at least in the context of a helmet)" So perhaps dīnagon means "to put on?"
  • In his address to the Meereenese slaves, Grey Worm says something that sounds like Yn dinan kizi ez jim for "But I promise you." So perhaps dīnagon means "promise?" Matrimony is, after all, a sort of oath.
One possible way to reconcile these two meanings is that it actually means "to bind": you "unbind" a helmet, and you get "bound" in marriage? If that's correct, the literal translation would be "Would you be bound with me?"
(Yes = Kessa. No = Daor.)
The real surprise here is that there's any word for yes at all:
I didn’t actually intend for there to be a simple word for “yes” in High Valyrian, but of course there ought to be in Volantene.
I would have expected the "yes" to just repeat the verb: dīnilŭks "I would be bound," but perhaps that was too long here. And while Latin is similar to HV in terms of not having "a simple word for 'yes,'" it has plenty of ways to get around that, so it's not too surprising that HV does as well. My theory is that kessa is a contraction of something like kesir issa "it is this thing." We've seem what is likely a similar contraction in AV as well: Kraznys says Ivetra ji live Vesterozia kisa eva vaneqo."Tell the Westerosi whore she has until tomorrow." I suspect that this kisa is similarly kizir sa "this is [the case]."

One last thing:
Happy Birthday
"At this stage, we simply don’t know enough about the customs of the ancient Valyrians for me to guess how (or if) they would celebrate birthdays," David Peterson explains, "so I can’t come up with a plausible way of saying 'happy birthday' in High Valyrian."
Well, I think the bigger problem is that we don't know a lot about how birthdays are celebrated in post-Valyrian Essos. High Valyrian is, after all, an international language, and needs ways to express things that were not part of Valyrian culture, just as Latin has accepted words for "mosque" (meschīta), "gun" (sclopētum, or just scloppus), and "bell pepper" (capsicum or capsica).

But we do know a little bit about birthdays in Westeros. And it is supposed to be routine for Westerosi nobles to learn High Valyrian (at least in the books; it seems much less common in the show); Mr. Peterson has tacitly acknowledged this by including a section of phrases for "WHEN IN WESTEROS." So perhaps the question should be rephrased this way: how do you wish a Westerosi (who happens to know HV) a happy name day? Even if "name days" aren't celebrated in Essos, surely the Westerosi themselves would have come up with an expression to use in HV, just as Europeans came up with feudum for "fief" or clavicymbalum for "harpsichord," without being too worried what the Ancient Romans would have thought.
Tags: astapori valyrian, conlangs, david j. peterson, game of thrones, high valyrian, linguistics, meereenese valyrian, valyrian
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