The Mad Latinist (jdm314) wrote,
The Mad Latinist

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Ji pínda skókido ivetrágho "dragon"

Non-conlanging friends (if any of them are even still on LJ) may be getting bored of this, but nevertheless my Petersonian Valyrian study continues.

So, on Sunday the episode And Now His Watch Is Ended aired, with an absolutely amazing Valyrian scene (featuring both Astapori and High Valyrian). David J. Peterson's post (let's call it SUZKI) transcribes nearly the whole thing, which is fortunate because even with his help I'm despairing of getting my analysis done in time. And there is plenty of helpful material in this new post.

But in the meantime, we have a less conventional development: on Monday night, I attended an IRC chat with other Game of Thrones conlanging fans, including Najahho, and David J. Peterson himself. Over the course of the chat, we managed to get a few bits of new information out of Mr. Peterson, most importantly corrections to two sentences from the first episode of the season, and my first post. I'd like to say that it's incredible how much we got wrong, except it is, in fact, totally credible.

1. Girl or goat: ˣPíndau → píndagho

K: Skatála jankúvre píndau kúmau ufezíno
S: “Are you a girl or a goat to ask such a thing?”
I was already beginning to doubt the correctness of píndau, because we were getting no parallel forms, and in SUZKI, Peterson gives us Ydra ji Valyre? "You speak Valyrian?"

In fact, the line is Do zvagízi! Ska tála ja húbre píndagho kúno masíno. So the word I heard as ˣpíndau was, after all, just píndagho. I feel silly for having missed this because I was going on about the -gho infinitive a lot, and specifically how it seemed to have all the functions of the English infinitive. The English translation also has an infinitive, and you could use one in, say, French (pour poser une telle question); in Latin you absolutely could not, but we already knew that Astapori is much more like French than it is like Latin. I think I envisioned the sentence being constructed something like "(Being a) girl or goat, you ask such a thing?" which is, of course, absurdly and inappropriately Latin-like.

This also confirms that the 2s form is, in fact, -a (and Peterson even said this explicitly in the chat.) This has significant repercussions on my attempted analysis:
  • Au(t) and áwi are now much less likely to be 2s pronouns.
  • I had taken -a to be the ending for the second person plural. It is possible that Astapori, like Modern English, does not distinguish between 2s and 2p. But looking over the sentences in my second post which contain second person forms, I realize that it is just as likely that Missandei is addressing Kraznys directly, as the Good Masters as a whole (as I originally took it). If that is the case, we have yet to encounter the 2p form at all
This does, however, eliminate the ugliness of having the third person be -as ~ -is but the second -au ~ -a. On the other hand, it also makes it tempting to try to introduce symmetry by making the second person -a ~ -i, which we know cannot possibly be right, unless Astapori has lost entirely the distinction between the first and second person (possible, but unlikely.)

Other things we can now learn from this sentence:

Ska is the 2s form for the verb "to be," at least in nominal sentences (recall that I compared las to Spanish está, which I guess makes ska like eres.) In SUZKI we get Nyk skan jiva aeske! "I am your master!" If ska is a regular verb (a big if: it is a commonplace that the verb "to be" is irregular in almost every language), then perhaps we now know the 1s ending to be -an. We'll have to see if that holds out.

tála ja húbre is presumably "girl or goat." We'll need to look for other possible instances of ja, since "or" is such a common word.

kúno masíno "such a thing": For kúno, compare my Kúnu míty vezý, which I translated "What a softy, this one...," but of course "such a softy" would make just as much sense.

2. Dead Baby: ˣMorghízi → murghí zy

M: Píndas lughózi lamé galébo vá ji mhýsa zi arúgho morghízi
S: She asks if you pay a silver coin to the mother, for her dead baby.
Najahho had already suspected that the word division (and orthography) was actually zýa rúgho. Mr. Peterson confirmed this, and took it a couple steps further: the proper transcription is zýa rúo murghí zy.

The most important thing here is actually murghí zy. Recall that I was worried about my ˣmorghízi, because it seemed like -ízi was an adverbial ending. This solves that problem. But it also raises a fascinating new problem: Peterson explained that zy was a postposition, and that Astapori Valyrian "has a couple prepositions which are older; the newer ones are postpositions," and generally "mostly postpositions.... Couple prepositions." Najahho and I (and, so far as I know, everyone else too) have not even been looking for postpositons, so we're going to have to go over our previous work with that in mind.

SUZKI gives us another clue to this sentence, in Pindas lu sa sir tida "she asks if it is now done." This means we should actually read: Píndas lu ghózila me gálebo va ji mhýsa zýa rúo murghí zy. Some notes:

Lu is translated "if" in both occurrences, but we don't yet know if it can be used in independent clauses (i.e. in both cases we have so far, the word could also be translated "whether.") My suspicion based on the language so far is that it can, but note that we don't get it in Dó ghonísi sinágho si púji bivé, narejozlívis ji Ástapor "If they fail on the battlefield, they will shame Astapor." But recall that I had already suspected that translation was not literal.

ghózila "you pay": The verb stem ghoz- is not found elsewhere in my transcriptions, which is suspicious but not impossible. The form is of course that -il- pattern I discussed last post, and my theory still seems to fit here: "you pay" is not strictly present (it's not happening as she speaks) but timeless. Notice also the -a ending... obviously this is a second person form, and we are stuck once again with deciding if this is singular or plural. It seems particularly odd to use the singular in this sentence, but, again, there's no reason it couldn't be.

me galébo "a silver coin": Note me, the indefinite article, as we learned from me zaldríze "a dragon."
Tags: astapori valyrian, conlangs, david j. peterson,, game of thrones, irc, linguistics, valyrian
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