The Mad Latinist (jdm314) wrote,
The Mad Latinist

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Limás, Hāedus (Rūgilō daor!)

MORE LIKE <i>VALAR LIMASSIS</i>Just when you thought you'd recovered from last week's "The Rains of Castamere," I come to post about it. Don't worry; we'll be staying far away from the Red Wedding. About 3,500 miles, in fact.

First of all, this week's post  by David J. Peterson, Kastāmiro Daomior (KD). Let's start with our weekly review, then we'll deal with the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin podcast, and finally (as usual) last week's dialog.

But, one more note before we begin: as my sister is getting married next weekend, it is highly unlikely I'll have the next analysis by Sunday. Since there is no new Game of Thrones episode for 41-or-so weeks, I guess that's not that big a problem, but it seemed worth mentioning.

  • I forgot to mention last week, that according to SHVI the 1pl and 3pl endings in the subjunctive are not, in fact, ˣ-ī and ˣ-osi, as one might expect, but -oty and -osy respectively. This explains the rather strange soty in yn vali soty daor. Now that I think of it, zūguksy probably represents the 3pl aorist passive subjunctive... though I'm not quite ready to give my my complicated gaomilaksir/lerrasky theory just yet. By the way,  "passive"  may not be the right term, as DJP says the verb system was at least partially inspired by the Austronesian alignment. It is difficult to analyze this statement, as we've seen so few examples of HV passives, but we'll have to keep it in mind as we get to know the verb system better.
  • There is such a thing as a future participle in HV. Not that that's a surprise. Note also the information on nominalizing participles. This future participle formation is surely the origin of AV gimiláros, apparently "trainees," which makes good sense if it's from gīmiláros "one who will know." That post, by the way, also confirms the existence of the negative nā- prefix, which I had previously proposed. I don't know what exactly the difference between nā- and do- is just yet.

  • The High Valyrian word for "woman" is ābra. Recall that I transcribed the AV word as ápra, but now that we have this information we can be fairly certain it's ábra. In the collective, ābrar, it can mean "humanity," which is interesting, since Mr. Peterson has called the common use of valar in the same sense "chauvinist."
  • There are at least thee HV words for "life": glaeson ("the most common," and the source of the form glaesot we've seen before), glaesor ("slightly more abstract"), and abrar. I have to wonder if this is the same word as ābrar "humanity."
  • As an aside in a post about the phrase valar limassis, we learn that the word for "little sister" is hāedar, and its vocative is hāedus (just like vala valus). Interesting, though, that hāedar appears to be in the same declensional paradigm as valonqar.
  • Prūmia means "heart." I had previously speculated, incorectly, that it meant "husband." So update those sentences to "... and of my heart that is true," and "a heart which {verb}s for...." Perhaps "beats"? At any rate, a full translation of the letter will be coming out soon, possibly today or tomorrow.


The more I hear that HV demonstratives are straightforward, the less cetain I become. We have seen at least three demonstrative roots: bis-, kes- and kon-. Mr. Peterson has said:
It’s actually fairly straightforward. Demonstratives distinguish between: (1) proximal; (2) distal; and (3) interrogative. In those three groups, each distinguish between: (1) animate and (2) inanimate. This is not tied to gender (after all, an adjective will agree with any noun in gender). When these are formally nominalized (i.e. given nominal endings), there are two sets of nominal endings. The deictic pronouns take either a lunar (more individuative) or aquatic (less individuative) ending, and the interrogative pronouns take either a solar or a terrestrial.
I am not entirely certain exactly what this means, but RCA's theory is a good start:
  • bis- is a proximal animate demonstrative ("this person/animal")
  • kes- is a proximal inanimate demonstrative ("this thing")
  • kon- is a distal inanimate demonstrative ("that thing")
  • RCA doesn't deal with the interrogative demonstratives, but it seems a fair bet that they begin with skor-

Does this theory hold up? Here are the examples we've had so far:
  • Bis-:
    Bísi váli ī́lvyz zentýssy íssi "These men are our guests."
  • Kes-:
    kesro sẏt lanta iksan "for this I am two"??
    Belmúrtī ivestrā́s késir pṓnte jiōrínna "Tell the Slavers I will receive them here."
    Méntyri ídañe jévi ivestrilātā́s keskydóso gáomagon "You shall tell your fellow soldiers to do likewise"
    Késys óndor ávy sytilī́bus daor. "You should not have this power."
    Késir gī́mī "You know this."
    Késo gláesot iderḗptot daor. "You did not choose this life."
    Késy túbi jémot dā́ervi tépan. "I give you this day your freedom."
  • Kon:
    se prūmio ñuho konir drejior issa. "And of my heart that is true."
    Kónir ságon kóstos daor "That cannot be."

Not bad overall. Of course even if it's right we need to get to work on the genders and cases. And we will see, below, that this is still problematic in AV.

Phonology & word formation

The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show

As I mentioned last week, Mr. Peterson gave an interview on The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show podcast. Here are some things we learned from this interview:
  • Dubys means sibling. Peterson gave this word as an example of an Easter egg: he coined it after "Dubu," his pet name for his little sister. Amusingly, though, the word means "sibling" in general, not specifically "little sister" (which, as I mentioned above is hāeda)
  • Some fans do correct Mr. Peterson's grammar in his own conlangs. Mr. Rubin found this shocking. Clearly it would be terribly rude, and reflect an unhealthy level of obsession, right? (nonchalant whistle)

Some larger points:

Mr. Peterson finally explained what Razdal mo Eraz mutters as he storms angrily out of Dany's tent. Recall that the transcript he gave us was "Inkan undagho buna gundjabo jorydrare evi rungo pulgarinko." In the podcast he gives a very circumspect paraphrase for what this means:
"The fellow that is walking away refers to, uh, refers to Daenerys as a very particular type of prostitute, um, one that would primarily work with, uh… perhaps the 'out door' of the, um, intercourse process, if I could put that as vaguely as possible…. And he also indicates that her skin is probably not as cleanly as it ought to be."
The "very particular type of prostitute" would, of course, be a gundjabo, from gundja "ass." Since Yunkai specializes in "pleasure-slaves," this is presumably the word which Peterson said "could be unique to Yunkai...." I'm guessing jorydrare is a participle from a continuative verb referring to whatever kind of filth Mr. Peterson means to refer to, and evi rungo must mean "on the skin." Pulgarinko is, then, an adjective describing the skin.

For fun, the podcast had fans vote on challenging sentences to give Mr. Peterson to translate ex tempore during the show. The winners were "I am the goddamned Batman," and "Marge, this may be hard to believe, but I'm trapped inside two vending machines." Now, since Mr. Peterson was translating on the fly here, and could not even confirm my transcriptions, because he didn't save his translations, anything that follows should be taken with a grain of salt. But there's plenty of information to be gained nevertheless.

For the first sentence we have the obvious problem of how to say "Batman." Now, Mr. Rubin had already asked that his name be made into a High Valyrian word, so at this point he quipped "I'm just throwing this out there, maybe Batman can be rubin." Mr. Peterson laughed, and retorted "Maybe bat can be rubin!" So if you see a similar word in the future, you will know the backstory. Eventually Mr. Rubin suggested he just say "Dark Knight." Of course the next problem was how to say "goddamned," a problem which Peterson solved with a well-known pre-existing word:
Drakaro Azantys Zōbrie iksan!

The next sentence was a bit more involved: "Marge, this may be hard to believe, but I'm trapped inside two vending machines." Mr. Peterson thought out loud a good deal while he was composing this... in particular, he was uncharacteristically interested in Valyrianizing the name "Marge," I guess just for the fun of putting it into the vocative.  He also let slip that lanta means "two," which confirms I was on the right track in transcribing the AV word for "twenty" as nalánta; on the other hand, it makes kesro syt lanta iksan in Talisa's letter all the more mysterious: "for this I am two"? I suppose there are ways to make sense of that, but for the time being I'm assuming we have it wrong. His final translation, and gloss, were:
Mā́rjys, ávy pā́silō daór, yn lánti liorárot qrī́vielan.
"Marge, you will not believe me, but I am wrongly placed with respect to two selling machines-or-objects"
This sentence merits the word-by-word treatment:
  • Mārjys: I take this to be the vocative of *Mārjy, which is, after all, a viable form of the name in English (also, cf. Daenerys's nickname Dany, which could very easily be HV as well.)
  • ávy: "you," acc.s., is probably meant to be ýne "me," acc.s., unless we have misunderstood something. Mr. Peterson was translating on the fly, and, while checking his files, quipped "What is…. I'm asking you here, what's the accusative for the first person singular pronoun?" I have a feeling that in his hurry to produce an answer with as little dead air as possible, he may have just looked on the wrong line. Aliquando bonus dormītat Homērus, as Mārjys can tell you.
  • pā́silō daór: "won't believe," 2s fut.act.subj. Zhalio hears a short o here, and, as a German speaker, his perception of vowel quantity is likely to be better than mine. But we expect a long ō here, so my first assumption would be that Mr. Peterson just didn't pronounce it perfectly on the spot. Of course we've seen other cases where the future doesn't look quite like the equivalent present form, so that's always a possibility
  • yn ... qrī́vielan: "but I am wrongly placed." Zhalio hears qrīvýelan (reading y instead of i because otherwise it would form a diphthong), but I'm pretty sure I hear the stress falling on that initial ī.  Peterson muttered the word "pejorative" as he was translating, and that seems to refer to this word, most likely the prefix qrī-. Zhalio ingeniously points out the similarity to qringṓntan "I failed" (this requires there to be at least two allomorphs: qrī- and qrin-, which is definitely within the realm of possibility, but we would need to figure out the conditions). I would also add qrīdrughā́s "throw away!"
  • lánti liorárot: "with respect to two selling machines-or-objects." Peterson confessed on the show that he had to use this circumlocution because he had not yet coined the word/grammar for saying "inside of" in HV. I take liorárot to be a dative (if it were a locative, he would likely have said "at" or the like, rather than "with respect to"), which implies that this is a third declension noun (o-stem). His circuitous gloss suggests that the gender is either terrestrial (*lioráron? *liorárion?) or aquatic (*liorárior?) Note that in SHVI he gives only an -ior form for the participle in both the aquatic and the terrestrial, so that form is more likely. But he's also indicated that participles, like demonstratives, get different endings when they're substantivized so -(i)on may still be a possibility. Note as well that the dative of lanta appears to be lanti... this is odd, but then if you think a High Valyrian numeral will have a predictable ending, you haven't been paying attention.


Nearly all the Valyrian dialogue occurs in one scene, where Daenerys and her court discuss strategy. Daario proposes a plan, but Jorah is suspicious, so it falls to Grey Worm to decide whether or not to carry it out. Interestingly, it seems (KD) that as the scene was originally written, Dany asks Grey Worm what he thinks, then gives him some advice on leadership. At some point after Mr. Peterson sent in his translations, they decided to rework the scene so that Jorah asks Grey Worm what he thinks (in "Common"), then Dany translates for him. But, although the subtitles have her repeating Jorah's sentiment, the line she is giving is still the advice rather than the inquiry. The subtitles, therefore, do not quite match up to the dialog, so I've had to include Peterson's glosses.
Daenerys: (Jéntys Dovaogḗdyro syt íksā. Skóros otā́pā?)
DJP: (“You command the Unsullied. What do you think?”)
This is the line that ended up being given to Jorah, so it was actually spoken in "Common." But Mr. Peterson was nice enough to provide us with his original High Valyrian version.

íksā: "you are" (AV ska)

Jéntys: "the leader." We've previously seen this word in the accusative, jénti. Now that we have the nominative we know that this is a 2nd declension solar-type noun.

Dovaogḗdyro syt: "for the Unsullied." Syt: "for," which triggers a genitive. Dovaogḗdyro "the Unsullied," gen.col. Interestingly, every other time we've seen Dovaogḗdy in HV so far, it's been in the plural. I speculate that this is because Dany was previously addressing them as individuals, but here's she's mentioning them as a group. In much the same way one might speak of a commander "of the Army" (azántyro), but when addressing the men, you might say "Soldiers!" (azantýssys) but probably not "Army!" (azantýrzy).

Skóros "what," acc.s. I still don't have a handle on the different forms of this word. So far we've seen Skoróso jemḗle brṓza "what is your name?", and Skórion mássitas "what happened?"

otā́pā: "(do) you think," 2s pres.act.ind. Apparently an a-stem, so we would expect the infinitive *otā́pagon. We will see the AV equivalent below.

D: Lo jéntion mírre nūmā́zme ḗza, iderénna qópsa vérdagon íssa.
DJP: “(If leadership is about anything, it’s about making hard choices.)”
Subtitle: “You are a leader now, do you trust him?”
Lo: "If" (AV lu). Our first actual example of this word in HV (though we had previously seen it as part of the word lodaor "otherwise"). Note that all our examples of AV lu were in indirect questions (in other words it could be translated "whether.") Now we know that, at least in AV, it can be used as a straight conditional in direct discourse (i.e. cases where it cannot be translated "whether.")

jéntion: "leadership," nom.s. The third declension terrestrial-type -on seems to be common in verbal nouns (e.g. vaoréznon "favor," obū́ljarion "surrender," gláeson "life"), so it seems to make sense to use it to form an abstract as well.

ḗza: "has" 3s pres.act.ind. (AV éza). We have seen this a couple times, but don't know much about the verb. The 1s pres.act.subj. appears to be émon, though it is possible this is another verb entirely. But for the verb "to have" to be irregular would not be surprising, so perhaps the root is *em-, and instead of the regular ˣem·as, what we get is *em·za*en·zaḗza, with compensatory lengthening.

mírre nūmā́zme: "any meaning." Mírre "any," acc.s., presumably the lunar form. Nūmā́zme "meaning" (or somethign like it), acc.s. We have already seen this word in nūmā́zma íssa, which was translated "you mean," but which I speculated literally meant "is the truth" or "is the real meaning." This new example points to the latter meaning.

íssa: "(it) is," 3s pres.act.ind.

vérdagon: apparently "to make," pres.act.inf.

iderénna qópsa: "hard choices," I don't believe we've seen qópsa before. Iderénna is probably "third declension," that is an o-stem noun, as these regular seem to have a nom./ in -a (e.g. bélmon "chain," pl. bélma; ā́eksio "master," pl. ā́eksia). My guess would be that the lexical form is iderénnon, like the other verbal nouns I listed above. However something more seems to be going on here, because the root for "choose" is *iderēb-, impying something like *iderēb·non iderénnon. The same suffix might be seen in vaoréznon "favor."

Grey Worm: Odabán sko ydrás drejikýdho.
DJP: (“I think he is telling the truth.”)
Subtitle: “I trust him”
Odabán: "I think" (HV otā́pan)

sko ydrás: "That he speaks."  This is the first time we've seen ýdragho/ȳ́dragon "to speak" outside of the context of speaking a language. I mention this, because Zhalio raised the valid point that one need not use the same word for "speak (e.g. valyrian)" and "speak (e.g. the truth)". We no longer have to worry about that possibility.

drejikýdho: "truly." It turns out we have in fact had this root before, although I didn't reognize it: the word I transcibed drepor in Talisa's letter, as Zhalio pointed out, is actually drejior. Presumably there it means "true," or "truth." We then have the -kydho suffix we've previously seen in skókydho "how," HV keskydóso "in the same way," and so on.

As a bonus, here is my attempt to render this same sentence in HV: drejikydóso ȳ́dras otā́pan (or, possibly, ȳ́dros, if Grey Worm is less certain.)

This is all for the tent scene, but we do actually get one more line later in the episode: when Daario approaches the "back entrance" of Yunkai, the guard on duty challenges him:
Guard: Bálkor ílas(???)
Mr. Peterson did not give us this one, so it's just my attempt at a transcription. It's really quite iffy, I'm afraid. But in any case, the meaning of this is pretty clear: it must be equivalent to "Who goes there!" Of course there's no guarantee that's literally what it means. For example, in French the equivalent expression is qui vive "who lives?" (or, more likely, "long live who?").

Ílas could conceivably be a stronger form of las "is," though we have generally taken that to refer to states. The same word shows up as well in geros ilas "fare well," but we don't know what that literally means (geros is presumably related to geron "walk" as in "walk of punishment.") "Go" might admittedly work in that context.

Bálkor, if I'm hearing that right, does not look to me like anything we've seen before. If it means "who," that is somewhat unexpected: we would expect something related to sko.

Limás, Hāedus (Rūgilō daor!)
Mazís, mazís va aōhȳ dubȳ (Morghūlilō daor!)
ñuhi belma pryjā́s, Hāedus (Zūgilō daor!)
Prūmia dubomy issa (Ossēnilō daor!)
Tags: astapori valyrian, conlangs, david j. peterson, declension,,, game of thrones, high valyrian, jeff rubin jeff rubin show, linguistics, valyrian, valyrian wiki, verbs
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