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Want to Learn Dothraki?

You can give a toast in Klingon. You can read poetry in Sindarin. What fantasy language should you learn next? Dothraki, of course! Thanks to a new online course, Game of Thrones fans can now follow in Daenerys’ footsteps by learning to speak the language of the Dothraki horse lords.

 The Dothraki course is being offered by Living Language, a language learning company that offers written and online courses “using techniques originally developed for the U.S. State Department.” The Dothraki course was developed with the help of David J. Peterson, co-founder of the Language Creation Society, who developed the language for the Game of Thrones TV series and works as a language creator and “alien culture consultant” for other fantasy/scifi shows. Basically, he has one of the coolest jobs on the planet.

You can choose from two different course options, depending on your desired level of proficiency. The Basic course costs $19.99, and will teach you how to pronounce words in Dothraki, how to construct sentences and how to say 200 different vocabulary words. The “expanded” online course costs $30.00 and gives you 500 vocabulary words, as well as more detailed guides to grammar and pronunciation, more ways to practice and more information about Dothraki culture. Finally, students in the either course have the option to buy a companion app for their smart phone, though there’s no word yet on which operating systems will be supported.

In a press release, Peterson said,

“I’m thrilled to be working with Living Language to produce the first official Dothraki text,” says Peterson. “This book will take you from arakh to zhavvorsa in no time, and the audio samples will help you perfect your pronunciation. I often get the question, ‘When will there be a Dothraki guide I can buy?’ The answer is now, thanks to Living Language. Me nem nesa!”

If you want to learn Dothraki but you don’t necessarily want to pay for it, you can always head over to Dothraki.org, which has a full Dothraki dictionary, a wiki and forums available.

Photo Credit: Attribution Some rights reserved by PatLoika

3 Iconic Science Fiction/Fantasy Scenes That Gave Translators Fits

When translating, one does not simply swap one word for another. Writers choose their words carefully, combining characteristics like sounds, sentence structure and meaning to create different effects. Often, what works in one language simply doesn’t work in another, and translators have to come up with creative solutions that preserve the impact of the original words.

Here are 3 iconic moments from fantasy and science fiction that probably gave their translators fits:

Game of Thrones: Hold the Door!

**SPOILER ALERT**

You may have seen this collection of images floating around the interwebs this week.  It shows how Game of Thrones translators dealt with the death of everyone’s favorite gentle giant, Hodor.  Just in case you missed it: it was revealed that Hodor was originally an intelligent, articulate stablehand named Wylis. An accident of time travel gave poor young Wylis a vision of his eventual death in the show, fending off undead long enough for his young charges Bran and Meera to escape. The vision caused a seizure that left Wylis brain-damaged, endlessly repeating “Hodor!,” a contracted version of “Hold the Door!”

Obviously, this was not an easy scene to translate, as the equivalent words for “Hold the door!” do not necessarily sound like “Hodor!” in other languages.

For example, the Dutch translators had it easy: DRVuUJB

The Italian translators had to get a bit more creative, changing “Hold the Door!” to “Block the horde!”:

2nuEORs

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