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The Boston Globe


The Word

Yes, writing languages for ‘Game of Thrones’ is a real job

David Peterson, inventor of Dothraki and Valyrian, may be the first professional ‘conlanger’

Sunday night, the HBO series “Game of Thrones” begins its fourth season of realpolitik-with-dragons. And perhaps no one has longed for a return to the corpse-strewn land of Westeros so much as connoisseurs of the show’s invented languages, Dothraki and Valyrian.

Over the past 30 years, Hollywood has become far more interested in getting languages right onscreen—even ones that are completely made up. An actor who once would’ve barked some gibberish is now given lines drawn from an entire alien language, with a complex grammar and vocabulary.

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