Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

David Peterson: Linguistic Evolution (extra credit)

Posted by vene131 on April 14, 2017

In the talk by David Peterson we learned a lot about linguistics and their evolution throughout history and how he relates that to making languages. Something I found interesting was that he plans out backstories for the languages that he creates. For example, on Game of Thrones there is a language called Valyrian that Daenerys speaks. Peterson says that when he helped create that he kept in mind that High Valyrian and Astopori Valyrian were different versions of Valyrian, like how Latin and Old Spanish are similar because Old Spanish came from Latin. The same can be said of High and Astopori Valyrian. He used the example of one scene in seasons three where this dude is basically calling Daynerys terrible things in Astopori Valyrian and he does not know that Daenerys speaks High Valyrian and can kind of understand what he is saying because they share words. So eventually she gives him a dragon in exchange for his army and the whole time he is calling her terrible names and all that. Well, plot twist she uses the word he uses for dragon instead of the one in High Valyrian to demonstrate that she understood what he was saying the entire time. Then she burns him alive with her dragon and it’s very lit (pun intended). But I love the fact that she used the word he used for dragon instead of her version as a kind of way to demonstrate her knowledge of the language.


3 Responses to “David Peterson: Linguistic Evolution (extra credit)”

  1. emilyfalicaa said

    I didn’t get to go to this because I am out of town so I’m super happy someone wrote on it. I haven’t watched all of Game of Thrones and I have only read the first two books. But I know this particular scene all too well and it is so kick ass. But I had no idea he went that far in thought process to create this moment. At the same time it makes so much sense. Since all dialect has a history such as Latin and Old Spanish it just validates the Game of Thrones languages and makes the whole series seem even cooler than it already is

  2. nathanpowers22 said

    Thanks for sharing! Like Emily, I wasn’t able to go to Peterson’s talk like I wanted (even though I haven’t even seen or read Game of Thrones). I also appreciate you talking about the connection between High and Astopori Valyrian because that somewhat answers a question I had for him about how etymology comes into play during his creative process, but didn’t have time to ask.

  3. emilychildress329 said

    I wish that I would of had the opportunity to go to this class!! I love the Game of Thrones. I love the language and the history behind the books and the movies. I think it is amazing to see the back story behind the amazing stories.

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