WASHINGTON - When HBO's "Game of Thrones" producers put out a casting call for the creation of a fake language, David J. Peterson rose to the challenge.
The job was to craft a new language for a fictional tribe of characters who live in the pages of the bestselling fantasy novel and on the screen of the award- winning television show.
The result: Dothraki, a language that eloquently illustrates the lives of Khaleesi and the people over whom she governs.
Peterson, a former English professor, beat out 30 other language creators in a linguistics casting call for the show.
"I'm doing what I love and what I would be doing anyway, except I'm getting paid," Peterson says. "It really is a dream come true."
Peterson says he had to start with the few words and phrases that "Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin provided in the books, building an entire vocabulary from it.
"He‘s never been much of a language guy," Peterson says of Martin.
Peterson developed the vowels, consonants, inflections and the complex words of Dothraki for the actors to learn.
But it is not just the actors who are speaking Dothraki. Peterson says he is amazed at the proficiency of his fans.
"If I ever make mistakes, they can usually spot them," he says.
"Game of Thrones" itself has a large fan base - 146 baby girls last year were named Khaleesi, after the popular character - but the Dothraki language also has a following. Dothraki.org teaches fans how to speak the language and provides Dothrakian dictionaries and tutorials.
So here's the question: Can you speak Dothraki?
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