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Messages - Qvaak

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Introductions / Re: a couple little questions
« on: April 30, 2015, 02:21:40 pm »
Nem facilitates passivation. It's purely a grammatical particle, which does not have anything really similar in English (it's actually fairly exotic altogether, I think). That being said, in practice the way English auxiliary verb to be works in the passive syntax is kinda sorta analogous. The fact that nem isn't a verb is mostly a techical curiosity (just don't try to conjugate it or use it without a predicate verb). You'll have pretty good hang on how to use nem as soon as you understand what is a passive sentence. Unfortunately this has been surprisingly challenging for many of our less linguistically backgrounded learners.

Passive sentences we're talking of now are a grammatical class of sentences. If you just try to get a feel of how active or passive a sentence is, you'll get this wrong more often than right. "A house is burning." is an active sentence, and so is "She was sad." Compare to these passive sentences: "A house is being burned." and "She was saddened."

A large number of verbs can be used with subject - object relation (ie. they are transitive): X does something to Y. These can be passivised by leaving the subject unsaid: something is done to Y. In English you can re-introduce the doer-X-thingy in a sort of a footnote by adding by X (and incidentally Dothraki grammar offers an analoguous option). This is actually a great test to check if you have a passive sentence:

*"A house is burning by the angry mob." -> does not work, so "A house is burning." is an active sentence.
"A house is being burned by the angry mob." -> does work, so the sentence could be a passivised version of a sentence "The angry mob is burning the house."

"Lajaki kishi nem haji"
To be strong is not something you do to someone - it's just something that you do. Hajat is not a transitive verb. You need the "X does something to Y" so that you can remove X and still have Y.
[Incidentally, "Lajaki kishi nem ahhaji." would probably work even though we don't seem to have ahhajat confirmed. And of course you could, thus also expand to "Lajaki kishi nem ahhaji ki athvilajerari."]
"Jalan nem zheanae"?
Same here.


This is just a short and messy explanation. Wikipedia is your friend.


how to say "twice"?
Dunno. That probably isn't known by us. Akat kashi would be my quick guess.

Also, I'm really new to noun cases and have trouble understanding the difference between alienable and inalienable possession. For example, would you talk about somebody's children in genitive or ablative? Yalli anni or yalli anhoon?
I think the general feel of the distinction is that the inalienable "ownership" relation is profoundly defining to the object's very identity. Someone might cut off your hand and steal it away, but it will be forever your hand, not just by rights of ownership, but by definition. Dothraki has, though, a very narrow take on the concept of inalienability. Body parts are inalienable [I think achrakh was also inalienable, which makes sense], and pretty much everything else is alienable. I'm pretty sure even parenthood is not held in such and intimate standards. You can adopt children. Dothraki probably do, both forcibly and otherwise. I also think on our "contemporary Dothraki timeframe" alienability system has already degenerated to A fairly grammatical thing, so I guess ultimately it's more metadata stuff you just should learn with the words.

I also recall reading something somewhere about forcing words into Dothraki, but I don't remember what was said. If I'm talking about being from Oregon, would I say "anha dothrak oregonoon" or is there a different way to treat foreign words?
Ya. There actually is. Dothraki don't like to try to force foreign words to their iflection system, so they tend to leave them uninflected and use them with the vaguely generic preposition haji: Anha dothrak haji Oregon. This of course loses the information on whether you are riding to, from, or perhaps along Oregon, but you might add that information back by saying eg. Anha dothrak rhaeshoon haji Oregon.

I completely glossed over the issue of the exact meaning of ershe. It's quite likely old as opposed to young, and might not carry on to the idea of old as opposed to new.

Beginners / Re: Help with a translation
« on: December 08, 2014, 12:59:16 am »
Strange. This - or something close to this - comes up every once in a while, so I thought googling for an answer would be easy. Seems not so. There has to be DJP answer somewhere, but right out of my head the safest choice should be
Hash yer shili lekhes dothraki? or
Hash shafka shili lehkes dothraki?
latter being more formal way. That isn't exactly "Do you speak dothraki?" it's more "Do you know Dothraki?" More exact literal translation is more iffy, IMO, but goes:
Hash yer asti lekhes dothraki? or
Hash shafka asti lehkes dothraki?

Yay :) I get to do my thing. Which is, I'll comment on the Dothraki.

Old lyrical text is usually hard to translate. If the original text uses unnatural word ordering, incomplete sentences, dated expressions, subtext or rich metaphores, should the translation strive to replicate that, and how do you make similar effects without just making the translation grammatically broken and patently incomprehensible? It must be admitted, though, that easily translatable text is hard to come by. Natural dialogue with all the incomplete sentences, slang and fixed expressions is hard too. And as far as Dothraki goes, so is anything with modern vocabulary.

Jif ershe okeo vo vineserat
Should old friends be forgotten

Ershe should be fine. Okeo should be OK too. You could make educated guesses about 'to forget' - enesalat perhaps - but I like you simply going with vo + vinesarat.

Now, with these words "I don't remember old friends." would be Anha vo vineserok okeoes ershe. Adjective after the noun it modifies (as always), the verb conjugated and nouns and the adjective in appropriate cases (I hope). As it happens, the adjectival agreement is not explicit, and neither is the plural of "friends".

"Old friends are not remebered." is passivized version of the above sentence: the information about who does the not-remembering is discarded. Dothraki does passives in its own interesting way with a particle nem and with deceptively active-looking syntax: Okeosi ershe nem vo vineseri. Now the plural is explicit but the verb does not show the negative grade. Fun, eh?

The hard part is the "should". Apparently this is just a rhetorical question. I think we can assume that questions can be used rhetorically the same way as in English. However, simply fronting jif should not work (generally expecting to turn sentences into questions by fronting auxiliary verbs is expecting a lot). Jif is an auxiliary-verb-esque particle like nem, and though not too well undertood, serves a very limited role. I think "Old friends should not be remebered." would be Okeosi ershe jifim vo vineseri. (jif + nem is probably jifim) and turning that into a question would simply require hash: Hash okeosi ershe jifim vo vineseri.

vo dirge azhat
no thought to give

I think we can get a lot closer to "and never thought of" (is that a desired translation?) than that, but let's examine it anyway. It's unclear, how this would tie to the sentence above, so we have essentially a sentence fragment, and those tend to be vague. I think the basic idea might maybe work, though. Vo dirge seems sensible and probably needs no inflection here (accusative is the same as nominative and plural is categorically not marked). Using verb infinite might work too, maybe, but you might need to use it as if it were a noun, IMHO, turning this perhaps into vo dirge azhataan. That might be interpreted as "There are no thoughts for giving," or something like that. Or something not like that at all. An alternative try would be to use a noun athazhar instead.

I'd go with Majin nem dirgi avvos, which should be roughly "And thus never be thought of." There's room for second-guessing my choices on that, but I'd say overall that's a closer and safer direction.

haji ershe kashi
Because of old times

Ya. This should work, I think. Just put the adjective to the right place again and decline kashi as haji requires: haji kashoon ershe.

Followup questions?

Dothraki Language Updates / Re: The dothraki language wiki site.
« on: November 14, 2014, 08:29:25 pm »
Hey. I trust most of us have the book by now (shiny!). What do you think that should mean to the wiki? My initial thought was that it would not be right to copy stuff from the book to the wiki. Our wiki essentially exist to record and collect stuff in lack of a comprehensive official source. Now that I've read the book, I can say that there's little if anything completely new grammatical information. Some wiki stuff could probably be cleaned and clarified with careful comparison, and I think that probably would be OK, since wiki telling stuff confusingly or wrong isn't exactly good for anyone. I'm a bit sceptical if I'll end up doing the work, though. I'm just saying I support the idea.

But how about the vocab? There's certainly a handful of new words. Those I could add to the wiki's vocab page. I think the page (and the pdf version Hrakkar maintains) is still the most comprehensive word list, and it would IMHO be the right thing to do to keep it current.

General Discussion / Re: thanks for everything on this forum
« on: November 14, 2014, 08:10:59 pm »
Thanks for the thanks. Good to have new people here. Shieraki gori ha yeraan!

Beginners / Re: How do I Say "I hope I win"
« on: November 02, 2014, 07:28:45 am »
Anha zalak m'anha anajahak.
Would be a simple - and probably also correct and even the best - answer. You can always try to go fancy for more nuanced translations. Languages don't really map perfectly from one to another.

Generally, though, don't expect quick answers. We're here, but there aren't that many actives and the activity level of us so-called actives fluctates. Could easily take a week for someone to wake up and encage in conversation. Then again, now that the book is out and there's new stuff that would be good to discuss, I guess we might hope for a spike at activity. At least I hope to see a spike at my own activity :P

Introductions / Re: HELLO EVERYONE
« on: August 11, 2014, 07:33:35 am »
Hello there.
There are plenty of people you might want to talk to: me, Ingsve, Hrakkar, Mad Latinist, Sunquan ... even David J. Peterson himself. Possibly also some newer or less visible people.

Some reality check notes, though. People often have a bit off presuppositions.

1) Dothraki is one language, Valyrian is a family of closely related languages (or distant dialects) to which Dothraki does not belong to. We are more or less familiar with High Valyrian, Astapori Valyrian and Meereen Valyrian, but know that there are others, most notably the languages of Free Cities.

2) Valyrians and Dothraki are all developed by one person, Mr. Peterson. We here on the forum are not involved in the development (save for some random conversations and feedback that might have given an idea or two).

3) Fluency in a language is very hard to achieve, fluency in a not-even-fully-public conlang is a much harder goal still. Some newbies have fluency as their initial aim, some old ones hold it as a distant target, but mostly we have humbler or just different goals.


It's hard to go wrong on loquacious - lurkish scale. It's mostly rather quiet in here, so lurkers fit well into the mix, but more talk is much appreciated, so loquaciusness is good too.


Beginners / Re: 'ȳdragon' - 'to speak'
« on: June 24, 2014, 07:24:31 pm »
Ya. "Quptenkos Ēngoso ȳdrassis?" is not a question about what's happening now, but a question about a general fact, a capability, so aorist is needed.

Ji is an article (you'll sometimes see it elided to j'). Kraznys speaks Astapori Valyrian (, which is practically a different language - just close enough that it's not totally inconceivable that the unsullied and Kraznys understand Deanerys and Daenerys understands them. Note, for example, that Kraznys starts the sentence with the question word ydra, while in HV ȳdrassis comes at the end of the sentence.
Meereen Valyrian, on the other hand, is very close to Astapori Valyrian, but such murky and lossy dialect that Daenerys cannot follow it (and we too are having hard time).

Hrmph. I should really try to waken Mad Latinist. I know a lot about Dothraki, only little about Valyrians.

Beginners / Re: Conjugation 'to be' - sagon
« on: June 22, 2014, 07:09:31 pm »
Well, the conjugation page says with liquid ending -za is mandatory, so I think

1s  ilan
2s  ilā
3s  ilza

1pl  ili
2pl  ilāt
3pl  ilzi

Beginners / Re: Conjugation 'to be' - sagon
« on: June 21, 2014, 05:22:03 am »
Mad Latinist's Livejournal gives an answer:

    Where are my dragons? 

    Skoriot ñuhyz zaldrīzesse ilzi?

Only thing to note here, really, is that he's previously given this phrase as "SKORIOT ÑUHYZ ZALDRĪZESSE ISSI?!" Ilzi makes total sense: many language distinguish "to be {something}" from "to be {somewhere}," and this fits in well with the AV use of las (that's mostly used with adjectives, unlike HV, but cf. the YV for "Who goes there?", which, having reviewed the scene, I'm now thinking is "*Val konir las?") It remains to be seen if issa is incorrect in this context (aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus...), or if either alternative is permitted.

So ilzi is a conjugation of ilagon (

Announcements / Re: Duolingo Course Creation Tools Are Coming
« on: June 15, 2014, 01:59:39 am »
The situation is a bit curious right now. We have a big Peterson-made online course and a book coming in autumn, so we can expect our current incomplete knowledge to become obsolete, so jumping into a massive project like Duolingo course seems to me an ill advised effort. And when the course and book do come out, there is another question: are we interested in making a competing (and free) course. I think not. There's probably still room for fan material, but keeping a respecting attitude will become more of an issue. At worst even legality might challenged. Languages are not terribly well copyrightable, but cut&pasting lessons from Peterson's work won't do and when you have one authorative learning source, doing things differently ends up easily just intentionally degradating material, which is an ugly road to take.

That being said, I will at least consult, if people get their mind on doing this thing. I'm not sure, if I'll be directly involved. I'm already doing badly enough with keeping the wiki current and developing.

Beginners / Re: Place to Hear the Words?
« on: June 13, 2014, 07:37:54 pm »
Seems Mad Latinist just accidentally included a period to the link address. It should be

Beginners / Re: Random Translation Help: "Find Your Way Home"
« on: June 10, 2014, 02:52:04 pm »
You're welcome. A 'thank you' is enogh. I don't think karma is much used here.

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