UC Berkeley to Host Classes on Fictional ‘Game of Thrones’ Language

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By Ian Miles Cheong | 10:18 pm, April 28, 2017

UC Berkeley may not be a fan of free speech, but the publicly-funded university is more than happy to be hosting a class teaching a fictional language from Game of Thrones to students this upcoming summer semester.

The university announced that a class called “The Linguistics of Game of Thrones and the Art of Language Invention” will allow students to learn the fictional Dothraki language and how it came to be. The language’s creator David J. Peterson will be teaching the class for six weeks.

The course won’t simply revolve around the study of words and vocabulary, but on the creation and discovery of a new language.

Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo

The Dothraki language was spoken by Jason Momoa on Game of Thrones. The language is not fully present in the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R.R. Martin, but Peterson fleshed out the spoken language with a unique set of words and grammar for the HBO series.

In Game of Thrones, the Dothraki are a race of nomadic warriors whose leader makes Daenerys Targaryen, one of the show’s lead characters, his wife and queen. The Dothraki are based on real-world historical steppe cultures like the Mongols.

A UC Berkeley alum, Peterson earned his Masters in Linguistics at UC San Diego in 2005 and went on to develop the fictional language in 2009 for the HBO show using short extracts from Martin’s books. The fictional language now contains over 3,000 words. Peterson also developed Game of Thrones’ High Valyrian language.

Perhaps the university will allow Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos on campus if they promise to deliver their speeches in Dothraki.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.