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Alar Morghulis

Alar morghulis means “all men must die” in the fictional language High Valyrian. The common response is valar dohaeris, which means “all men must serve.”

If you're a fan of Game of Thrones (and I have to admit, I binged the first six seasons during a cold and rainy winter here in Northern California), you know that there are seven main languages spoken fluently in the series.

I've always been fascinated by languages but I never gave much thought about where they came from or how they developed. Building a new language was an interesting concept for me. In A Song of Ice and Fire, the series that Game of Thrones is based on, the author George R.R. Martin, created some words and short phrases, including 'valar morghulis.' However, there certainly weren't enough nouns, verbs, adjectives to be used in dialogue that would stretch out over eight seasons.

A contest was held in 2009 to develop two languages: Dothraki and the High Valyrian. The winner was linguist David J. Peterson. He plunged into the task like a linguist might: thinking about history and what languages developed with different groups of people. Then he started with nouns, moved to verbs and on to sentence structure.

I heard one of the simplest explanations of the languages in GOT and how Peterson did what he did on The Grammar Girl. Check it out!.

Fonas chek One of the Dothrakian ways to say 'goodby' or 'hunt well.'

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