Linguist Who Developed Game of Thrones Languages Coming to Ames

May 7, 2019

This conversation originally aired on February 8, 2018.

In the process of inventing a fantasy world, sometimes characters need a whole new language. And that language can bring so much more to the story than just acoustic flavor.

David Peterson

"The moment you create a word, it assumes so much about the world where this language is spoken," says David Peterson, the linguist who developed the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO's Game of Thrones.

"If you create a word for book, it assumes that whoever speaks this language has the concept of a book, has a writing system, has a history of literature, has a publishing industry, has binding and binding practices."

In this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe talks with Peterson about his work on Game of Thrones, and his written and spoken languages for Thor: The Dark World, SyFy’s Defiance and Dominion, and The CW’s The 100 and Star-Crossed.

Peterson presentation is titled “The Art of Language Invention,” and it is in Ames at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.