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A Language Note: From Middle-Earth to Westeros

A Language Note: From Middle-Earth to Westeros
By Olga A.


Fantasy languages are in a realm of their own – far from being contrived gibberish invented for the sake of carrying along the story plotline (although of course I could point you towards a few examples of exactly this), there are genuine and sophisticated, albeit invented, tongues that presumably are spoken by the peoples of realms as diverse as Middl-earth and Westeros.

Whether you were a somewhat obsessed linguist at school, like myself, or hated the rigmarole of French lessons at nine in the morning with a passion, there is something truly delicious about a fantasy language. Perhaps because the author wished to make it more mellifluous (or on the contrary, darker and harsher) than any known language. I remember rather envying the actors on the set of Lord of the Rings movies, having learnt that they had proper language coaches to teach them the basics of the Elvish tongue (Quenya, presumably).

Although we do associate fantasy languages primarily with Tolkien’s universe, there are reams and still more reams of other imaginary tongues – beautiful, scary or funny, whatever you like. Of course, the wintry expanses of Westeros are no exception!

The article below gives an amusing overview of the Dothraki language, with which all ye devoted Game of Thrones fans would be undoubtedly familiar! Sounding vaguely like a hybrid of archaic Arabic and of the Dwarf language in the LotR, it is a far cry from the watery lilt of the Elven words. And this makes it all the more fascinating.

For the original article, see here.

About the Contributing Reporter: Olga A.
Hailing from the swirling mists of London, I am a freelance journalist in my free time, and a huge fan of J R Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” as well as an admirer of the “Game of Thrones,” a worshiper of H P Lovecraft, a follower of R. Howard, a Star Wars aficionado and an Ursula Le Guin enthusiast. My other favourite things include Middle Eastern dance (sometimes somewhat discourteously referred to as “belly” dancing), Yoga, sunsets over the dreaming spires of Oxford and plush owls. Oh, and green tea too.


About reuben

Steve, also known as “Rifflo”, is a University MBA Administrator in Ontario Canada where he lives with his wife, Lisa and two young daughters, Alexa and Ava. Steve has an extensive background in corporate sales. Steve also worked for ISAF: International Security Assistance Force and the Canadian Military as a recruiter in Human Resources for the operations in Bosnia and Afghanistan. When not immersed in Tolkien works,sci-fi, and film, you can find him training in Muay Thai, and Italian rapier.