Me Ray Jadi Save

The time has come to bring back the Dothraki haiku challenge.

The Dothraki haiku challenge was a yearly competition amongst those who studied Dothraki a bit. Haikus seemed within the grasp of even elementary students, so it seemed like a fun thing to do. I’d post a new competition every year on my birthday, and then decide on winners (one for Dothraki, and later one for High Valyrian) just for fun (no real awards; only virtual).

I can’t remember off hand how many competitions we ran, but it was at least four, I think. They didn’t stop for any important reason. The fact of the matter was, what would have been the next Dothraki competition in 2017 fell on my birthday, January 20th—the same day the 45th President of the United States was inaugurated. It so happens every 4 or 8 years that my birthday falls on inauguration day, and while some are better than others, that one had me feeling like I really didn’t want to celebrate my birthday at all. So I skipped that one, and as things busied up, I never got back to it.

Now I’m getting back to it.

So, if there’s anyone out there who’s still capable of writing a haiku in Dothraki or High Valyrian, this is your chance! Compose on your own, and when you’re ready, post it in the comments. (For those somewhat new to the languages, please make use of the Dothraki wiki, which has detailed grammatical information on both Dothraki and High Valyrian.)

We’ll do challenge words again this year (you don’t need to use the challenge word in your haiku, but if you do, I’ll give yours a little boost when I rate all the poems). The challenge word for Dothraki will be sash, and the challenge word for High Valyrian will be arlie, both of which are adjectives which mean “new”. For the full set of rules regarding the haiku, see below.

(Oh, by the way, I generally don’t choose a winner until submissions stop coming in.)


For the purposes of this contest, a haiku is 17 syllables long, with the syllable counts for each line being 5, 7, and 5, in that order. If you need to fudge, go for it, but I will weight exact syllable counts more highly.

Also (and this is important), since this is Dothraki, we are definitely going by syllable count, not mora count. Regarding syllable-counting, in Dothraki, a syllable is defined as a vowel plus one or more consonants on either side. A syllable cannot contain more than one vowel, which means that a word like kishaan is trisyllabic, not disyllabic.

If it helps, you may or may not contract the various prepositions that contract. So, for example, mr’anha (two syllables) is the usual way of saying “inside me”. For your haiku, if you wish, you can separate the two out, i.e. mra anha (three syllables). You can also drop purely epenthetic e vowels (so the past tense of “crush”, kaffe, can be rendered as kaff’). Feel free to play with word order and drop pronouns, as needed, bearing in mind that such language is figurative, and the reader will still need to be able to figure out who’s doing what to whom.

For Valyrian: Long vowels count as two mora, and a vowel with a coda counts as two mora, but a syllable will not have more than two mora. So a long vowel plus a coda consonant will still be two mora, for the purposes of the poem. If you can’t do the poem using mora, do it with syllables, but I’ll weight those done with mora more highly. This will make it more like a real Japanese haiku. If you need a particular word in a particular number/case combination or a verb in a particular conjugation, please let me know and I’ll give it to you.

Addendum: Falling diphthongs count as two mora (i.e. ae and ao); rising diphthongs count as one (e.g. ia, ua, ue, etc.). Also, word order is certainly freer in poetry than it is in everyday speech, but the rules about adjectives still apply (i.e. you use the short forms if the adjective appears directly before the noun it modifies; otherwise they’d take their full forms). And, finally, word-final consonants are extrametrical. Thus if a word ends in -kor, that counts as one mora, not two.

Shieraki gori ha yerea! Fonas chek!

Posted on January 20, 2020, in Community and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Glad to see the contest back! For High Valyrian, if a word ends in consonant(s) that may form an onset, and the next word begins with a vowel, are they part of the coda of the word-final syllable or the onset of the second word’s initial syllable?

  2. Never mind my first comment. I apparently didn’t read properly where it says that word-final consonants are extrametrical.

  3. Roman J. ClanMartin

    Hello, David.

    I’m glad the Dothraki haiku competition is back on.
    My name is Roman. I’m 33. I’m from Gabon but I live in Morocco. I’ve been learning high valyrian since 5 months now. I’ve also been composing haiku for fun and practice for like a week. So I was absolutely thrilled when I learned about the competion you’re resuming.

    If I got it well, this where we should leave our poems. So that’s what I’m going to do. 2 things though. It’s a quite long poem. So I will be sending it progressively, on a basis of about 10 haiku a day. Secondly. As, you may have guessed, english it not my first language. So the intended meaning given in english may sound a bit too litteral , even strange to you. I apologise in advance.

    Last thing. If what I’m proposing is not what you looking for, or if you have some advice, it would be nice to let me know.

    That’s a pretty long prologue. I know. Sorry.

    Here’s the poem

    Dāro Syyz Udir

    vestriarjio Uēpo
    udra tepagon?

    va bōso bantiot
    sīr ēdrus.

    Se mērī
    vāedro elēni
    ēbrio bē

    tepillosa sikis.
    Pār vāedan.

    Yn ziksoso
    daor. Koston daor.
    Yvosa mijen.

    Zyyrha udra
    jemot tolyrtyy

    Yn elēnir
    idañor va mōriot
    ñuhon kessa.

    “Dāro Syyz Udir”

    Bonys dārys
    guēsoti valotī

    mēdoti lēdor.
    Pār īles…

    Intended meaning

    to pass on the words
    of the Ancient of history?

    His eyes
    to the long night
    now he sleeps

    And only
    the voice of the song
    through the night sky

    can mercifully
    ignite the stars.
    That’s why I’m singing.

    But not as he used to.
    That’s impossible to me.
    I lack his art.

    His words
    to you and others
    I sure will tell.

    But the music
    coming along with them
    will always be mine.

    I will sing
    “The Gospel of the King”
    with all my heart.

    That King
    over trees and men,
    he reigned.

    The bank
    was full of metals
    back then. So it was…

  4. Roman J. ClanMartin

    Hi David.

    I just realized that “Dāro syyz udir” isn’t correct. It should be “Dāro syyrior udir”. Which is 8 mora, not 7. I then must rewrite it to fit in the poem. I’m thinking of “Dāro Udrio bē”. What do you think?

  5. Glad to see the contest back! I hope there are many submissions. Here comes mine, followed by an English translation.

    tembo qūvoti
    konor sittus

    Tegon lōrior
    onot rēbari

    Tubis arlie
    daomȳro bē
    pār prattus

    The sunlight
    on the leaf-tears
    would make steam

    Wet soil
    walking in the dawn
    we would smell

    A new day
    after the rains
    then began

  6. Roman J. ClanMartin

    Dāro udrio bē 2 (continuation)

    Yn umbiles
    qubor tistālior

    valo naejot.
    Kesrio syt sesīr

    karys dārys
    dōrī glaesot
    mele dōron

    hinittes. Se
    mōrī mērpa

    rōvrā lōgra
    ziry ēdas.

    pōnta seltisi

    lyksot iā hen
    hae jeldis

    se ozeptis
    dāro jaqiarzir
    uēpo vyyhot.

    Par lēdrar

    se āmastisi

    Intended meaning

    But poor
    the fleshy bank

    a man has in the chest.
    Because as powerfull
    as he was

    never had
    the great king put
    the red stone

    at risk.
    At the end, lonely
    he kept on being.

    and large ships
    he sure owned.

    And on his command
    they would sail
    to the far seas,

    in peace or
    breaking war
    as required

    and demanded
    the glory of kings
    in the ancient world.

    Then full
    of spices
    and treasures

    they would turn
    and come back
    with all the honors…

  7. Roman J. ClanMartin

    Dāro udrio bē 3

    Yn va mōriot
    dārys ziryyle

    tolī qubi.

    ānogrosa tegot

    Dijemis lyys
    naejos vamiot hae

    Se irughisi
    lī laehossa

    se ruariarzon
    Skoros īles?

    mērī mirros

    Raqnon. Vala
    sīr ēdos daor!
    Ziry vāsir

    daor… Arlinno
    tubis, vējo

    iā biarvo syt,
    sesīr aderī,

    Intended meaning

    But still
    the king
    saw himself

    too poor;
    still lacking
    some victories:

    ” That blood
    outweighing all the seas
    of the earth,

    A bosom
    that warms like
    The Lands of Summer,

    And eyes
    that give
    all the treasures,

    be they
    concealed or known.”
    What was that?

    one thing gathered

    Love. The man
    Had not had it yet.
    He had yet

    not loved…
    The day of change,
    as doom,

    or fortune,
    and very soon,
    was coming…

  8. Sorry to be late to the party; it’s the end of the school semester and I have a lot on my plate right now.

    Quick question: Looking at «affelat», does the intransitive «felat» also exist?

  9. Alright, here’s my first draft of a Dothraki haiku. I’ll tweak it if it turns out I’m misusing *fesat.

    Sash vezh zhowake
    Me’sh adrozhe sajakes
    Kash me zin fese

    “New horse spells danger
    It may well kill its rider
    While it still itches”

  10. Roman J. ClanMartin

    Dāro udrio bē 4

    Daomio gō
    īles… Sīrgō


    tubis vestris.
    Sepār steptisi

    gīdrȳti bē,
    iā hen valoti

    s’eglȳ gaomoti.
    Tubis pāsis.

    ziry gōntis,
    vala mērpa.

    Intended meaning

    In the rain
    it was… Long ago
    the gods

    would attend

    say we today.
    And they would deal out

    and gifts,
    according to sins,
    or each one’s

    and noble deeds.
    So we believe today.

    And just likewise
    would he do,
    the lonely man.

    • Roman J. ClanMartin

      …correcting the last stanza (missing 2 mora on the middle line):

      pār ziry gōntis,
      vala mērpa.

  11. General comment: Sorry I was late on approving these comments and viewing them! I forgot I had to approve every comment now, and so assume I just wasn’t getting any comments. lol My bad!

  12. Ugh, messed up the word order of the new horse. It should be:

    Vezh sash zhowake
    Me’sh adrozhe sajakes
    Kash me zin fese

    “New horse spells danger
    It may well kill its rider
    While it still itches”

  13. Roman J. ClanMartin

    Dāro udrio bē 5

    pār hembistis,

    jomīstre… iā
    daor. Tolvys ziry

    doar, dāri,
    Pār dārys,

    tolī qubi,

    se zōbrī,
    jonevetre, dārio
    zȳho gieron

    Tymptrio Dēmalion
    zijot īles:

    iā sindilȳti

    se ruarilaksirī,
    yn munnose,

    hae lūho
    uēpī jaehoti,
    skorī tegot

    Se rūnino bē?

    Intended meaning

    He used to
    leave the castle
    under a mask

    …or not.
    Not everyone
    does know him,

    the king,
    by face.
    Then the king,

    a hat, very low
    quality clothes,

    and darkly,
    the people
    of his kingdom

    he would join.
    That was his
    Game of the throne:

    open plains or

    all alone,
    and sadly,

    just like
    the old gods
    on earth

    used to descend.
    What say the records?
    I will sing…

  14. Roman J. ClanMartin

    Dāro udrio 6

    Jaedo tubio
    vēzo gō, vala
    ninkiot vamiot

    istas. Tubis
    dōni se albie,
    hae rūklot.

    Se skorī parmot
    dārys rēbiles,
    skoros ūndas?

    Tolmiot daor
    mirti baeliles
    lue vale tolie,

    nusperi se
    epseri jemagon

    Se va lantot
    trēsomy botiles
    lue kepe bone.

    Ziry otāptas,
    dārys urnere,

    ” Gerpa kara
    va mōriot issa
    lo ūbremis

    raqno tegunno.
    Konir issa. ”

    Se dijāves
    mērpa prūmiā

    yn iemnȳ
    dorolvior munnon,
    hae sȳndrot.

    Toliē tubī
    dārys raqiruni

    Hen guēsinne,
    sindiliot īles,

    Se nevīles
    arghīlis lī,

    Se drīvose
    kirimves īles
    keson glaesor:

    va mōriot stepagon,
    se tolvomy.

    Se biarvī
    ōdrī vȳho,


    yn tolȳti
    dijāves ōdria

    Pār qūvi
    tolī aderī

    Hen pikīptes
    līr hae riñā

    Kōdra geviar
    otāpiarja, hen

    gīhot, sambroti

    valaro toliot…
    Sēteri, sȳndor.
    Mēriot ziry

    kōdro sȳndroti,
    hae valā

    averilloma. Se
    Konir īles…

    Intended meaning

    On a sunny
    summer day, nearby
    to a plain a man

    A sweet and bright day,
    like a flower.

    And as he passed
    on the grass, what did
    the king see?

    Not far
    someone helping
    a man

    and feed
    his livestock,

    and, getting close,
    a son helping
    this father of his.

    Then, said
    the king, watching,
    in his heart:

    “The fruit
    is always excellent
    if grown

    with the heart
    on the field of love.
    So it is.”

    And a warmth
    in his lonly heart
    was rising

    along with
    a bit of sadness,
    like a shadow.

    On another
    day he saw
    some friends,

    from the woods
    heading to the marketplace

    what they had hunted

    And actually
    there was happiness
    in that life:

    Always sharing
    everything with

    all the fortunes
    and damages,

    So the joys

    But the warmth
    from the others
    purify the wounds,

    and the tears
    are very quickly
    washed away.

    This was coming
    from what he had read
    as a child.

    Those thoughts
    of beauty from
    his memories:

    on a terrestrial
    soul, the clouds
    in the sky

    above men
    casting their forms and shape.
    But he

    was drowning
    in those shades,
    like a man

    in a dream,
    full of wine. And
    so it was….

  15. Roman J. ClanMartin

    Dāro udrio bē 7

    Gerp’ īlis.
    Se syluteton daor.
    Sesīr daor.

    Se pōntosa
    mijeton daor.
    Yn drējī?

    jorarghutis līr
    skorī ziry

    Va mōriot īles
    konon glaeson.

    bērīlis lī

    renitos daor;
    mērī sȳndra
    ziry ēdes.

    Koni ēdis,
    hae tymptrȳti,
    jaelaro syt.

    Yn, vestretaks
    konir, arlinon

    Intended meaning

    So were the fruits.
    And he had not tasted them.
    Not yet.

    And he
    did not miss them.

    What he pursued
    would vanished
    as he

    That life had always
    been so.

    The gifts
    that were hanging
    from the sky

    had not touched him.
    He’d only had
    their shades.

    Those he had
    as a mockery
    for his hopes.

    But, as
    it has been said,
    change was coming…

  16. Hīltas. Hae
    aderē jelmiot –
    sȳndror iojiar.

    Ninkiot kesot
    Zoklītsos hīghas,
    Sōna ropas

    Yn arlie rūklon!
    Urnios daor?

    • Intended meaning:

      [It] hit. As/like a quick wind –
      cold darkness.

      The little wolf cries out, snow is falling

      [It] had been watching
      But a new flower!
      Can [it] not see?

  17. Roman J. ClanMartin

    Dāro udrio bē 8

    Tubī toliē
    zir’ itates zȳhon
    geron arlior.

    Hen jēdār
    mōrī mastas
    zijot mirros,

    kōtton daor līr
    zijot ropatas,

    rughissi luon sȳrjon
    tegot: daomio.

    Vēzo gō

    se dekossi,
    yn skorī prattas

    Ziry tēntas
    egralbo vējes

    Se hegnir
    vāedar sōvemos

    vestriarzir valo
    daomio gō,

    se ūndetas
    luo sētero nyke

    Intended meaning

    On another day
    he was finishing
    a new walk.

    From the sky
    something at last
    came to him,

    what he couldn’t
    reach himself
    fell to him,

    that which is good
    that the goods give
    to earth: rain.

    Under the sun
    he was returning
    to the castle

    on foot
    as it started
    to rain.

    The spear
    of fate poked him

    and for
    the song to fly
    on the wings

    of time,
    the story of the man
    in the rain,

    and of the spell
    he saw, I
    will sing…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.