Monthly Archives: December 2012

Merry, Merry Goatmas!

And, indeed, what a merry Goatmas it has turned out to be! I realize that in my last post I had us voting on who would be crowned Winter Goat, 2012, but I had a late entry that has caused me to overturn the results of the vote (which, at the time of writing, were inconclusive anyway). Consequently, I shall push the current nominees for Winter Goat to next year, and have proclaimed this year’s Winter Goat to be the jolly fellow you see before you here!

Me holding Mr. Dorviclaus.

Click to enlarge.

This fine little gentleman came to me from Ingsve, who sent him all the way from Sweden! He is a traditional Scandinavian yule goat, and has a magnificent goatish beard. While yule goats are sometimes burned after they’ve served their time, I can assure you this goat (which for some reason I’ve suddenly decided to name Mr. Dorviclaus) will stay with me (unbowed, unbent, unbroken—and unburnt) for many, many years. All hail this year’s mighty Winter Goat!

Mr. Dorviclaus hanging out in a palm tree.

Click to enlarge.

Attached to Mr. Dorviclaus was this note, written by Ingsve in Qvaak’s script:

A letter from Ingsve.

Click to enlarge.

Here’s the transcription:

Zhey David,

Anha zalak vitteya ajjalani neaka vezhvena yeraan. Azhas jinaan Dorvi Aheshki fichat san azhi yeraan. Me nem move hrannoon vosma me haja ma qotha. Anha zalak firesof akat dalen senthi adavrae yeraan.

Shieraki gori ha yeraan,

Ingemar Svenson

Ingsve went with an original translation for “Christmas”: vitteya ajjalani neaka. That translates to “feast of the long night”. I rather like it!

Despite all the images, this post is rather short, as I’ve gone up to my second parents’ home for Goatmas this year. This post was actually typed up while I was packing, though I’m sure I hopped on and added a few things as I could thereafter. As a result, I didn’t have as much time to type this up. Nevertheless, I’m sure Winter Goat has something in his shaggy beard for one and all! Here he is, in fact, visiting Standing Rabbit and Sitting Turtle outside my door:

Mr. Dorviclaus visiting Standing Rabbit and Sitting Turtle.

Click to enlarge.

It’s been a good year, and I’m forever thankful to the few who follow this blog and come in to say M’ath! in our weekly Dothraki chats. It does get tiresome to be forever without a Dothraki word for “thank you”, though, so to remedy that (even though I begged him not to), Mr. Dorviclaus has shaken a word for “thank you” out of his frosty beard—not from Dothraki, but from High Valyrian. The word is: kirimvose (or kirimvos, for short; stress on the second i for both). Unless I miss my guess (or unless those armed with Google are very, very clever), this is the first new word of High Valyrian to be released. It will not be followed by others, as I shall return to my customary radio silence, but this being Goatmas, I simply couldn’t restrain mighty and loyal Winter Goat.

Have a Merry Goatmas, and a Goatish New Year!

Winter Goat 2012

After poring over several thousand copies of the eight goat pictures I received, I have settled upon four candidates that have earned the right to claim the title “Winter Goat, 2012”! Those images, submitted by readers of this blog, are presented below:

A picture of a goat.

Dorvi #1 (Photo by Hrakkar)

Another picture of a goat.

Dorvi #2 (Photo by Hrakkar)

Yet another picture of a goat.

Dorvi #3 (Photo by Hrakkar)

And one last picture of a goat or goat-shaped ornament.

Dorvi #4 (Photo by Qvaak)

(Note: The live goat pictures from above come from the Sierra Safari Zoo in Reno, Nevada. Stop in if you get the chance!)

There it is: The full line-up for Winter Goat, 2012! To cast your vote, leave a comment below. I was going to set up a really cool poll and use that for voting, but I give up. I’ll get it to work later, lousy edavrasakh

In other news around the conlanging world, an article was published in The New Yorker today on my good friend John Quijada, the creator of Ithkuil. I got to hear this story as it unfolded over the course of the past few years, and I think this is a pretty good summation. I definitely recommend it.

In the article it’s mentioned that “Dothraki is now heard by more people each week than Yiddish, Navajo, Inuit, Basque, and Welsh combined”, as if this meant anything one way or another. On this, I’ll only say that Inuit is not the name of a language, though if you ever want to look at a wonderfully fascinating language, I recommend Inuvialuktun (I’ve got a grammar of it that I did not steal from the UCSD library [I returned that copy (eventually)]).

Fonas chek!

Me Azho Anni Shafkea


Did you hear that? Why…it sounds like the gentle rustling of the hoary beard of Winter Goat! No, he’s not here yet, but the goating hour draws nigh! Indeed, it is December, which means the grand nearly year-old Goatmas tradition here at the Dothraki blog is near at hand! And what better way to ring in this glorious goatish season than to begin with a tale of giving.

Today’s story comes from the Netherlands, where Dothraki forum member Pej made a special request. Her sister-in-law recently had a baby, and as a present, she made her a hand-crafted dragon egg (see below. It’s outstanding!).

A hand-crafted dragon egg.

Click to enlarge.

To accompany the dragon egg, she wanted to include a dedication in Dothraki, so she went to the forum for help. As the request required some vocabulary not yet revealed, I did my own translation, shown below.


Dear Catherine,

This is my gift to you, dragonborn. Always as fierce as fire; always as strong as flames.
This egg might contain your destiny.
You recently became the mother of Julia, and she needs your guidance.
Keep this gift close to you. It brings warmth and comfort.

With love.


Zhey Catherine,

Jini azho anni yeraan, zhey zhavorsayol. Ayyey ven ivezh ven vorsa; ayyey ven haj ven vorsakh.
Jin gale’sh losha fasqoy yeri.
Yer ray mai haji Julia ajjin, majin me zigeree athvillaroon yeri.
Aqqisis jin azh yeraan. Me yanqoe ma athafazhizar ma athdisizar.



Here are some notes on the translation:

  • As they’re proper names, I left “Catherine” and “Julia” as is. I think their most natural Dothraki versions would be Kathrin and Yolia. (Note that as Pej and her sister-in-law are from the Netherlands, the “j” in “Julia” is most likely pronounced like an English “y”, not like an English “j”.)
  • Another way to do the third main sentence would be Jin gale losha fasqoy yeri ishish. This seemed more natural to me, but I went ahead and used the auxiliary version to preserve the English word order.
  • I recast the beginning of the fourth main sentence so it probably most closely translates as, “You’ve now come to be the mother to Julia”. The folks on the forum had some clever ideas for rendering “become”, but this makes the most sense to me, given the context.
  • Athvillaroon is specifically wisdom that comes from experience (as opposed to innate intelligence or talent).
  • “Bring” in the last main sentence is colloquial in English. In Dothraki, the closest equivalent is to use the verb yanqolat, which means “to gather”. The form of the verb itself was inspired by Janko Gorenc from Slovenia, who’s spent the past who knows how many years collecting the numbers 1-10 in literally thousands of languages—including over 1,000 conlangs. Also, you may recognize the root of the word athdisizar, which I’ve used here for “comfort”.
  • The word athfiezar is used for love between siblings or friends (not between a parent child; that’s a different root). The word that you may know, athzhilar, is used for the love between lovers exclusively. It’s a private word that isn’t used in public.

My best to Catherine and her baby Julia! That’s a pretty incredible gift, and I hope it indeed brings you warmth and comfort. Also, san athchomari to Pej! That’s quite a job you did! Very well done!

And for those who follow the Dothraki blog, the time has come. Where are those goat pictures? Let’s get some dorvi up in here!