Some More High Valyrian Inflection

Another season of Game of Thrones is in the books, which means that this blog will go back to discussing grammar—this time with Valyrian added to the usual Dothraki posts (though I will mention that the Dothraki posts have not disappeared. There’s more there yet!).

This week I wanted to talk a little bit more about verbs. I spent a lot of time on the verb conjugation paradigm, and am reasonably pleased with how it came out. We’ve already gotten a look at the present indicative tense, so let’s jump to the past. There are two main tenses that occur primarily in the past: the perfect and the imperfect. Each tense has a stem modification in addition to personal endings, but the stem modification for the imperfect is predictable. The perfect displays patterns of predictability, but is not 100% predictable based on the shape of the root.

To start with, let’s look at the imperfect. The imperfect tense is used primarily to set up action in the past. It focuses on a specific action in the past that is viewed internally (i.e. is viewed as not yet having been completed). In a sentence like “He was talking to some lady when her dragon lit him on fire”, the verb “was talking” would be in the imperfect in High Valyrian. The imperfect tense is associated with the -il suffix (by the way, pay careful attention to my use of the word “suffix” there. I’ve seen “infix” thrown around, but such an analysis is inaccurate) plus the e set of personal endings. Here’s what the imperfect looks like with a consonant-final stem. Below I’ll use the verb pāsagon, which means “to trust” or “to believe”.

Person/Type Imperfect Active Tense
Indicative Subjunctive
Singular Plural Singular Plural
First Person pāsilen pāsilin pāsilon pāsiloty
Second Person pāsilē pāsilēt pāsilō pāsilōt
Third Person pāsiles pāsilis pāsilos pāsilosy

The imperfect has no associated participle, and no stand-alone infinitive or imperative.

When a verb stem with a final vowel is put into the imperfect, the vowel of the suffix -il coalesces with the vowel of the stem to produce a long vowel. As our example, I’ll use the verb bardugon, which means “to write” (coined in honor of Leigh Bardugo, author of Siege and Storm, which just came out [plug!]. You may remember her from such Dothraki words as lei).

Person/Type Imperfect Active Tense
Indicative Subjunctive
Singular Plural Singular Plural
First Person bardīlen bardīlin bardīlon bardīloty
Second Person bardīlē bardīlēt bardīlō bardīlōt
Third Person bardīles bardīlis bardīlos bardīlosy

As you can see, the tense isn’t that difficult to get a handle on. The only wrinkle is figuring out whether a stem is consonant- or vowel-final, and then what the result is if the stem is vowel-final. Here’s a summary (using the first person singular active indicative as an example):

  • pās-agon “to trust” → pāsilen
  • bardu-gon “to write” → bardīlen
  • keli-gon “to stop” → kelīlen
  • mije-gon “to lack” → mijīlen
  • nekto-gon “to cut” → nektēlen
  • penda-gon “to wonder” → pendēlen

The above should be fairly intuitive. Moving on to the next tense, the perfect probably enjoys much greater use than the imperfect. The perfect tense focuses on an act that has been completed. By definition this action will have occurred in the past, but it can often be used with present relevance (what is often called an anterior). In English you can actually use the simple past in just this way. For example, if someone offers you food but you’re full, you can say, “I’ve eaten”. This is the English perfect, and it’s fairly standard. You could also say, “I ate”—even better if you add “already”. Think of the High Valyrian perfect as both of those uses rolled into one, but without needing the word “already”. Using our example above, the verb “lit” would be in the perfect in High Valyrian.

In the perfect, it’s not enough to simply know whether the stem ends with a consonant or vowel to figure out what the perfect will look like. Most of the time it has a -t or -et suffix, but this isn’t always (or exclusively) the case. Here’s what our two example verbs look like in the perfect. First, pāsagon.

Person/Type Perfect Active Tense
Indicative Subjunctive
Singular Plural Singular Plural
First Person pāstan pāsti pāston pāstoty
Second Person pāstā pāstāt pāstō pāstōt
Third Person pāstas pāstis pāstos pāstosy
Infinitive pāstagon

What a tasty verb… And now bardugon.

Person/Type Perfect Active Tense
Indicative Subjunctive
Singular Plural Singular Plural
First Person bardutan barduti barduton bardutoty
Second Person bardutā bardutāt bardutō bardutōt
Third Person bardutas bardutis bardutos bardutosy
Infinitive bardutagon

Again, the endings are fairly simple (the same as the present tense endings), it’s just figuring out the stem. Here are some examples of perfect stems (again using the first person singular) and their associated infinitives:

  • gaom-agon “to do” → gōntan
  • henuj-agon “to exit” → hembistan
  • māzi-gon “to come” → mastan
  • pikīb-agon “to read” → pikīptan
  • pygh-agon “to jump” → pȳdan
  • qanem-agon “to sharpen” → qanēdan
  • rāpūlj-agon “to soften” → rāpūltan
  • rij-agon “to praise” → riddan
  • rȳb-agon “to hear” → ryptan
  • sik-agon “to bear” → sittan
  • tat-agon “to finish” → tetan
  • urne-gon “to see” → ūndan
  • verd-agon “to arrange” → vēttan

A lot of the major patterns are contained in that list along with a couple of the more bizarre ones.

At this point, I think it’s more than possible to put a few sentences together. I’ll see what else I have time to put out in the coming months. Until next time, geros ilas!


  1. The difference between “perfect” and “imperfect” seems to be the same as in latin and romance languages.

    1. Yes. I had previously assumed it was like the perfect and imperfect in Biblical Hebrew, and wrote it up as such. But this was based on the assumption that the -ilen form David gave us in IRC was the same as the ubiquitous -ilas form, which is clearly a future in HV, though the AV descendant seems to have a broader use.

      I had begun to doubt this weeks ago, but never got around to blogging my doubts, or bringing them to David. It was already pretty clear that previous claim of mine was wrong.

      The similarities to Latin go beyond the meaning of “perfect” and “imperfect.” Notice that the imperfect and future look very similar, the main difference being a change in the vowel (though we may find there are others, again, as in Latin); the perfect, on the other hand, is formed from a different stem, which is not always entirely predictable, so should probably be learned with the verb.

      There will definitely be a lot in the verb system that is totally alien to Latin (operative voice, Austronesian alignment, etc.), the tenses do seem very similar.

  2. More punch for the declension party! :)

    Those are some juicy perfect stem derivations. Glad to see my theory of {qringōntan} = “mis-did” validated! And {pygh-} > {pȳd-} helps us explain the form {rūda} (probably {rūdā-}) “you quit”. I guess quitting would have to be something like {rughagon}, then.

    I guess {henuj-} > {hembist-} is based on a verb “to go” with a suppletive perfect stem? It doesn’t look like it’s derived with a {-t} suffix.

    Isn’t the perfect table missing some participles? We have {keliton} attested from {keligon}, for instance.

    1. There is no perfect active participle. The meaning of such a participle would be (e.g. with “eat” modifying “man”) “the having-eaten-already man”. In HV, you’d just use a relative clause.

      Now, having said that, you’ll see that the perfect passive participle is remarkably simple—especially when compared to the other passive participles. This is because it derives from the original perfect participle. In fact what happened is that the perfect participle (now the perfect passive participle) is, in fact, the perfect absolutive participle. Thus (using the lunar nominative singular as the default case/gender/number combo):

      pryjagon “to destroy” ~ pryjata “destroyed”


      ēdrugon “to sleep” ~ ēdruta “having slept”

      So with intransitive verbs, the perfect passive participle actually refers to the subject of the action, not the object of a somehow passivized version of the intransitive verb. In fact in older texts (and perhaps surviving in frozen expressions), it’ll be possible to see the perfect passive participle used actively with transitive verbs.

      1. I wonder if there is something like compound tenses in HV or AV, formend by the infinitive or a participle plus an auxiliar verb. It seems unlikely, since there is no evidence in the dialogues from this season.

        1. You are refering to Torgho nudo’s speech, where ‘mazedhas derari va buzdar’ is translated as “was taken as a slave”. I would say ‘mazhedas’ looks like AV equivalent to ‘mastas’= he/she came,and therefore a literal translation would be “(this one) came captured in a slave”
          On the other hand, ‘sa tida’ and ‘stas qimbroto’ are also translated with pasive constructions, and they are formed with the verb ‘isagon’.They might be examples of compound tenses.

          1. Right (but sagon). There was a similar construction to mazedhas derari in the first episode, translated “they are trained.” At the time I transcribed it mazméris funmári, which is certainly wrong, but is suspiciously similar to mazedhas derari.

      2. That explains kelītīs vs. keliton. But when you say that the perfect passive participle is “remarkably simple” do you mean that the form is easy to derive? Is it formed off the perfect stem, e.g. hembista “having left”?

        1. I think by “remarkably” I meant “oddly”, and I explained it in the comment (i.e. one would expect there to be more morphology in the perfect passive participle than there is).

          1. Well, my last sentence is the real question. Can I reliably derive perfect passive participles from finite perfect forms? More importantly, can I reliably derive the perfect indicative active from the perfect passive participle, because there are cases where that would be helpful on the vocabulary page.

  3. Also, AV {pindas} is apparently from HV {pendas} “wonders”. It might still mean “wonders” rather than “asks” in AV, but I guess that’s a detail.

    1. Good point. Guess I’ll have to rename this page—the speculation was iffy to begin with.

      AV pindagho might still have the meaning “wonder” in some contexts, but I think, based on examples like “Ska tala ja hubre pindagho kuno masino?” it’s safe to give “ask” as a basic meaning.

  4. We have of course seen iles as the past tense of las in AV (“Kuny iles ji broji meles esko mazedhas derari va buzdar.” Is meles then derived from the imperfect of emagon?)

  5. I’m still a bit confused on how you can tell whether a verb is vowel- or consonant-final. My guess is that it is the long vowel at the beginning (penult/apenult?) Such as in Pasagon (long ‘a’).

    1. Look at the last four letters of the infinitive. If it ends in egon, igon, ugon or ogon, you know the verb has a vowel-final stem (and that first letter is the final vowel). If it ends in agon, that’s the only time when you can’t tell, but you know the stem either ends in a consonant or a; there are no other options.

    1. I’m already impressed with the progress being made on the wiki! One note, though. Currently if you click on the link for the Valyrian Wiki (the one at the top of, it goes to, which leads to nowhere. Do you think it’ll go up there quick, or should the link be changed to where the Valyrian Wiki currently is…?

  6. I can update you on that. Payoang put that link there as a placeholder, as we now have the domain name pointing to the Dothraki homepage. Payoang made the interesting suggestion that perhaps both Dothraki and Valyrian share the same ‘main page’, with each language having its own ‘box’, kind of like the Valyrian page linked above does. The other way of doing it would have a separate Valyrian wiki, with boxes for the two Valyrian variants, as it is now. The Valyrian and Dothraki main pages would have crosslinks so they would be accessible from each other. I have asked folks during the IRC chat which they prefer, and I have one vote for each so far. Any input you would have on this would be appreciated. Once this is settled, the aforementioned link can be made to work properly.

    The dictionaries are also making good progress, and there is a test version of the HV dictionary up now, while we finalize details on definition layout (the ‘templates’ for those that have been working on it). I think Mad Latinist has also started to populate the wiki vocabularies, which can be much more inclusive and free-form.

    The other glaring error that needs to be corrected is the new title of the Dothraki page– ‘Languages of Westeros’. As little Valyrian and no Dothraki is spoken on Westeros, this is not exactly accurate. I would like to change this, and am wondering of folks like ‘Languages of Ice and ire’ or ‘Tongues of Ice and Fire’ better (or your own suggestion)?

    1. Great to hear! Personally I think “Tongues of Ice and Fire” sounds great. Though have we ever heard what they call the world in the books (the Ice and Fire equivalent of “Earth”)…? Is that ever mentioned?

      1. I kind of like ‘tongues’ as well, and that is why I decided to see what others think. Its a little more colloquial than ‘languages’. And although most study of conlangs seems to involves knowing at least a little about linguistics, it’s nicer to ease people into it that affront them with diacritics and suppletives and relexicalization, etc. (BTW, Mad Latinist and Esploranto are doing a good job teaching me various things!)

        As far as a term for ‘world’, I don’t seem to remember one. In books as long as these books are, you would think a term would show up somewhere. I see there is a term, rhaesheser for ‘world’ in Dothraki. Will there be one for HV or AV?

        1. ‘Tongues of Ice and Fire’ sounds good. And we don’t need a term for ‘world’ or ‘earth’, we can use ‘Lands of ice and fire’ wich is used in the official maps. Actually, the story doesn’t involve the whole planet, only Westeros and Essos.

      2. Lately I have been really liking your suggestion that we start doing vocabulary like on wiktionary. If both languages are on one wiki, you could look up me and find its definition in both Dothraki and AV. For a given High Valyrian word you coudl find all its canonical attestations so far, and any AV (or, dare I speculate, BV?) reflexes, and so on.

        But that would be an even bigger restructuring, I think.

        1. The compromise might be to leave the existing grammar, phonology, etc. stuff where it is now, on a traditional wiki, and put just the vocabularies on a wiktcionary. I am not really familiar with wiktionaries, but your description gives me an idea of what they might be like.

            1. That also creates more justification for the dictionary, as the wikctinary then becomes the anthesis of ‘short form’. But then, there is room for all of the derivation stuff, example sentences and citations to canon, the shows, etc.

        2. Just to be clear, I was talking about actually using Wiktionary—i.e. this Wiktionary. It’s a vain hope, since on Wikimedia, “open content” means “no conlangs but Esperanto and maybe Volapük”. If the space is there, though, I don’t see why all conlangs couldn’t use Wiktionary to host their vocabulary. While I think it would be tremendous to have something like that over at, it seems to me like way too much work. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone!

          1. Well, we could import most of the templates (we seem to be using the same code, albeit possibly a different release; but I have no doubt most templates would transfer)… it doesn’t seem that bad, especially given time. And it would be pretty cool to have information on all GoTlangs together like that.

          2. Let’s take our vision on this idea one step higher, and suggest a general wiktionary for conlangs. For starters, it would be based in English, but could grow to have bases in other natural languages, or even conlangs. The only limit is the creativity and time availability of the contributors. I seriously doubt LearnNavi would be interested, but what a noble project for the LCS! :)

            1. This seems more in line with what David has n mind, and as we discussed by email, seems like a natural place for this kind of thing. But I think a specifically “Tongues of Ice and Fire” wiktionary would be more to my interest.

            2. Wow. This is a tremendous idea. It certainly could be done on FrathWiki, but is Wiktionary inherently different from Wikipedia? If it is (i.e. if its structure is entirely different), then this Conlang Wiktionary should be its own thing, and the LCS could surely host it; if it isn’t inherently different, then, by all means, we can start adding it to FrathWiki.

              But, yes, you have indeed proposed the obvious solution, and it should be within our means. I’ll look into it.

            3. From what I can see, if there are differences between Wiktcionary and a standard wiki, they are small ones.

            4. If the coding is the same, then we should have no trouble creatng a ‘conlang wiktionary’. Of course, we can create any kind of a wiktionary we want!

        3. Hopefully we will have a somewhat decent guide for learning HV by the time Duolingo adds in the ability for users to create courses for any language they want, which is supposedly going to happen later this year. It would be awesome to have a High Valyrian Duolingo course.:)

            1. Unfortunately, this is all we know on the matter.

              Luis von Ahn discussing it.

              A Duolingo employee almost reiterating that statement word for word recently.

              Since they didn’t really go into detail, it leaves me wondering maybe the languages will need to be approved by them? Who knows. But I would assume that they would welcome adding in as many languages as possible. As for payments, as you can see it didn’t mention that either:(

              So that brings up a major question I guess. How will they make money off of small languages that have little to no internet presence? As of right now, their plan is to make money though translatig things (Translating is already implemented, but idk if they are making money off of it yet). I highly doubt there will be many Dothraki or HV documents to translate lol.

              I guess we will see eventually how this all turns out, but I am really excited about the possibilites. Not just for conlangs (HV will be the first conlang that I attempt to learn some of) but because I would love to learn some Japanese through Duolingo.:)

            2. Wish I could edit my comment lol. I just wanted to point out that in the first link I sent, a few comments down someone said “I’d love a Dothraki course, or High Valyrian.” :)

    1. If I remember correctly, “the maiden fair” is “riña litse”. Since High Valyrian is predominantly head-final (correct me if I’m wrong), a guess might be that “riña” is “fair”/”beautiful” for some gender/declension/linguistic thingy.

      1. I believe maiden is actually riña. For example, in Dany’s orders to the unsullied, she says yn riñe dore odrikatas, riñe being child.

    2. Well, half a year too late, but it occurs to me that we also have the ending -ves, approximately equivalent to “-ness” or “-ty.” Every example so far appears to be on a class II adjective, which might not be a coincidence.

      The thing is, every example so far has the ending tacked right on to the root, with no buffer vowel (with the possible exception of AV nagostovave, the HV form of which we don’t know (other than that that first a is long, and … well let’s not wander off speculating about the os), and I have a hard time believing it’ll be **litsves. Perhaps **litsues? Or, if that AV word is any indication, **litsaves??

  7. A question to David J. Peterson: have you gotten any more information about the word “valonqar” (little brother) from GRMM, and if so, have you coined any words for brother and sister? Also, have you decided if it’s some kind of compound, or not related to “brother” or “little”?

    I don’t comment very much on here, but I just wanted to let you know that every blog post you make about High Valyrian is very interesting. I look forward to learn more about the language.

    1. The only information is the information that you have: valonqar means “little brother” in High Valyrian—and so it does. I’ve created a few other terms, including words for a twin, for older sister, younger sister, older brother… Filling out kinship systems is one of the things one must take care with. For an overview of kinship systems, this Wikipedia article is pretty good.

      1. Do you have a rough real-world equivalent to the kinship system, like is is full-blown Sudanese?

          1. Interesting. So there isn’t really any parallel between the two? Does the word for little sister have anything common with “valonqar”?

            1. Well, in natural languages there’s no real “need” for the terms to have parallels in the sibling words.

              For example, in Chinese you have:

              older brother = 哥哥 gege(or more formally 兄 xiong)
              younger brother = 弟弟 didi
              older sister = 姐姐 jiejie
              younger sister = 妹妹 meimei

              BUT… parallels do start happening between words for siblings and cousins, as the cousin terms are something + relevant sibling term.

              For example, your father’s brothers kids are all 堂 + (sibling term).

              That specific set of cousins are your:

              堂兄 = male cousin (older than you)
              堂弟 = male cousin (younger than you)
              堂姐 = female cousin (older than you)
              堂妹 = female cousin (younger than you)

              Then, if instead of it being your dad’s brother’s kids, it’s your dad’s SISTER’S kids, or ANY first cousin on your mother’s side, then you replace 堂 with 表。

              So those cousins are your 表兄,表弟,表姐,表妹。

              I’m over-simplifying it here quite a bit though… Technically if it’s your father’s sisters kids you add an extra 姑 at the start of those terms.

              Even Chinese native speakers start to get confused after a while, and just say things like my dad’s dad’s brother’s son’s… etc.

              I like this video, I show it in class quite often:

            2. @Chickenduck (couldn’t reply to comment) Great video! I suppose I just expected something more in the “style” of valonqar, not necessarily containing “valon” or “qar”, but perhaps with more syllables and a certain resemblance between. For example, the Chinese words mentioned by you and in the video have many similar sounds and a lot of repetition of syllables. “Lekia” and “valonqar” just look a bit odd together, in my uneducated opinion.

            3. That video’s outstanding! They need one of those for Hawaiian!

              Unfortunately you can’t see the pattern for siblings just looking at the two (though perhaps if you look at the genders, you may be able to take a guess at what it is).

            4. Haha… You could make a Hawaiian version of that, it’d go for about 20 seconds, yeah?!

              Regards repetition of terms, you are correct in that the same syllables keep cropping up, but my point was more that the sibling ones don’t need to be anything like each other.

              Also though, Chinese phonology and possible syllable structures are so restricted that you have lots and lots and lots of homophones in any given selection of text which seem more. From memory, in Mandarin there are only about 300 possible syllables (although that becomes 1200 multiplied by 4 for the tones)… Compared with English with maybe 10,000 allowable syllables, even though we don’t use all of them (though I’m going to start using splang at some point, once I work out a good meaning for it).

  8. Don’t know if this has been said before, but we can make rather a lot of sense of the last phrase of Talisa’s letter, {se hēnkirī īlvi biarvī manaerili}, glossed as “and celebrate together”.

    We have {hēnkos vējose} “the same fate” in Daenerys’ threat to Yunkai. In this context, I think {hēnkos} is more likely to mean “fate” than “same”. We have {īlv-} “our” and {manaer-} “raise” attested, so I’d parse the line as “…and to our fates our glasses we will raise.”

    {Hēnkirī} might be a form of a noun derived from {hēnkos}, rather than from {hēnkos} itself. Maybe a relexicalized collective? All fates = the future?

    1. Actually, never mind that — {hēnkos} must mean “the same, alike” rather than “fate”. Its ending is reduced with respect to that of the head noun {vējose}, having dropped its vowel coda. Typical adjective behavior! We also know the productive adjective ending {-enkos}, which would make a lot of sense if it were derived from “like”.

      Could {hēnkirī} then mean something like “together”? Perhaps it’s a form of an adjective “shared, common” derived from {hēnkos}?

  9. Also, the High Valyrian dictionary has some ‘real’ words in it now. There are some vexing technical difficulties with it, but nothing that should prevent it from coming on line in short order. Still some testing to do to make sure the sorting order is happening as it should. It looks great, and has some very useful features that Na’vi or Dothraki have never had (but Dothraki soon will have!).

    1. As I work on with Najahho, I become more and more wary of setting the official dictionary format in stone. A lot of ideas have been occurring to me of things that we should be doing differently, e.g. list principal parts with the lemma (Najahho preferred to put the perfect stem beneath, as is done with Dothraki, but then what happens with e.g. adjectives?), is a verb transitive or intransitive (keligon appears to mean “stop” in the sense of “come to a stop,” as opposed to “bring to a stop” … English is often ambiguous), what cases does a verb take (in English you owe five dollars to your brother, in HV you owe your brother by five dollars), what if different cases give a verb different meanings (gaomagon with an accusative means “make,” with a dative and an infinitive it means “permit;” iderēbagon takes a genitive or a dative “depending on a number of factors.” ) and so on.

      Of course you say above that the official dictionary is meant to be minimalistic, so perhaps you don’t need all this information.

      1. Actua;lly, what you are doing with the dictionary is just dandy. The wiki dictionary can be modified easily to match whatever the needs of the language are. Not so with the Eana Eltu dictionary. However, I have built some things into the templates for the Eana Eltu dictionary that will allow it to have many of the ‘features’ you are adding.

  10. As I’m having my finals right now, I was wandering: what is the High Valyrian for “all men must fail!”?
    Thanks in advance.

      1. LOL Thanks! That’s my motto for the month.
        Unless I’ll pass – then I’d like to know the words for: “all men must pass” :)

  11. Hey, David,

    I’ve been lurking here for a while while working on Valyrian languages on Wikipedia and I’d like to put this information about past tenses into the article. One of the rules on Wikipedia is no original research, so I need to have a reference I can cite for the verbs in the article (manaeragon, limagon and sovegon).

    I think I have the conjugations right, but can I ask you to confirm that (or correct me) so I can cite it for inclusion into the article, please?


    Imperfect: manaerilen, manaerilin, manaerilon, manaeriloty; manaerilē, manaerilēt, manaerilō, manaerilōt; manaeriles, manaerilis, manaerilos, manaerilosy.

    Perfect: manaertan, manaerti, manaerton, manaertoty; manaertā, manartāt, manaertō, manaertōt; manaertas, manaertis, manaertos, manaertosy. Inf: manaertagon.


    Imperfect: limēlen, limēlin, limēlon, limēloty; limēlē, limēlēt, limēlō, limēlōt; limēles, limēlis, limēlos, limēlosy.

    Perfect: lintan, linti, linton, lintoty; lintā, lintāt, lintō, lintōt; lintas, lintis, lintos, lintosy. Inf: lintagon.


    Imperfect: sovīlen, sovīlin, sovīlon, sovīloty; sovīlē, sovīlēt, sovīlō, sovīlōt; sovīles, sovīlis, sovīlos, sovīlosy.

    Perfect: sūntan, sūnti, sūnton, sūntoty; sūntā, sūntāt, sūntō, sūntōt; sūntas, sūntis, sūntos, sūntosy. Inf: sūntagon.

    1. First, thank you for working on that article! It’s wonderful! I don’t know where the [ɹ] for “rh” came from, though. It’s just a voiceless trill.

      Anyway, let’s take a look at what you’ve got here… Manaeragon is correct. With limagon, you went too far with the perfect. The verb stem is lima-, and the perfect stem is limat-. Thus: limatan, limati, etc. The same goes for sōvetagon. You don’t lose these root vowels (well, most of the time), so their perfects are usually rather predictable. It’s just that when they come into contact with other vowels they coalesce.

      1. Ah, so it would be sōvetan, sōveti … sōvetagon and so on?

        I think I got confused by gaomagon → gōntan and urnegon → ūndan — which I misread umegon → ūndan, hence thinking sovegon → *sūntan made sense. Though, thinking about it now, even that wouldn’t have made sense; it would have been sovegon → *sūndan, had I got the coalescence paradigm right, right?

        1. Ah, so it would be sōvetan, sōveti … sōvetagon and so on?

          Yes, that’s correct.

          I think I got confused by gaomagon → gōntan and urnegon → ūndan — which I misread umegon → ūndan, hence thinking sovegon → *sūntan made sense. Though, thinking about it now, even that wouldn’t have made sense; it would have been sovegon → *sūndan, had I got the coalescence paradigm right, right?

          Actually if I were turn sōvegon into an irregular, I’d guess sūd- as the perfect stem (looks good). But, no, sōvegon is regular. The problem here was using urnegon—which is highly irregular—as a prototype. Sōvegon is a much better example, actually, at least for a stem that ends in -e (and also for a stem that ends in a vowel, so long as the change in the imperfect is understood).

          1. The work that is being done to codify this amazing language is simply amazing!

            Barring any unforeseen disasters, the wikis will go ‘live’ (added to the main website) on Saturday, when I have a day set aside to do it. A lot of links will change then, but only this one time, and everything will be easier to find. I will post a synopsis of the changes here, as well.

            1. Since there are so few pages already on the Valyrian wiki, I’m thinking we can just add redirects so that the old links will still work (just in case).

          2. I’ve been thinking the same thing (redirects), and will use them where practical. the good thing is all the link shifts should be ‘constant’, so they should be predictable. None of the changes will disrupt the internal structure of the page, just remove a level of abstraction that doesn’t need to be there.

  12. I keep meaning to ask, by the way. Is there a particular reason that verbs have only one form of plural? I’d kinda expected to see a paucal and a collective, as well as singular and plural.

    (As you can probably gather, I’ve not expended the same sort of energy at getting my head round HV as most of the community here has. And yes, I do feel kinda lazy and guilty about it ;o)

    1. Paucals trigger plural agreement and collectives trigger singular agreement. I know I remarked on this in one of the talks I did this year on High Valyrian, but I don’t think I mentioned it elsewhere… I’ll see if I can do a post on it.

      1. I’ve repeatedly used tīkun “wing” as an example of a reanalyzed paucal on the wiki. But is this actually correct?

        If not, could you give us an actual example?

        If so, could you tell us what a *tīka is? ;)

            1. Evidently the people who came up with these words came across birds before they did dragons. (Or maybe early dragons had feathers. Didn’t early dinosaurs?)

            2. Late dinosaurs, but early birds (something something worm.)

              Najahho points out that Greek πτερόν can mean either “wing” (with or without feathers) or “feather,” but there the shift seems to be in the opposite direction. Latin pinna has a similar range (but can also mean “fin,” which is πτέρυξ in Greek ;) )

            3. 翅 is “wing” in Chinese, but can also be a “fin”, particularly as in 鱼翅, meaning “fish wing”, which refers to shark fins.

              Feather is a different word, but the radical for “feather” (羽) is part of the character for wing.

      2. Ah that would be awesome. Are the talks online anywhere? (I’ll go google in a moment.)

        And have you started lobbying HBO to get Jacob Anderson to do a learner’s guide DVD extra? ;oP

  13. ML wrote:

    “fin,” which is πτέρυξ in Greek

    So archæopteryx actually means “ancient fin” rather than “ancient wing”? ;o)

    1. As I understand it:

      • πτερόν = wing, feather
      • πτέρυξ = wing, fin
      penna, pinna = feather, fin, wing, quill-pen, a key on the keyboard of a hydraulic organ, (Though actually it seems to me that the “wing” meaning is fairly rare.)

  14. Just out of curiosity, when do you think the dictionary will be finished? For either AV or HV. Not rushing you or anything of course, I just obsessively check every hour, so an approximation well be comforting.

      1. Ahh ok. I kept checking the Dothraki wiki and they hadn’t put up links. Thanks, very excited!

    1. I think there’s a confusion here. It’s not like the dictionary is “complete” we (Mad Latinist and yours truly ;)) are merely compiling all nouns, verbs and adjectives we can gather from David’s blog, tweets, episodes, etc. Mad Latinist is even putting together A LOT of the inflection of the language in what is a mighty and superb job! Hence you can now even find inflection on verbs, nouns and adjectives, even some morphemes and affixes.

      But please note that we are not working with a complete dictionary, we don’t have that class of information. It’s just a fan work. We’ll keep updating as soon as we have stuff to add, but we don’t have anything like a “complete dictionary”. Of course we could always try to make a petition for HBO to release a purchasable dictionary in the future :P that’d be SO COOL!

      I’m so glad you are liking the dictionaries so far and hope you will enjoy all updates. The AV dictionary has been all Mad Latinist for instance, and as for verbs we now have plenty of information on HV verbs as featured here, but not so much with AV verbs, at least not officially.

      Well, I hope this clears things up, hehe. How I wish we had a complete dictionary! :D

      1. That’s great! I have gained so much information from you, Mad Latinist, and all the others who have been working hard on this! And it’s course David! Any dictionary is a good dictionary to me, complete our not! Thank you :)

  15. Hey guys, I’ve been looking for the aorist version of “to be” but I can’t manage to find it.
    I’d like to translate “Words are wind” in High Valyrian and I guess it’s something like “Udra issi jelmio” but I’m not sure at all, could you guys help me please?

  16. You can find the aorist of sagon, or at least my guesses, here. However, it is my understanding that “to be” is almost never used in the aorist: for instance, Dany says “Zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor” in the present tense, not the aorist (iksus?). The feeling I got from my discussion with DJP was that the aorist of sagon is kind of recherchée… most people will hardly ever use it, except maybe scholars and pedants. But Mr. Peterson can correct me if I’ wrong here.

    (And, that said, I could swear that Dany said “Dovaogēdys jentys iksia” “You are the Unsullied commander” (in the aorist) to Grey Worm in the episode before last.)

    Note that in HV prose, the verb normall goes at the end, so better to say Udra jelmio issi. It seems almost like jelmio should be in the collective here, jelmior, so that it means “Words are wind” rather than “Words are a wind.” The problem with that idea, though, is that jelmior commonly means “weather,” so I’m not sure if it works here or not.

    1. I hope we’ll get an answer to that, but your post is already very helpful, thank you :)
      PS: That’s to get it as a tattoo so I’d rather be sure there is no misspell first ^^

  17. I am sorry if you already replied to this somewhere, I tried to look for it, but could find nothing.

    I have a short question: On the site I found the present indicative conjugation for morghuljagon – to die(I presume that on the site is also your work), and I was wondering how ‘morghulis’ is to be 3.p. pl., since you said that collectives agree with their verbs in singular. So according to the site, the correct version would be Valar morghuljas – though we know that the whole language started on the basis of a few phrases, Valar morghulis included. Also, what gives the phrase the meaning of ‘all men MUST die’ since the form is pure present indicative? If you have time and are willing, could you please comment a bit on these two questions? I am eagerly awaiting your response.

    All the best in your future work!

    1. I’m certain I have answered this several times before, but I can’t find a link at the moment, and whether your name is based on the video game of the character from the Odyssey Iliad (duh. My bad), I’m a big fan of Astyanax, so I’ll answer it again. :)

      The simple answer to both your questions is that it’s not present tense: it’s aorist. (Or what I call aorist. A better term might be gnomic.) If you go to the aorist, you’ll notice that the aorist third person singular conjugation is identical to the present third person plural conjugation in the case of morghūljagon. That’s because lj becomes plain l before i. The “must” here is an implication since the aorist is used, as opposed to the present or any other temporal tense. It’s describing a general fact of the universe, and so, consequently, it must be.

      That’s how that works. I’m almost certain I gave a more detailed answer somewhere on my Tumblr, but that’s the gist of it.

    2. Further valar morghuljas means something more like “All men are dying,” like, suppose there was a mass extinction, like in Y: The Last Man, or something. is the work of fans (in the case of Valyrian, mostly me), but based as closely as possible on stuff Mr. Peterson has revealed.

    1. Thank you, just making sure that’s in high valeryian right? I just got 3 dragon tattoos and would like to have that in script around it!

      1. It is indeed High Valyrian. (I guess Astapori Low Valyrian would be something like “Derozlivan kizy sko sa nyo [fire] si [blood]”?)

        You may want to consider using Zhalio’s “Volantene Script” font.

        Also, definitely share a photo of your tattoo with David J. Peterson, as he loves this kind of thing.

        1. Maybe I should get a HV tattoo. On a related note, I was thinking of getting some tatts featuring the translations of House Words used in the Chinese translations of the novels… Some of them sound like cool chengyu in Chinese.

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