Fictional movie and TV languages you can actually learn to speak

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For every Dothraki chant or Klingon speech you’ve ever heard, there’s been a hardworking linguist who spent years developing a complex language. These constructed languages are often so developed that you could impress your next date with a newfound fluency in Barsoomian.

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He might take a long time to finish books, but George R. R. Martin deserves some serious credit for creating an entire fictional world that millions of real people have become so invested in. One aspect of the Game of Thrones universe that Martin didn’t create, though, is the Dothraki language. When A Song of Ice and Fire was first adapted to TV, Vulture reports, producers hired linguist David J. Peterson to take the isolated words and phrases that Martin made up, and to sculpt them into a language befitting the nomadic, horse-riding culture. As any fan knows, Dothraki culture isn’t inclined toward censorship or euphemisms, and according to Mental Floss, the over 3,000 words that Peterson composed were written to suit that aggressive lifestyle: some everyday Dothraki phrases involve the ripping of throats, bleeding stars, and bleeding boars. You know, good ol’ playground stuff. The Dothraki language also contains no phrase for “thank you,” and really, can you imagine Khal Drogo thanking anyone for anything? 

Peterson’s work has been successful enough that in 2017, UC Berkeley announced that they’d be offering an entire course on Dothraki as a second language, according to The Independent. One thing that really bugs Peterson, though, is that apparently everyone pronounces Khaleesi wrong. It’s supposed to be KHAH-LAY-see, but the producers liked the other way better, and overruled him. Hey, annoying quirks like that happen with natural languages, too. 

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