Creating Hollywood’s Constructed Languages
Thanks to The Rings of Power and The House of the Dragon we’re stepping into fantasy worlds filled with constructed languages.
Hearing the native languages of a sci-fi or fantasy setting can pull audiences into the story. It gives the characters depth and makes fictional universes more believable – as believable as a 10-foot tall, blue cat person can be. Dialect coach Erik Singer breaks down constructed languages from film and TV including multiple languages.
Featured: Na’vi, Dothraki, High Valyrian, Klingon, Sindarin, Parseltongue, Ewokese, Shyriiwook, Divine Language, Mork Speak, Groot Speak, Malkovich, Furbish, and Heptapod.
The Rings of Power: Sindarin or Gray Elvish
Created by J.R.R. Tolkien for his stories in Middle-earth. Sindarin was the language of the Elves from Beleriand and over time it evolved into the language used by the Eldar. It was spoken by some Men of Númenor in the Second age (when the show takes place). It became the main tongue of the Elves in the western part of the realm by the Third Age (when Lord of the Rings takes place).
The phonology is based on Literary Welsh, Old English, Old Norse, and a number of Celtic languages. It’s changed since Tolkien created it in the mid-1940s with an expanded written alphabet and dictionary thanks to Peter Jackson’s trilogy and other LoTR projects.
The House of the Dragon: High Valyrian
George R.R. Martin created a limited vocabulary for the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. High Valyrian is not an everyday language, it’s mainly used for education among the noble houses of Essos and Westeros. Many songs and a pieces of literature are written/composed in Valyrian. The language is also used to command dragons. It has the same place in society as Classical Latin has outside of the books.
The language was fleshed out by David J. Peterson for Game of Thrones, along with the rest of the languages on the show. When he first started working on High Valyrian during Season 3 there were around 500 words, by the end of the series there were around 2,000.