If languages from around the world weren’t enough, you can now learn one from another universe. Duolingo has given users High Valyrian courses — a language featured in the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon.
Duolingo’s Newest Course
Duolingo has collaborated with HBO to create another fictional language course. Users might know that Duolingo already has a Klingon course, a language from the Star Trek universe. Now, the most popular language-learning app will also help users learn High Valyrian as a way to promote the new Game of Thrones show House of the Dragon.
What’s interesting, though, is that the Mother of Dragons language was already available on the app prior to the release of House of the Dragon, both for Android and iOS versions. But HBO asked for an update when the new series came out, resulting in the addition of 150 new words and 700 new sentences to the old course.
How was the language born? Despite George R.R. Martin being the original creator of the Game of Thrones books, he wasn’t the one to develop the High Valyrian language. David J. Peterson found that a total of two sentences, six nouns, and character names from Martin’s books was enough to create a basis for a possible language. “With the words and names, George R. R. Martin mostly prescribed what the sound system of High Valyrian was going to be. In fact, I only added two sounds to Valyrian that aren’t found in the books: z [z] and ñ [ɲ]. I felt they fit,” said Peterson. Moreover, Greek and Latin appeared to inspire Martin’s background. “Latin and Greek have some familiar sounds to them, governed primarily by the fact that most of their content words have predictable and recognizable endings (-um, -a, -os, -ion, -arum, -ibus, -us, -is, etc.),” Peterson explained.
Command Dragons with High Valerian
In addition to simply learning the language and being an advanced Game of Thrones fan, Valyrian speakers can also now use this new lingo to command dragons! Fans tested out the useful side of the course when they attended Comic-Con and played with the DracARys AR app in July. They had to prove their skill by participating in the House of the Dragon: The Dragon’s Den interactive experience. Then, a few privileged fans were hand-picked to receive access to the application and the chance to hatch their baby dragon and raise it to be a big, scary dragon. During that process, each owner used Valyrian to train and command their beast.
But fans of the universe don’t have to attend a special event to test their Valyrian skills. After taking a few lessons, they’ll be able to remember short phrases and basic words, which viewers may pick up on in House of the Dragon. And knowing the translation without any subtitles will certainly make dedicated fans swoon.
Languages aside, House of the Dragon has already debuted on HBO on August 21. The series shows the backstory of Game of Thrones. It focuses on The Dance of Dragons, also known as The Dying of Dragons, a civil war that broke out while two family members fought for the throne.