David J. Peterson (dedalvs) wrote,
David J. Peterson

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Suggestion for Transcribing Dothraki in Cyrillic

Note: An updated version of this post can be found here.

As a conlanger and orthography enthusiast, one of the things I like doing is figuring out how to write a language in a different script. In the past, I've created dozens of romanization systems for my conlangs (even alternate versions depending on whether Unicode is avialable), alternate orthographies for some of my languages using the scripts of other languages of mine, even alternate spelling systems for English. And all just for fun! This is the strange life I lead.

Recently I came across a couple sites that have been translating the English closed captioning for episodes of Game of Thrones that have aired so far into other languages. One of these sites is translating the English into Russian. From what I've seen, though, the Dothraki remains untransliterated (i.e. it remains written in Roman characters). Where's the fun in that?

Here, then, is a suggestion for writing Dothraki using the Cyrillic alphabet. My Russian isn't great, so take this with a grain of salt (and feel free to amend it or comment on it), but I think it works. Suggestion below the cut.

No idea why there's so much space in between here and the table...

RomanizationCyrillicComment (If Any)
chчI actually like this better than using a digraph (which is necessary in English without resorting to accents or alien assignments).
eэI think this is the best solution to avoid the onglide of Russian "е".
gгAlways hard; never pronounced like English "h".
hхSee comment on "kh".
jджFunny: English and Russian are opposites here (cf. "ch").
khхI had two choices, really: Have "g" and "h" spelled with the same letter, or "h" and "kh". I went with the latter, since "h" is closer to "kh" in sound, and pronouncing a word with "kh" with "h" (or vice versa) will be far less confusing than pronouncing a word with "g" with "h" (or vice versa).
qкI have no clever idea for this sound. I figure "к" is closest, so might as well use it (since we already have one confusion built in with "h" and "kh").
shшSound is actually closer to "щ", but "ш" is a simpler character.
thцCan I get away with this? The sounds are nothing alike, but the place of articulation is close! If not, it'd just have to be "т", I guess (unless anyone still remembers "ѳ").
wўIn all positions.
yйIn all positions.
''Or just leave it out entirely; it's not important.
And here are some common words:

  • khal ~ хaл

  • khaleesi ~ хaлээси

  • arakh ~ aрaх

  • vezhven ~ вэжвэн

  • athchomar ~ aцчомaр

  • jahak ~ джaхaк

  • yeroon ~ йэроон
Tags: conlang, dothraki, tv, writing

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