As I prepared to teach Intro to Linguistics this summer, my friend was poring over the Dothraki-English Dictionary, trying to find some morphologically interesting words for me to use in a homework assignment, when he discovered something interesting:

pika: [tʃoo] DP na. choo

That’s right. The Dothraki, a horse-based culture in a world of dragons and epic snowfalls, who do not have a word for “thank you”, for some reason have a word for a small round-eared rodent, the pika. More over, the Dothraki word for “pika” is choo. 

Why would David Peterson bother to include that?

Presumably, in an English-Dothraki dictionary, this entry would read “choo pika.” But since pretty much no one speaks Dothaki and everyone speaks English, Dothraki-English dictionaries are more common and, therefore, this will almost always be read as “pika choo.”



We’re on to you, Peterson.

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