David J. Peterson

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David J. Peterson
David J. Peterson by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Peterson in July 2017
Born (1981-01-20) January 20, 1981 (age 38)[1][non-primary source needed]
OccupationWriter, language creator
Known for
Spouse(s)Erin Peterson[3]
ChildrenMeridian Peterson [4]

David Joshua Peterson (born January 20, 1981) is an American language creator, writer, and artist,[5] who has constructed artificial languages for television and movies, including the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for the television series Game of Thrones.[6]


Studying at University of California, Berkeley (1999–2003), Peterson received BA degrees in English and in linguistics.[2] He received an MA in linguistics from University of California, San Diego (2003–06).[2] According to an interview given to the publication Conlangs Monthly, he had his first contact with constructed languages while still at Berkeley, after attending an Esperanto class in 2000.[7] In 2007, he co-founded the Language Creation Society with nine other language creators[2] and served as its president (2011–2014).[8]

In 2009, the television network HBO needed a fictional language for the Game of Thrones television series and turned to the Language Creation Society for help. This resulted in a contest, which Peterson won.[9]

Peterson has created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for the HBO series Game of Thrones and the Castithan, Irathient, and Omec languages for the Syfy show Defiance; he has been creating languages since 2000.[2][10] He also created the language used by the Dark Elves in the movie Thor: The Dark World.[11] Peterson's recent projects include the creation of the Inha and Munja'kin languages for the NBC series Emerald City.[12]

Peterson has worked to popularize the activity of language creation, or "conlanging." He produced a number of videos on YouTube, in a series called The Art of Language Invention,[13] and published a book of the same title in 2015. Peterson also worked as an executive producer on the 2017 documentary film, Conlanging - The Art of Crafting Tongues.[14]



Year Title Language(s) / Role
2013 Thor: The Dark World Shiväisith
2016 Warcraft: The Beginning Orcish
2016 Doctor Strange Nelvayu
2017 Conlanging: The Art of Crafting Tongues Executive Producer[14]
2017 Bright Övüsi, Bodzvokhan
2018 The Christmas Chronicles Elvish


Year Title Language(s) / Role
2011–2019 Game of Thrones Dothraki, High Valyrian, Low Valyrian, Mag Nuk, Skroth (unused), Asshai'i (unused), Gerna Moussha (unused)
2013–2015 Defiance Kastíthanu, L'Irathi, Indojisnen, Kinuk'aaz, Yanga Kayang (unused)
2014 Star-Crossed Sondiv
2014–2015 Dominion Lishepus
2014–2019 The 100 Trigedasleng
2015 Penny Dreadful Verbis Diablo
2016 The Shannara Chronicles Noalath
2017 Emerald City Inha, Munja'kin
2018 Into the Badlands Azrán

Video games[edit]

Year Title Language(s) / Role
2018 Arena of Valor Veda, Afata, Gandal, G'vunna


  • Johnston, Susan; Battis, Jes (2015). Mastering the Game of Thrones: Essays on George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0786496310.
  • Peterson, David J. (2014). Dothraki. Living Language. ISBN 978-0-8041-6086-5.
  • —— (2015). The Art of Language Invention. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-312646-1.
  • Post, Nina; Peterson, David J. (2014). The Zaanics Deceit (Cate Lyr) (Volume 1). Nina Post, LLC. ISBN 978-1-4954-6134-7.
  • Post, Nina; Peterson, David J. (2017). The Zaanics Pursuit (Cate Lyr) (Volume 2). Nina Post, LLC. ISBN 978-1-5376-4745-6.


  1. ^ "David Joshua Peterson (born 1981)". California Birth Index.
  2. ^ a b c d e "About David J. Peterson". Dothraki.com. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  3. ^ David J. Peterson [@Dedalvs] (April 27, 2013). "David J. Peterson referring to his wife" (Tweet). Retrieved April 27, 2013 – via Twitter.
  4. ^ "About". Art of Language Invention.
  5. ^ "Dedalvs". Twitter.
  6. ^ "Creator of 'Game of Thrones' languages coming to Iowa State in February - News Service - Iowa State University". www.news.iastate.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  7. ^ "Interview with David J. Peterson". Conlangs Monthly. February 2015. Retrieved February 2, 2015.
  8. ^ "Minutes for LCS Board Meeting (3/5/2011)". Language Creation Society. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  9. ^ "Expert Creates Language for New HBO Series Game of Thrones" (Press release). Dothraki.com. April 12, 2010. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  10. ^ Banks, Dave (August 25, 2010). "Interview: Creating Language for HBO's Game Of Thrones". Wired. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
  11. ^ "Thor: The Dark World credits". The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  12. ^ "Creating the languages of Tarsem's fantastical new 'Emerald City'". Screener. January 6, 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  13. ^ David J. Peterson's channel on YouTube
  14. ^ a b "Conlanging, The Film About". Retrieved August 28, 2017. David J. Peterson EXECUTIVE PRODUCER David began work on his first language in 2000 and has been creating languages ever since. He's worked as a language creator on HBO's Game of Thrones, Syfy's Defiance and Dominion, the CW's Star-Crossed and The 100, plus Marvel's Thor: The Dark World. He’s also the author of two books: Living Language Dothraki (2014) and The Art of Language Invention (2015).

External links[edit]