In 2012, 146 babies were named "Khaleesi." Though the data haven't been released for 2013, popular baby name browsing site NameBerry predicts Khaleesi will be one of the most popular girls' names of 2014 — ranking above Lucy, Rose, Genevieve, and other names that existed before "Game of Thrones" became a television phenomenon.
This confuses David J. Peterson, who's something of an expert on the subject: he created the Dothraki language for "Game of Thrones."
"I always thought that was really weird, because (khaleesi) is a title. I always thought that 'Daenerys' was a really pretty name, like a legit pretty name," Peterson told Fusion when we caught up with him at Comic-Con. "I don't see why people don't name their daughters Daenerys."
When George R.R. Martin and HBO were developing "Game of Thrones" as a TV series in 2009, they needed a linguist to create and perfect the Dothraki and High Valyrian languages. They turned to Peterson for help. He's been creating languages since 2000, and has helped develop sci-fi linguistics and alien cultures for "Defiance," "Star-Crossed," "Dominion," and other movies and shows.
This October, Peterson and Random House publishing will release "Living Language Dothraki," a conversational language course on how to chit-chat with the rest of your khalasar the next time you meet up at Vaes Dothrak.
The first "Game of Thrones" book was published in 1996, and Martin had included a handful of words in Dothraki, including "khaleesi." A group or tribe of Dothraki people is called a khalasar, a smaller group within the khalasar is called a khas, their leader is the khal, and his wife is the khaleesi. The word "Dothraki" comes from "dothralat," or "to ride." A sword is an "arakh."
Peterson said the author created a solid base for a full language.
"George R.R. Martin said he's not a language guy, but all of the stuff makes sense in the books," Peterson told Fusion. "It coheres grammatically and makes sense culturally."
RELATED: David J. Peterson joined Fusion Live earlier this year to discuss swearing in Dothraki
But for the most part, when the Dothraki speak in the books, it says something like, "He turned and repeated her words in Dothraki" or "the two conferred briefly in Dothraki." They couldn't quite get away with that on the show. They needed the actors to actually speak Dothraki. Which is where Peterson came in.
Today, the Dothraki tongue has nearly 4,000 words. It's the most complex and complete language Peterson has invented. He described it as a mix of Arabic and Spanish. But unlike those languages, Dothraki doesn't have gender distinctions in pronouns or most of the grammar.
"I decided, let's throw a little gender equality into the language, just for fun," Peterson told a Dothraki lecture group at San Diego Comic-Con.
He also gave the crowd — well, not a spoiler exactly, but a hint about why this book is coming out before the next season begins.
"I hear from the guy who writes the books that they're going to be featuring (Dothraki) again in Season 5," Peterson said. He also mentioned there would be at least one full sentence of High Valyrian.
Fusion spent some time one-on-one with Peterson afterward and had him pronounce a few words for us. Here is your introduction to the Dothraki language. There are only four verb sounds in Dothraki. Short a ("ah"), short e ("eh"), long e ("ee") and short o ("oh").
2. wife of the khal
You (and at least 146 moms) are almost certainly pronouncing this word incorrectly. In Dothraki, the kh- sound comes from the back of the throat, and double vowels are pronounced as two syllables.
shekh ma shieraki anni
phrase, term of endearment
1. my sun and stars
2. lit. "the loved one of man"
This is what Khal Drogo calls Daenerys.
1. blood of my blood
The q sound is pronounced like the k in "sky," but your tongue should make the k sound from the back of your soft palate, not the center. Peterson admitted it's one of the tougher sounds to make. He said the best "q" pronunciation in the entire series came from Mago in episode 8 of the first season — right before Khal Drogo murdered him.
Anyways, here's how to say "blood of my blood," which you would use to refer to a good friend or loved one. It's what Khal Drogo calls his bloodriders.
2. let's go!
If you and your khas are about to ride out, you might shout "Gwe!" before kicking your horses into action. If you found something cool on the ground while you were out in the Great Grass Sea, you might say "gwe!" to let them know to come take a look.
2. lit. "fire lizard," from "zhav" (lizard) and "orsa" (fire)
The zh- pronunciation is another complicated one, since we don't use this sound a lot in English. If you watched "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," think back to how they were always telling the sad straight dudes to "zhoosh" their hair. Or the s sound in "measure." That's the zh- sound you're looking for.
3. lit. "with respect"
The standard respectful Dothraki greeting. Can be shortened to "m'ach" in casual conversation.
1. to ride
Riding is the most important part of Dothraki culture. When Khal Drogo gets sick and falls off his horse, one of his bloodriders tells Daenerys "a khal that cannot ride cannot lead." So, yeah. They're pretty serious about it.
The dothr- root comes up a lot in casual conversation: According to the Living Language guide, the expressions for "How are you?" and "I'm fine" are "Hash yer dothrae chek?" and "Anha dothrak chek," which translate literally to "Do you ride well? and "Yes, I ride well." One way to say goodbye to someone is "dothras chek," which is an idiom that means "be cool" but translates directly to "ride well."
1. to eat
Also a pretty important activity.
This word doesn't come up a lot in the books or on the show. It just sounds neat and demonstrates how to pronounce double vowel sounds in Dothraki.
"Game of Thrones"
We asked for a couple of translations that weren't on the list, so we don't have the exact spelling. But here's how to say "Game of Thrones" in Dothraki, in case your khalasar is wondering why you want to get back to your tent before sundown on Sundays.
BONUS PHRASE: "This is Fusion"
We'd like to formally offer Daenerys a hosting spot on Fusion Live if she doesn't end up winning the game of thrones.
You can become a Dothraki master and prepare for that backpacking trip around Westeros you've been meaning to take when "Living Language: Dothraki" is in stores October 7. In the mean time, dothras chek!