Common Tongue

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The Common Tongue, sometimes called the Common Speech of Westeros,[1] is a language commonly spoken in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. There are regional accents,[2][3] but these do not result in a lack of comprehensibility.

While some free folk who live beyond the Wall understand the Common Tongue, many clans instead speak local languages.[4] The Thenns, for instance, speak the Old Tongue and can only speak a few words of the Common Tongue.[5]

Language

The Common Tongue is the language spoken by the people of the Seven Kingdoms.

A difference in speech can be observed between the highborn and lowborn of the Seven Kingdoms.[6][7][8][9] These differences can be found in the sound of their speech,[8][2][10] but also in the use of specific phrases and words. An example is the use of "my lord" by nobles, but "m'lord" by peasants.[11] According to Lord Roose Bolton, peasants pronounce "m'lord" as if they have mud in their mouths.[11] Although the degree of which it is used differs greatly between the common born, the lowborn patois can be seen in multiple further instances:

Example 1: "She ast me to, m'lord," Mycah said. "She ast me to."..."It's not no sword, it's only a stick."[12]
Example 2: "She don't know me," he said, "but I knows her, oh, yes...I says, come."[13]

Regional accents can lead someone to determine where a person has been born.[2] This is not limited to the regions of Westeros (i.e., the north, riverlands, westerlands, Reach, Vale, Crownlands, Iron Islands, and Dorne),[2] but also specific cities.[14][15] For example, when Tyrion Lannister, a young highborn man from Casterly Rock, near Lannisport in the westerlands, flees to the Free Cities, he tries to evade suspicion by claiming to be a noble's bastard son who grew up in Lannisport,[16] thereby accounting for his speech. Another example is Samwell Tarly, who is identified as a highborn by Pypar, who states that Samwell is "southron, most like near Highgarden.", based solely on his speech.[2]

The largest difference within the Seven Kingdoms can be found in Dorne, where the Common Tongue is marked by the influences of the language of the Rhoynar.[17][18] This influence can be found all over Dorne,[17] but most strongly among the salty Dornishmen,[18] who have the most Rhoynish blood.[19] The Dornish speak with a Dornish drawl,[20][21][8] stretching, rolling, or lilting some words.[18] Some describe the Dornish speech as charming.[18]

Quotes

"I swear it," she said in the Common Tongue of the Seven Kingdoms that by rights were hers.[22]
- Daenerys Targaryen to Jorah Mormont
Tyrion took a mordant pleasure in inventing the details of the colorful life of Hugor Hill, also known as Yollo, a bastard out of Lannisport. The best lies are seasoned with a bit of truth. The dwarf knew he sounded like a westerman, and a highborn westerman at that, so Hugor must needs be some lordling's by-blow. Born in Lannisport because he knew that city better than Oldtown or King's Landing, and cities were where most dwarfs ended up.[16]
- thoughts of Tyrion Lannister
At least in Dorne they speak the Common Tongue. Like Dornish food and Dornish law, Dornish speech was spiced with the flavors of the Rhoyne, but a man could comprehend it.[17]
- thoughts of Tyrion Lannister

References

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