Common Tongue

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The Common Tongue or Common Tongue of Westeros is a language commonly spoken in the entirety of Westeros, aside from some groups beyond the Wall who still speak the Old Tongue. There are regional accents, as "Pyp had travelled the Seven Kingdoms with a mummers' troupe, and bragged that he could tell what you were and where you'd been born just from the sound of your voice",[1] but there is no lack of comprehensibility, in any region. Some regional accents can be geographically limited to a single city, as King's Landing.[2]

Language

The largest dichotomy of speech appears to be between the lowborn and the educated, most likely due to a long history of prescriptivist tutors for the highborn young. (For example, Mariya Darry corrects Amerei Frey's use of the word hung to hanged, in regards to Merrett Frey's death.)[3] There are differences that are not exhibited in the orthography, as it is possible to distinguish highborn from low accent merely by listening: "Doran!" called some highborn voice. "To the spears!"[4] These differences encapsulate both highborn vs. lowborn as well as regional dialects:

"How could you tell I was of noble birth?" [Sam asked].
"The same way you can tell that I'm half Dornish." The statement was delivered with a smile, in a soft Dornish drawl.[5]

Mycah the butcher's son's few lines shows the lowborn patois:

"She ast me to, m'lord," Mycah said. "She ast me to."..."It's not no sword, it's only a stick."[6]

Another stablehand in the Red Keep has other non-standard usages: "She don't know me," he said, "but I knows her, oh, yes...I says, come."[7] One of the Mountain's men uses the colloquial past tense of eat, et.[8]

The isolated mountain clans of the Mountains of the Moon have little difference in their speech.

Shagga glowered, a fearsome sight to see. "Shagga son of Dolf likes this not. Shagga will go with the boyman, and if the boyman lies, Shagga will chop off his manhood."[9][10]

Quotes

"I swear it," she said in the Common Tongue of the Seven Kingdoms that by rights were hers.[11]
- Daenerys Targaryen to Jorah Mormont


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.[12]
- thoughts of Tyrion Lannister

References and Notes

  1. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 26, Jon, p. 259.
  2. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne, p. 556.
  3. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime, p. 450.
  4. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards, p. 41.
  5. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell, p. 678.
  6. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa, p. 150.
  7. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 50, Arya, p. 538.
  8. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime, p. 403.
  9. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 56, Tyrion, p. 607.
  10. Languages Corpus at DothrakiWiki
  11. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 72, Daenerys, p 800.
  12. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion.
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