Old Ghiscari is a guttural-sounding language, described by Tyrion Lannister as harsh and ugly and by Victarion Greyjoy as full of growls and hisses. "Zzzs" are rolled in the language. Its writing uses glyphs. Mhysa is a word meaning "mother" in the old pure tongue.
Old Ghiscari developed from the ancient city of Ghis in Ghiscar. The region was conquered by the Valyrian Freehold in five Ghiscari wars, however, and the Ghiscari people became slaves of Valyria. The Slaver Cities instead came to speak bastard Valyrian, High Valyrian corrupted and flavored with Ghiscari.
A mongrel tongue, a blend of Old Ghiscari and High Valyrian, is also spoken along Slaver's Bay. Maester Kedry is fluent in this mongrel Ghiscari. The bearded woman of Yezzan zo Qaggaz's grotesquerie speaks in a mongrel Ghiscari which Tyrion Lannister finds uncomprehensible.
Characters familiar with the Ghiscari tongue
You need a bee up your nose to speak Ghiscari properly.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 60, The Spurned Suitor.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Rise of Valyria.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 63, Victarion I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 59, The Discarded Knight.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 47, Tyrion X.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.