The Common Tongue or Common Tongue of Westeros is a language commonly spoken in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. 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", 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.
While some free folk who live beyond the Wall understand the Common Tongue, many clans instead speak local languages. The Thenns, for instance, speak the Old Tongue and can only speak a few words from the Common Tongue.
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. 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!" 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.
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."
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." One of the Mountain's men uses the colloquial past tense of eat, et.
- 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."
- thoughts of Tyrion Lannister
References and Notes
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 26, Jon IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 26, Jon III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 50, Arya IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 56, Tyrion VII.
- Languages Corpus at DothrakiWiki
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 72, Daenerys X.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.