English Language Essays

Down with Morphemes: The Pitfalls of Concatenative Morphology

David J. Peterson received a BA in English and Linguistics from UC Berkeley in 2003 and an MA in Linguistics from UC San Diego in 2005. He created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Castithan, Irathient and Indojisnen languages for Syfy’s Defiance, the Sondiv language for the CW’s Star-Crossed, the Lishepus language for Syfy’s Dominion, and the Shiväisith language for Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World. He’s been creating languages since 2000.


This paper explores the relationship between an adherence to the main tenets of concatenative theories of morphology and the creation of less than realistic languages. The paper was written in 2009 and is based in part on the LCC1 talk “Down with Morphemes! What Word and Paradigm Morphology Can Teach Us about Language Creation”.

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