Game of Thrones’ ‘sicansíos’: not the first word to be lost in translation | David Shariatmadari

There’s a long history of phrases being garbled as they cross from one language to another – and some of them stick

Game of Thrones is known for its linguistic inventiveness. The TV adaptation of George RR Martin’s fantasy cycle has gone way further than the original novels ever did, with linguist David J Peterson fleshing out the languages of Essos and Westeros, Dothraki and Valyrian, from one or two phrases into grammatically coherent “conlangs” or constructed languages.

The latest piece of vocabulary to come out of the show has nothing to do with him, however. In fact, it wasn’t purposely designed by anyone. I’m tempted, because of the genre we’re dealing with, to call it an epic fail. But it’s probably not as bad as leaving a Starbucks cup in shot. And it’s actually pretty fascinating.

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Game of Thrones’ ‘sicansíos’: not the first word to be lost in translation | David Shariatmadari