SPOOF: Southern offers new language program in High Valyrian

Jess Pellegrino – General Assignment Reporter 

‘Skoriot ñuhyz zaldrīzesse ilzi?’ The Southern Connecticut State University will be introducing a pilot program through the university’s World Languages department.

Starting next semester, amongst classics like French, Spanish and German, students will be able to major or minor in High Valyrian. The major will consist of nine semesters of language intensive lab work. At the end of the program, students will be completely fluent in the language, history and grammar systems.

The minor, while less intensive, will still give the student a good grasp on the history and language.

Valyrian is the language spoke in the Ancient Valyrian Freehold. As the Valyrian people conquered the Continent of Essos, they mandated that prisoners of war learn at least the basics of the language.

As a result, the language became widespread as rapidly as the Valyrians were conquering. At a time, the language was the most popular language in the world, spanning many continents. It is rumored that every Roman emperor was required to learn Valyrian to secretly communicate. Julius Caesar’s last words were in Valyrian.

These days, however, the language has died, becoming comparable to Latin. It is still widely spoken by scholars, royalty and the clergy. Known for it’s beauty and softness, Valyrian often appears in wildly romantic poetry. John Donne himself slipped Valyrian into some of his most famous poems, but it did not make it past the cutting room floor.

“I think it is awesome that we are offering more variety in our language department. I was actually planning a trip this summer,” said Annabeth Carson, junior. “I want to hit all the spots; Spain, Rome, the ruins of Pompeii, Valyria.”

Carson said  it will be great to not have to worry about having a language barrier when she visits Valyria.

This is the first stage in Southern’s “Out of This” World Language Department. If the Valyrian pilot program is successful, by 2017, Southern will have courses in Klingon, Sindarian and Na’Vi.

“We really want to widen the horizons of our students. Knowing more than one language is so helpful in building a student’s character,” said Valyrian expert and future SCSU professor, Chadwick Ball.

“I majored in Dead Languages at Yale University,” said Ball. “Then, I got my master’s degree in High Valyrian at the Valyrian Institute of Technology and Communications.”

Before coming to Southern, Ball spent 25 years translating ancient texts to be displayed in the Valyrian International Library. He has single-handedly revived the language from death.

“I realized I was spending all of my time preserving the Valyrian past, but I was not ensuring it had a future,” said Ball. “By teaching it to the youth of the world, I hope to one day see an upsurge in the language. Maybe one day is will see the success it saw in the ancient world.”

The program will begin in fall of 2015, but slots are limited. The classes do not even appear on blackboard for registration. If you are interested, contact your advisor. They will then write students a recommendation for the class. If someone doesn’t get in this semester, do not fret. This program will run every single semester.

Photo Credit: twipzdeeauxilia



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