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The Old Tongue is the language brought over to Westeros by the Pierwsi Ludzie, over 12,000 years prior to the start of the series. It is a harsh, clanging language. Names originating from the Old Tongue tend to be short, simple, and descriptive. The language is all but extinct in Westeros, except for the lands beyond the Mur, where it is still used by the race of giants and a few Dzicy.[1]


"Half the Dzicy host had lived all their lives without so much as a glimpse of Mur, Jon judged, and most of those spoke no word of the Common Tongue. It did not matter. Mance Rayder spoke the Old Tongue, even sang in it, fingering his lute and filling the night with strange wild music."[1]

A few words are known: sygerrik, meaning "deceiver," a name taken by Bael the Bard,[2] magnar "lord",[3] and skagos "stone".[1] Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg is the name for Mag the Mighty, and probably reflects five separate words. Jon describes the Old Tongue as sounding "harsh, clanging...[and] coarse."[1]

Of course, many of the names of the Free Folk probably originate in the Old Tongue. These include Harma, Dalla, Val, Ygritte, Ryk, Ragwyle, Lenyl, Styr, Jarl, Grigg, Errok, Quort, Bodger, Del, Dan, Henk, Lenn, Tormund, Toregg, Torwyrd, Dormund, Dryn, Munda, Orell, Varamyr, and Alfyn, as well as Craster and his family Goździk, Dyah, Ferny, Nella,[4] and other Dzicy, such as Arson, Gendel and his brother Gorne, Joramun, Bael[5], Tristifer Mudd,[6] Raymun Redbeard[7] and doubtless others.

It had a runic writing system, as Lord Yohn Royce has armor which "is bronze, thousands and thousands of years old, engraved with magic runes that ward him against harm."[8] Also, the ancient crown of Winter was "an open circlet of hammered bronze incised with the runes of the Pierwsi Ludzie."[9] The Horn of Joramun had runes graven upon it, as well. [7] However, the runes were not used in books: "The Pierwsi Ludzie only left us runes on rocks, so everything we think we know about the Age of Heroes and the Dawn Age and the Long Night comes from accounts set down by septons thousands of years later."[10][11][12]


References and Notes

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