Students at the University of California Berkeley may not be able to hear conservative commentator Ann Coulter speak on campus — however, they can take a school-sanctioned course on a made-up language used in a popular HBO fantasy show.
The university, already embroiled in a free speech controversy, reportedly plans to offer a six-week course inspired by the fictional Dothraki and High Valyrian languages used by characters on the HBO series Game of Thrones.
David J. Peterson, who was hired to create the show’s languages, will teach the course titled “The Linguistics of Game of Thrones and the Art of Language Invention.”
Peterson told Berkeley News that the Game of Thrones world created by author George R.R. Martin “will serve as a kind of framing device for the course so students can focus on the linguistic details of their creations, not the fictional side.”
Peterson will teach the four-day-a-week course, which is being offered during the May 22 to June 30 summer session.
No stranger to the Hollywood language scene, Peterson has helped develop languages for such shows as the Syfy channel’s Defiance series, Marvel’s Thor, and NBC’s Emerald City.
The UC Berkeley fight song “Sons of California” has already been remixed in the Dothraki language.
The Game of Thrones language course announcement comes on the heels of conservative commentator Ann Coulter’s decision to cancel her speech at UC Berkley, after law enforcement sources told Fox News that there was a “99% chance” of violent attacks on campus by left-wing activists if the speech went ahead.
The university had initially canceled Coulter’s speech and then rescheduled it for a week later, when the majority of its students did not have class. The two student groups who invited Coulter filed a lawsuit against the school on Monday, alleging its initial cancelation of the event was discriminatory and a violation of First Amendment rights.
The seventh season of Game of Thrones returns to HBO on July 16.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson