Back in 2001, Andrew Garrett, now UC Berkeley’s linguistics department chair, had a promising student by the name of David J. Peterson in his undergraduate historical linguistics class. While Garrett was impressed and intrigued by Peterson’s penchant for inventing new languages, he lamented to himself that such interest was likely to remain a hobby rather than a career path.
But within four years of earning a master’s degree in linguistics at UC San Diego in 2005, Peterson was hired as a language creator for the warrior horsemen galloping across HBO’s Game of Thrones. “From there,” said Peterson, “I’ve worked on about a dozen other shows and movies. Language has become my entire life and my livelihood.”