The Old Tongue is the language of the First Men, brought to Westeros during their invasion over twelve thousand years ago. It is a harsh, clanging language. The language is all but extinct in the Seven Kingdoms, where the Common Tongue has become dominant. In the lands beyond the Wall, however, the Old Tongue is still spoken by the giants and most wildlings.
The Old Tongue is the language spoken by the First Men of old, the current giants and free folk. Only few terms and translations are known from this language, as George R.R. Martin has not developed the actual language. On the developing of languages for A Song of Ice and Fire, the author stated:
"I don't have a whole imaginary language in my desk here, the way Tolkien did."
Tolkien was a philologist, and an Oxford don, and could spend decades laboriously inventing Elvish in all its detail. I, alas, am only a hardworking SF and fantasy novel, and I don't have his gift for languages. That is to say, I have not actually created a Valyrian language. The best I could do was try to sketch in each of the chief tongues of my imaginary world in broad strokes, and give them each their characteristic sounds and spellings.
Several names of terms and names are described in the published material:
|Skagos||Stone||Because of the definition of "skagos", the people from the island of Skagos call themselves stoneborn.|
|Woh dak nag gran||The squirrel people||"The squirrel people" is the name the giants have given the children of the forest.|
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 49, Jon X.
- So Spake Martin: Yet More Questions (July 22, 2001)
- So Spake Martin: Event Horizon Chat (March 18, 1999)
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 7, Jon I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 35, Jon VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Stoneborn of Skagos.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 51, Jon VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 13, Bran II.