Have you ever wondered where all these ‘strange’ languages come from that you read in books and hear in movies? Truth be told, it’s quite creative and fans from all over the world take on the task to form Facebook and other groups to discuss, dismantle and further understand these languages. Many even learn these languages from booksand movies and speak them.
With this in mind, today our Day Translations Blog takes a look at some of the new languages emerging from some of your favorite books and movies and how people from all over the world are enjoying them.
So without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Our Favorite Fictional Languages Roundup
Klingon – Star Trek’s Fictional Language
This is one of those languages that everyone has some knowledge of. Mainly because it is affiliated with the Star Trek series. Klingon, created by Marc Okrand is widely popular and has evolved and developed more and more over the many years that it has been in existence.
Klingon has become so embedded as a language that the creator Marc Okrand has written books about it to include its very own dictionary. The Klingon language has its own fan base as well as a Language Institute that is dedicated to it.
There are also Klingon translations for some Shakespeare plays and of course, it is one of the favorite languages for Sheldon in ‘Big Bang Theory’.
The Klingon language has its own community and fans who are dedicated to keeping the language alive.
Minionese – Despicable Me
The Minions are probably some of the cutest characters you’ll ever come across on TV. With this in mind, the Minions have their very own full fledged language called Minionese. Minionese was created by co-director of the Despicable Me movies, Pierre Coffin.
To the naked ear, especially if it’s your first time hearing the Minions speak, you might think of it as utter gibberish, but upon paying closer attention, you may realize that Minionese is made up of languages such as Spanish, French, English, Korean , Tagalog and even Japanese. Minonese is heavily crafted based on the melody the words create as well as lots of onomatopoeia, as opposed to attaching a meaning to the word from its original source. That said, many of the words the minions use sound like what they mean, they simply just sound silly, which is the entire aim of the minionese language.
Elvish Languages – Lord of the Rings
JRR Tolkien through his books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings created a version of the Elvish language known as Quenya. For those who are true fans of Tolkien’s work, you would know that another name for Quenya is High-Elven.
Quenya or High-Elvan shares very close similarities to the Finnish Language in terms of its grammar. Upon hearing and interacting with this language you’ll notice that there is also a close relation to the Greek and Latin languages.
Additionally, Tolkien also created the Sindarin language which is heavily influenced by the Welsh language. So there are two Elvish languages to be precise. Of course, there are dozens more languages that have been created by Tolkien and the stories he tells surround the languages and not the other way around.
A fun fact to note is that Tolkien actually created these languages and each one’s extensive vocabulary even before writing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Alienese – Futurama’s Alien Language
Futurama is a very popular animated series that has a very large fan base. One of the very interesting and engaging details that brought fame to Futurama quickly is the Alienese markings that are used as hidden jokes for the audience to figure out. These markings appear frequently enough for viewers to have fun cracking the code and finding the jokes.
When Futurama first began airing, in order for you to decode Alienese, you were required to make simple substitutions. The writers realized that their substitutions were too easy to figure out and as such Alienese 2 was created. This time around the requirements for decoding the language was heavily reliant on a viewer’s mathematical skills.
Again, an example of Alienese 2 goes a little like this:
- The first symbol is always to be translated into its numerical value. Eg, A would be equal to 0.
- The symbols that remain should take on the value of the previous symbol being subtracted. If the result proves that the value is less than 0, the 26 should be added to get the required translation.
Have you ever tried decoding Alienese or Alienese 2 while watching futurama?
Mangani – Tarzan
If you weren’t aware, the wonderful and adventurous world of Tarzan has its very own language. This language is called Mangani and is spoken by the Great Apes. A fun fact to note is that Tarzan is the only human who can speak this language and his name is also Mangani. When translated to English, Tarzan means ‘white skin’.
The Mangani language was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs who is also the author of the Tarzan stories. In addition to the creation of the Mangani language, there’s also a Mangani dictionary in existence also created by Edgar Boroughs. It has the English equivalent to Mangani words.
An important fact to note is that Boroughs developed the Mangani language based on sounds that come directly from the African languages associated with the region and his books and stories are based on.
Hutese – Star Wars
Star Wars, created in 1977, is still to this day a very popular movie saga that still brings fans together right around the world. Within the Star Wars movie series, they use an array of langauges. One that stands out, in particular, is the Huttese language, spoken by the slug-like species called the Hutts from their ‘home-world, Nal Hutta.
Created by Ben Burtt, a sound designer, Huttese is based on the ancient dialect Quechua from the Inca’s. Within the world of Star Wars, Huttese is spoken broadley, even within worlds where the Hutts do not hold any power.
Of course, if you’re a dedicated fan of the Star Wars Saga, then it won’t be a problem to find different collections of the Huttese vocabulary with the English equivalent for you to learn different words and phrases and be on your way to speaking the language of the Hutts
Cityspeak – Blade Runner
Blade Runner, a film created in 1982 and based on the book ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ has what is known as the Cityspeak language as part of its story.
Before diving into further details about the Cityspeak language, let’s get something else out of the way. This language doesn’t actually exist in the book. Instead, Ridley Scott, the movie’s writer, created it for the Blade Runner movie.
We first come across the Cityspeak language through the character Gaff. Cityspeak borrows from Japanese, Hungarian, Chinese, French, German, Korean, and Spanish. The very essence of the Cityspeak language, is the fact that the words sound extremely familiar. But if you try to make sense of it, it’s completely incomprehensible.
There is indeed a slight downfall when it comes to the Cityspeak conlang. It’s the fact that only spoken Gaff in the first Blade Runner film speaks it. And they didn’t develop the conlang further after this. And that’s why fans aren’t as clued up on it as they’d like to be.
Fremen – Dune
The Fremen language exists within the novel and film adaptation Dune. In the film adaptation of Dune, this is a fictional language spoken by the desert dwellers.
Fremen is a constructed language created by John Quijada. It’s a simplified version of the Arabic natural languages. Go ahead and watch the film adaptation of Dune. Listen closely and it’s hard to miss the Arabic sounds in the Fremen language! Anyone that aims to speak or write Fremen needs to understand the phonological and morphological rules of Arabic.
By now you should know that if Fremen had an alphabet, the Arabic alphabet would star in it. Your guess would be right if you were thinking along those lines.
Well, there are so many other fictional language options out there that have been developed thanks to books and movies. Of course, we couldn’t cover them all. But we hope that the ones we’ve spoken about have broadened your perspective to the wonderful world of the constructed languages/conlang space. Stay tuned to our space. We have more fictional language content coming your way very soon.
That said, don’t forget that here at Day Translations, we provide you with a wide range of services including translation and interpretation services no matter the language. We also support businesses through marketing and other business services including Business Process Outsourcing.
Be sure to visit our website or download the Day Interpreting app to get started today.