Ever since 2010, when Despicable Me came into theaters, Minions have been settling in our hearts for good. These cute yellow creatures started by being just sidekicks in the first movie, but now they are main protagonists of their own sequels. The newest one, Minions: Rise of Gru, has premiered on June 16th around the world and is already acclaimed by fans and critics alike. However, the more we love these heartwarming creatures, the more we want to know what they are talking about. Do Minions speak a real language? And if so, what are the words and phrases that they use in the movies? Let’s take a look at what language do minions speak.
What language do Minions speak?
This question had fans wondering for several years now. Minion language seems to be just cute gibberish at first, but it’s actually not entirely true. Directors of Minion movies, Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, have created the Minion language by taking several words and phrases from many languages. They worked on this concept right at the beginning, so if you’re wondering what language do the minions speak in Despicable Me, it’s the same one that appears in the latest movies.
Minion language: words derived from many languages
Although Minionese isn’t a fully fledged language, we can see that our favorite yellow creatures are able to communicate with it just fine. So, do Minions speak a real language? Well, in the movies, their supervisor Gru is seen with a big dictionary, so we can assume that in this universe a full Minion language exists.
What’s interesting, Gru, understands the Minion language, but is laughed at when trying to speak it. Still, it’s not that complicated. Throughout the last years, fans have gathered all words and phrases used by Minions and have found that many of them are of Hindi, English and Korean origins: and much more. E.g., “Tank you” means “thank you” and is obviously taken from English.
Minions also count 1,2,3 in Korean (Hana, Dul, Sae) and use many terms for dishes, because they clearly love food! E.g., they talk about “poulet tikka masala” (poulet – chicken in French, tikka masala – spicy Indian dish) and “gelato” (ice-cream in Italian). Take a look at this Minion language chart to see more examples. Can you guess the origins of the other phrases?
|Para tú||For you|
|Tank yu!||Thank you|
|Me want banana!||I’m Hungry|
|BEE DO BEE DO BEE DO!||Fire|
|Tulaliloo ti amo!||We love you|
|Tatata bala tu!||I hate you!|
|Luk-at-tu||Look at him|
|Muak Muak Muak?||Kiss Kiss?|
Did linguist experts work on the minion language?
Unlike many other fictional languages, Minionese was not created from the scratch to operate as a full-fledged language.
Directors intended it to be fun, a kind of baby-talk that is a collection of words that resemble other languages.
However, as the new sequels arrived, the new words and phrases were added to the Minion vocabulary, so now it resembles and actual spoken language.
Interesting cases of invented languages
Even though the Minion language is more of a concept than a language itself, there are many fascinating languages invented for the sake of movies and TV series.
In those cases, an author or a group of linguist specialists worked to develop a language that works similarly to the real ones. It means that they have a cohesive set of grammar and syntax rules, and sometimes even alphabets and accents!
There are many wonderful examples, but let’s take a look at the top 3:
- The most popular artificial language is without a doubt Elvish, invented by J.R.R. Tolkien for his monumental trilogy Lord of the Rings. As Tolkien knew many languages, he was able to create a tongue that has coherent grammar structure and a unique alphabet. There are two main Elvish languages: Quenya and Sindarin. The first is influenced by Finnish, and the latter by Welsh. To this day, die-hard fans can speak these languages, making the Middle-Earth more alive than ever.
- Second on this list is Klingon invented for the Star Trek TV series, and later, movies. It’s a language spoken by fictional Klingon species, and the others living in the Klingon Empire. Its vocabulary consists most of the spacecraft and warfare, which is why even the biggest fans might find it troublesome to speak it fluently.
- Last but not least, it’s worth mentioning Dothraki from Game of Thrones TV series. Developed by its director, David J. Peterson, it’s spoken by a nomadic tribe going by the same name. Even though it was intended as a full-fledged language, its vocabulary consists only of a couple of thousands words. As the show lost its initial popularity, there’s just a handful of people in the world that can speak it.
As you can see, there are artificial languages that work just as the real ones. What’s even more interesting, in some cases fan communities contribute to the language’s development, growing the vocabulary and making grammar rules more flexible.
It makes these languages more alive than some regular dead languages like Latin. The main difference is that dead language doesn’t evolve anymore, while e.g. Elvish is being constantly in use, which implies that it can evolve and change. Just like a natural language!
Is there a minion language translator?
Going back to the main topic, you may wonder how to understand Minion language.
Sadly, there is no official Minion translator as of now. However, in 2010, Best Buy developed an app called “Best Buy Movie Mode” which allowed to translate Minions’ dialogues in Despicable Me.
Do you want to know how to speak Minion language?
Well, there is one proven way: watch movies with Minions and learn all vocabulary along the way! You can also use our chart to memorize some of the most popular phrases.
Who knows, maybe you can catch some new words in the movies, that the other fans couldn’t?
Conclusion: what is Minion language?
There is no full Minion language, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t speak some of it. What’s more, you can even learn several words from other languages along the way!
As the new movie Minions: The Rise of Gru is now in theaters, there won’t be a better time to learn Minion language. Study all cute words and catchphrases, so during the movie you can understand Minions’ dialogues. No need for a Minion translator!