A language that has been around for hundreds or thousands of years can already be difficult to master, but what about those that have only been around for a handful of decades (if not less)? Thanks to pop culture, there have been a lot of new languages that have been created from scratch, ranging from the world of literature to video games, and from movies to television.
If you’re looking to pick up a language that can help you communicate with some of the most hardcore fans in existence, try picking up one of these five well-known fictional languages.
The first fictional language is one of the most expansive and oldest in popular culture, pulling from the “Star Trek” franchise. The Klingon species was introduced in the original television series which aired in 1967 and instantly became a staple of the franchise. Author and “Star Trek” fan Marc Okrand took it upon himself to create an entire Klingon language, publishing “The Klingon Dictionary” in 1985.
Not only did Okrand create words for the language, but also made sure tha the grammar had a set of rules. The book received an expansion in 1992, with Okrand adding more words from the “Star Trek” films that were released throughout the 1980s and in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. With nearly 200 pages in total, there are thousands of people who are able to communicate exclusively in Klingon.
The popular television series “Game of Thrones” is based on the book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” and aired on HBO from 2011 until 2019. “Game of Thrones” contained several fictional languages, with the most popular of them being Dothraki. While Martin had started the language in his book series, conlanger David J. Peterson developed the entire language for television use with nearly 3,200 words.
Dothraki could be learned by anyone that wanted to, and Peterson says that it’s structured much like Elvish (which we’ll get to in a minute). Peterson had also created languages for “The 100”, “Dune”, and “Thor: The Dark World”, showing off his versatility. Still, it’s the Nomadic Dothraki language that people have come to know and love from him the most.
Not to be confused with Elvis, the Elvish language isn’t quite as old as you might think. Elves have been part of stories for ages, but it wasn’t until J.R.R. Tolkien wrote “The Lord of the Rings” series that it really started to take off. Tolkien began creating the language for his characters to use throughout the book series, including several offsets of the base language known as Primitive Quendian.
The final languages include Quendya, Exilic Quenya, Telerin, Sindarin, Nandorin, and Avarin. Over the years, several other Elvish languages have been introduced into pop culture (many of which are by David J. Peterson), but it’s the Tolkien version that people remember the most. In one part of Sweden, there are thousands of people who can speak Elvish.
Believe it or not, there’s an entire language devoted to the Minions characters from the “Despicable Me” series of films. Also known as Banana language, Minionese takes words from most of the major languages around the world and gives them their own meaning, with many of them pertaining to food. Originally, Minionese didn’t mean anything, according to director Pierre Coffin.
“It’s gibberish,” he said. “It’s a mixture of all the languages of the world and it’s about finding a particular magical rhythm and melody that makes the nonsense make sense.” As the films continued, though, Minionese started to make more sense and has become a full-fledged language of its own that somehow we all understand. “They emote with so much emotion that the language barrier doesn’t exist,” said star Sandra Bullock.
It should come as no surprise that there are languages that exist in the “Star Wars” universe, especially after we discussed the Klingon language from “Star Trek”. There are a ton of “Star Wars” languages, with the most in-depth being that of Huttese. Spoken by characters including Jabba the Hutt, many of the “Star Wars” characters are able to speak, read, or at least understand the language.
There have been many people translating English into Huttese over the years, with the language continuing to expand. While there isn’t a dictionary that’s as structured as Klingon, the Huttese language does make sense to people who learn it. Since characters that range from Din Djarin (“The Mandalorian”) to Anakin Skywalker can speak Huttese, it makes sense that they put so much care into the language.