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What Language Do Minions Speak?

This year’s promising film, Minions, has premiered in theaters in several countries. The film by the production company Illumination Entertainment has been a huge box office success, and Minion paraphernalia hasn’t taken long to take over fast food restaurants, toy stores, clothing stores and even school supplies.

These cute characters are especially popular among children; so much so that many have begun to imitate how they speak. Recently, many parents have begun to pay more attention to this, since the seemingly gibberish language spoken by these animated creatures threatens to negatively impact the language development of many children. A question arises in relation to this concern: Do minions speak an actual language or have they simply deformed the different languages in which they have been dubbed?

It seems that one of the directors of the film, Pierre Coffin, proposed inventing an artificial language to add a touch of histrionics to the film. Minions are funny mostly due to their animated character, as virtually nothing they say is understandable. The creator of “Minionese” explained in various interviews that he first writes the lines in English and then translates them into the made-up language, which uses words from different widely-spoken languages​ around the world, including Spanish, Italian, French, Japanese and Korean. At the request of the film’s other creators, he included certain words in English so that the plot would make sense and the most important points understood.

With this information, we might wonder what happens while dubbing the film into all the languages ​​that served as inspiration. Well, the creative director has explained that when adapting the film to other markets, in many cases they had to modify certain words that were offensive in certain cultures. Interestingly, those responsible for the dialogues in “Minionese” while translating the script were not professional translators, but rather the creator himself. This is because the language is so inexorable that only the author can be entrusted with such a task. Of course, key words, which in the original were in English, were translated so that the public may understand just as well as the original audience.

There are already several English-Minionese glossaries available online. Are you up to the task of learning this new language that’s all the rage?