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Top 10 Fictional Languages

VO: Dan Paradis
Not all movies feature characters speaking the language of the audience. Fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy films often fill out their made up universe with made up speech. From alien, to futuristic and make-believe languages used by ancient civilizations, there's a lot being said without saying anything. Just to be clear, we’re focusing in on the fake languages that are spoken, and not just read, as well as keeping it to one per franchise. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down the top 10 fictional languages from television and film.
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Top 10 Fictional Languages


English isn’t universal. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today and we’ll be counting down the top 10 fictional languages from television and film.

Just to be clear, we’re focusing in on the fake languages that are spoken, and not just read, as well as keeping it to one per franchise.

#10: Minion Language “Despicable Me” (2010)


Kicking of our list is the language spoken by these yellow creatures in service to a super villain. Also known as the banana language, thanks to the creatures’ appearance, it’s a fun nonsensical speech akin to what you’d hear in a videogame. Interestingly, while it’s completely gibberish made up by the film’s directors, some of it is very close to actual words in order to help younger viewers understand the general discussion.

#9: Ulam “Quest for Fire” (1981)


For this film, a linguist named Anthony Burgess was tasked with constructing a language for the prehistoric characters to speak. He constructed the dialect by using pre-Indo European language as a basis to build on. As it was spoken by cave men, only about two dozen phrases are discernable throughout the flick. As you may have guessed, this is not the first language that movie buffs have taken to role-playing with.

#8: Mondoshawan “The Fifth Element” (1997)


What would a list of fake languages be without the inclusion of this science fiction’s “divine language”. Used by an alien race of the same name, its aliens are considered the perfect species, and guard against evil. Used specifically by Leeloo, a human woman reconstructed from alien DNA, it proves impossible for fans to learn thanks to its rapid-fire delivery.

#7: Cityspeak “Blade Runner” (1982)


This fictional language makes a short and sweat appearance in this sci-fi classic. It is spoken by Edward James Olmos’ character Gaff, the same man who developed it for the film. Its purpose is to show how in the film’s future world of 2019, the melting pot of cultures would result in a hybrid language. Cityspeak, as it’s called, is a blend of everything from German to French.

#6: Dothraki “Game of Thrones” (2011-)


This language drew its inspiration straight from the pages of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” novels. Fleshed out for television by linguist David J. Peterson, its use has come to characterize the Dothraki people. Interestingly, it’s not hogwash, as HBO makes use of an actual list of over 1700 words, inspired and crafted from real languages ranging from Turkish to Russian.

#5: Goauld “Stargate SG-1” (1997-2007)


Despite the Stargate movie, this alien language owes its existence to the long running television series. Spoken by the Goaul’d and their Jaffa slaves, it is said to be the language that influenced ancient Egyptian, not the other way around! Used all around the Milky Way galaxy throughout the series, you’ll mainly hear it spouted by the Goauld turncoat Teal’c.

#4: Ewokese “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” (1983)


Next up is one of the six million forms of communication known by C3P0. A Language developed by Ben Burtt, it’s spoken by the walking teddybears from the forest moon of Endor. A mix of several actual languages, it includes phrases borrow from everything from Tibetian to Kalmuck.

#3: Na’vi “Avatar” (2009)


This is one of the newer languages on this list, especially one newest to have such real syntax, as fans often use it for songs and live action role-playing. Created in 2005 by Paul Frommer, a professor with a doctorate in linguistics, it was created for James Cameron’s picture. Its key feature is that it was made to be realistically learnable for the actors.

#2: Elvish “The Lord of the Rings” series (2001-)


Now we’re getting to the heavy hitters! While Elvish is heard in the films, J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary works actually showcase several different Elvish dialects. Indeed, the author not only set the groundwork for what the actors would speak in the films, but created actual alphabets for each variation. Devoted fans have not only tattooed themselves in the Elvin languages, but have naturally learned to speak it as well.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

#1: Klingon “Star Trek” series (1979-)


Taking the top spot is the alien language from Star Trek that has become a phenomenon with devoted fans. Interestingly, it was first heard in 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”, and was thought up by Scotty actor James Doohan who suggested the basic sound and some words. The throaty Klingon language now sports a full alphabet as well as it’s own dictionary.

Agree with our list? What’s your favorite made up language? For more entertaining top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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