The Language of Minions

The Language of Minions | One Hour Translation

These cute little Minion characters have become widely popular with children, and many children have begun to imitate how they speak.

When the movie ‘Minions’ was released around the country and indeed around the world, it didn’t take long for Minion paraphernalia to take over toy stores, fast food restaurants, clothing stores, and even our children’s school supplies. The production company Illumination Entertainment very quickly became aware that they had produced a huge box office success!

These cute little Minion characters have become widely popular with children, and many children have begun to imitate how they speak. It’s this issue that has some parents concerned, and they are now starting to pay attention because the apparent gibberish language spoken by these animated creatures is threatening to negatively impact many children’s language development. And this leads to the question: Do minions actually speak a language, or have the different languages in which they’ve been dubbed simply being deformed?

How the Minion Language Evolved

It’s our understanding that it was proposed by Pierre Coffin, one of the film’s Directors, that an artificial language should be invented to add a touch of histrionics to the movie. Because virtually nothing Minions say is understandable, it’s mostly their animated character that makes them funny. And then we heard in various interviews that the creator of Minionese explained how he wrote the lines in English first, and then translated them into the made-up language - using words from many widely-spoken languages around the globe, including Italian, Spanish, Japanese, French and Korean. And finally, as requested by other creators of the film, he included certain English words to ensure that the plot would make sense and the most important points would be understood.

Respecting Other Cultures

As explained by the Creative Director, when adapting the movie to other markets they had to be very careful in many cases and modify specific words that might be offensive in certain cultures. It’s interesting to note that the person responsible for the dialogues in Minionese while this script was being translated, was not a professional translator, but rather the creator himself. The reason for this is that the language is so inexorable that the only person who could be entrusted with such a task was the actual author. Obviously, any keywords which were English in the original were translated to ensure that the public understood just as clearly as the original audience.

Does Anyone Know How to Speak Minionese?

We’ve noticed that there are several English-Minionese glossaries already available online, so we’re wondering just how many of you out there are up to the task of learning this brand-new language!

[Photo by Nicescene / Shutterstock.com]