For decades, movies and TV have provided their biggest fans with ways of getting involved, whether it be cosplaying, going to conventions, or, for some particular works of entertainment, learning the languages of the characters. From Star Trek's Klingon to Game of Thrones' Dothraki, pop culture has provided a variety of fake tongues for super-fans to master. The latest is Minionese, the language spoken by the Minions made famous by Despicable Me, its sequel, and their spinoff, Minions. Even hardcore fans might be baffled by the wording, though — how do you speak Minion? It seems like the most difficult fake language pop culture has ever produced.
According to an Entertainment Weekly interview with directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, who invented the language, Minionese is "more based on sounds and rhythms than the literal meanings of words." AKA: It's basically impossible. Yet despite the difficulty, it's quickly amassed an impressive following of people dying to learn how to communicate in the language of the banana-loving minions. There are vocab lists, Q&As, even Youtube tutorials for how to master Minionese, created by and for fans who just can't get enough of Despicable Me and its adorable yellow creatures.
Those who speak other languages (real ones, I mean — sorry, all you Elvish scholars) might have an easier time understanding it. According to production notes for Despicable Me 2 , Coffin, who also voices the minions, said that he made their language a combination of Indian, French, English, Spanish, and Italian.
Said Coffin, "I mix up all these ridiculous sounding words just because they sound good, not because they necessarily mean something.”
Not helpful. For those attempting to learn how to speak Minionese, be warned, it might take you some time (and might not be the most useful language to learn.... all I'm saying) but it will be fun. Here's a Youtube video by a very passionate Despicable Me fan to help get you started:
So now you know how to say "goodbye" (poopaye), "thank you" (tank yu), "ugly" (bananonia), "fire" (fire truck sounds), "we love you" (tulalilootiamoo), "I hate you" (tatatabalatu), "toy" (baboi), "apple" (bable), "ice cream" (gelato), "for you" (para tu), "chair" (chasy), "one" (hana), "two" (dul), and "three" (sae). Got all that?
There's also "la boda" for marriage and "kanpai" for cheers. And don't forget the most important one of all: "banana" in Minionese is banana. Really, what else do you need to know? This certainly covers the basics of human-Minion communication.
Now that you know how to speak the language, you should be able to follow along with the plot of Minions without any problem. Perhaps you'll even uncover some secrets that the average viewer wouldn't get, thanks to your new skill. Are the minions secretly plotting to take over the country? What do they really think about the humans that they pass on the street? And maybe you'll even solve the biggest mystery of all: why are they always so naked?
Here's to you, bold Minionese-fluent viewers. If you can master this strange, gibberish-filled language, then clearly, you can do anything.
Image: Universal Studios