In previous blogs, we have written about the fictional languages of Dothraki, Klingon and Elvish. Over the past few years a new language has been brought to life by directors Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda. When Despicable Me was released in 2010 we were introduced to the supervillain Gru and his yellow ‘minions’. By the time Despicable me 2 was released we had all fallen in love with these minions, their mannerisms and more importantly, their language.

In fact, the language has its own name: Minionese. The language has been referred to as Minion Language and Banana Language. The language itself is somewhat gibberish, but with closer inspection you can hear traces of a variation of languages. You can see examples of Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian, French, English, Russian, Filipino and Spanish in their language. According to the directors, they chose to include these languages to make the language sound authentic and amusing to the viewers.

In 2015, the minion language had its biggest challenge to date. A film where most the spoken language would be in Minionese. The film followed the minions through the ages of finding supervillains to work for. They started with the dinosaurs and worked for subsequent ‘supervillains’ including Napoleon. When living in isolation in the arctic they decided to find their next supervillain to work with. Kevin, Stuart and Bob made the journey to America to find their perfect villain! They go to a convention for villains and Supervillains at Orlando and find their perfect villain.

 

As Chris Renaud stated: “Their language sounds silly, but when you believe that they’re actually communicating, that’s what makes it funnier. What’s great about the Minion language, while it is gibberish, it sounds real because Pierre puts in words from many languages and does the lion’s share of the Minion recordings. There are a lot of food references. For example, ‘poulet tiki masala’ is French for the Indian chicken dish

 

Food is very important to the minions. One of my favourite quotes from the movie is ‘Tu est belle comme papaya’. But you will also hear Banana, Gelato and Poppadom in their vocabulary often.

Some useful phrases!

HelloBello
GoodbyePoopaye
Thank youTank yu
I’m sorryBi-do
For youPara Tu
I’m hungryMe want banana/ Madoca
We love youTulaliloo ti amo
I swearUnderwear
CheersKampai
FireBEE DO BEE DO BEE DO
ApplesBabbles/ Papples
Ice creamGelato!
Kiss kissMuak muak muak
What?Po ka?
How dare you!Sa la ka!
OneHana
TwoDul
ThreeSae
What happened?Que paso
I’ll miss you!Pora Kino
CongratulationsMazel Tov
YesSi
ThereLa
Open sesamePoulet tiki masala
Choose meChosa mi

With a sequel to Minions scheduled to be released in 2020, this is not the end of Minionese. If you can’t wait 3 years for more adventures with the Minions, they will be back in the cinemas in Despicable Me 3 this summer!