5-Minute Crafts
5-Minute Crafts

How to Understand the Language of Minions and Learn to Speak It

Another name for the Minion language is banana language. The fans call is Minionese. This way of speaking is conlang, meaning that it’s artificial. You’ve probably heard such languages before, like the Klingon language from Star Trek, Ewokese from Star Wars, and a lot of other languages created by the father of the Middle Earth, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (Khuzdul, Elvian, Entish, and many others).

5-Minute Crafts will teach you to you speak one of the most curious of the famous conlangs — the Minion language. At the end of the article, you will find a bonus list of words and expressions.

How the Minion language was created

In all the animations with Minions, director Pierre Coffin voiced them himself. To create the language of these little yellow fellows, Coffin mixed the languages of different nations. According to him, he chose the ridiculous-sounding words because they sounded funny and didn’t have much of a meaning.

As a result, we hear some sort of gibberish, but sometimes, there are quite real words among all the sounds. For example, you can clearly hear English, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Filipino, Indonesian, and probably more. Just listen closely to what they talk about.

How to explain this language variety

Minions have existed for a very long time. They are like a nomadic tribe looking for a new master. Throughout their long lives, they have visited different parts of the planet where they used a variety of languages.

The etymology of the Minion language includes the “grrrr” sound of the early Homo sapiens, the basics of ancient Egyptians (they worked for the Pharaoh), a dash of high-society French (they backed Napoleon), some proper Transylvanian (from their time serving Count Dracula), and many other dialects. The fact that they unintentionally topple every next master they serve explains why their language is so rich and diverse: they are always on the move.

How to understand the Minion language

The banana language is not only about words but also tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions. You can intuitively understand what they are talking about. For example, when Gry asks the Minions to get the unicorn for Agnes, they say, “Papoy.” It sounds a bit like “toy.” So you can understand that “papoy” means “toy.” Even if you don’t know all the foreign languages the Minions use, the action on the screen gives enough context to understand what they want to say. For example, during the wedding, the minions sing the song, “La Boda,” which is Spanish for “wedding.” And when they drive Eduardo in an ice cream truck, one of them is screaming, “Gelato!” which is Italian for ice cream. So now you can feel like you know how to speak the Minion language.

Bonus: a short dictionary of words and expressions of Minions

5-Minute Crafts/World/How to Understand the Language of Minions and Learn to Speak It
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