High Valyrian – Game of Thrones
Who are we kidding: there is NOTHING the Khaleesi does that doesn’t deserver to be copied -except maybe burning entire legions of men, but that is a detail. The iconic queen barks orders to her armies and dragons alike in High Valerian, the jargon of the old Valyrian civilization, who were a folk of upper class dragon trainers skilled enough to master its tricky grammar and tongue-twisters. Although described in the original books by George R.R. Martin, the language didn’t exist IRL until a guy named David Peterson developed it to be used in the TV-series. Common people only answer to “valar morghulis” (“all shall die”), but thanks to this online Valyrian class you will soon go all posh dragon bitch and chant entire phrases in the elitist language.
Minions – The Minions
Does you heart melt every time one of the plushy minions opens its mouth? Time to unleash that very effect upon your lover, boss or your very own minion… Despicable Me creator Pierre Coffin came up with the merry sounding dialect of Kevin and co by mixing elements of Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, English and even Dutch (my language!). It is even whispered that he threw an entire menu of Indian takeaway into the mix at a certain point, just to spice things up a little. “Tikki Massala tout le bananas”! This basic Minion vocabulary will get you started, luckily there is no complicated grammar to worry about in the land of Minions.
Parseltongue – Harry Potter
You know something is very wrong when you suddenly awake with the ability to talk to snakes. Everything ok though of it is just the product of hard intellectual labor. Parseltongue is the secret language of both Salazar Slytherin and Lord Voldemort, two notoriously anti-social snake friends, but it’s also a nice way to pass on coded messages, open secret sinks and stir up “boring” reptiles at the zoo (isn’t it, Dudley?). The internet is more than happy to provide you with online courses to learn the trick and JK Rowling herself (who was an English teacher in her former life) teaches it on Pottermore. Mind you: don’t even start this challenge if you tend to lisp.
Elvish – Lord of the Rings
Are you really surprised by the fact that J.R.R. Tolkien, spiritual father all the geeks in the world, was one humongous nerd who kept a myriad of linguistic hobbies? The brain behind Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit was a professor in (Old-)English and Literature, which explains why his writings are riddled with ancient German legends and tales. Tolkien was also a passionate supporter of Esperanto, an artificial language designed in the interbellum to communicate across all borders and cultures. The project had moderate success, unlike the fictional Elvish he came up with to let his brainchildren communicate. Today, the language is devoutly studied by LOTR-fans around the globe, who get a kick out of ordering their ham-and-cheese sandwich in Elvish at the local gas station -which is the kind of detail that makes your day, I admit. For those of you who want to try: Elvish is a jolly soup of Latin, Greek, Finnish and old Welsh. Worst/best -depending on where you’re standing- part is that Tolkien did not develop one, but two Elvish dialects: Sindarin and Quenya! The one Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler and all the other actors of the famous movie trilogy master, is Sindarin, so you probably want to stick with that one. You can learn Elvish here.
Over to blue creatures and their melodic sounds. It took Avatar creator James Cameron fifteen years to bring his filmic masterwork to life and the guy didn’t waste any detail. He gave American linguist Paul Frommer the enormous task of creating an alien language for the indigenous Na’Vi people. A job he took by heart, as Frommer came up with more than a thousand words and grammar rules, and kept developing the language of the planet Pandora even after the movie was released. You can find the entire geek fest on his website, little starter: “Oel gnat kameie” – better known as “I see you”!
Dotraki -Game of Thrones
More linguistic fun from Game of Thrones! It is far less posh than High Valyrian, but Dothraki is definitely the most sexy language in the Seven Kingdoms. It’s the jargon of Khal Drogo and his bunch of horseback riding l’Oreal hair models, and the language that provided us with the beautiful word “khaleesi” -which as you know means “queen” and is a popular girl’s name right now. Plus you have to admit it is way cooler to call your lover “Shekh Ma Shieraki Anni” -“my sun and stars” than just “honey”. David Peterson, the brain behind it all, got inspired by Arab, Spanish, Swahili and Estonian and created a special Dothraki website, where fans can learn to speak it. Emilia Clarke, the actress playing Khaleesi, claims she can sing Hanson’s Mmmbop in Dothraki. Now that is something.