The Minion language: Do you banana?

by on June 25, 2015

In light of the upcoming release of the Minions movie—or it might already be released, depending on where you are—I think it would be apt to discuss the intriguing world of these yellow, banana-like creatures and their language. Many believe these beloved, simple-minded homunculi speak gibberish, but few know the linguistic legitimacy of what they’re saying. The directors of the massively popular Despicable Me series, Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, have labelled their language “Minionese”, but it’s more popularly known as “Banana Language”—after one of their signature pet phrases. The use of constructed languages is not uncommon, however, as there are actually many movies and literature that specially create languages for the purpose of realising a fictional community. Some famous examples include Quenya and Sindarin in the Lord of the Rings universe; the Valyrian languages in Game of Thrones; Bordurian in The Adventures of Tintin; and more recently, Na’vi in Avatar.

In an interview, the directors claimed that they didn’t actually construct a language, and alleged that Minionese is just gibberish. However, some reports and fans are asserting that a good number of the words are translatable and actually do make sense. Many have noticed that several Minionese terms originated from languages like Spanish, Filipino, Korean, and Mandarin Chinese. Some of these examples include tara tropa (Filipino for ‘come on guys’), chatool (Hebrew for ‘cat’), hai-bo (phonologically similar to ‘hajmo’, which means ‘let’s go’ in Croatian and Serbian), kanpai (Japanese for ‘let’s toast’), and even counting to three in Korean. Fans have also noted the repeated use of words that appear to embody specific meanings throughout the movies, such as ba-boy (‘toy’), bi-do (‘I’m sorry’), para tú (‘for you’), and la boda (‘marriage’).

The Minions are also known to use English in their speech, such as “OK”, “potato”, “idiot”, and even phonological variants like bapple (for ‘apple’) and bello (for ‘hello’). However, Mionionese does not seem to have a grammatical structure, as the Minions tend to only blurt short phrases. The directors added that Minionese may not be linguistically or syntactically coherent, and that it’s based more on random sounds and rhythms. It’s also interesting to note that the Minions have typical English names such as Stuart, Kevin and Bob. While the movies have made attempts to accompany the Minions’ jabbering with comprehensive actions, these are also aided by proper subtitling of their language. Today, there are even apps (like Minionator, Bananie, and Minion Translator) that help translate Minion dialogue.

Although Minionese is largely incomprehensible to us, the Minions’ conversations with their owner, Gru, show that both parties can understand each other perfectly well. It appears that this ability manifests itself only in Gru, because his assistant, Dr. Nefario, and his kids, do not seem to share this understanding—though we’ll never know for sure! On the other hand, the Minions arguably show full comprehension of English as they are able to carry out Gru’s commands accordingly and also physically respond to what Dr. Nefario and the children say. But again, this is refutable, because we don’t know if the minions are simply responding to their physical actions and emotions, or if they have been engineered or taught to understand English.

Rather than choosing to allow the Minions to speak English, the existence of Minionese sets Minions and humans apart, and enforces the master–slave relationship between them in the movie—albeit in a family-friendly manner. The Minions’ dependence on Gru also comes through in the fact that Minionese is only intelligible to Gru. On a lighter note, this gives the movies their humour since linguistic misunderstandings allow for comedic effect. Of course, much of it is also in a bid to emphasise their humourousness and likeability.

While movies like Avatar and The Lord of the Rings have hired linguists to construct new languages for their characters, the directors of the Despicable Me series have instead pieced together their own, and possibly opened up a creative gateway for more of such language construction to occur. There is much to be explored, and the nature of Minion language comprehension shows great potential for language evolution since they show the ability to adopt and adapt vocabulary from other existing languages—perhaps Minionese might even be one of the more enterprising forms of language blending (banana-ing?) around.

 

18 Responses to “The Minion language”

  1. Bello.! I love minions movie and there every languages they speak.

    Reply
  2. Hi everyone, if you need to write an essay about bioinformatics, I recommend the service https://getnursingessay.com/nursing-entrance-essay/ . Their writers have expertise in this field and can create a quality essay for you. They will cover the key aspects of bioinformatics, genomic data analysis, methods and tools. I’m sure you’ll get high quality work, just in time!

    Reply
  3. Sure, the icing that is thick will make a peak if you dip and lift a spoon out of it. E부안출장샵xplained another way; dip a spoon into your icing, lift the spoon out and pull away… If the icing you just lifted the spoon out of leaves a little peak that doesn’t disappear back into the icing, you have thick icing.

    Reply
  4. The Minions movie is amazing, and I adore all the languages they speak.

    Reply
  5. Your knowledge is extremely helpful, and in my spare time, like you, I frequently look for games to play to pass the time as an illustration, you might want to give it a shot at least once before deciding whether or not it’s right for you.

    Reply
  6. Experience the delectable goodness of Bonne Maman La Madeleine, available at EuropaFoodXB. These exquisite French butter cakes are crafted with care, using the finest ingredients to ensure a delightful taste in every bite. With their soft and moist texture, these madeleines are perfect for indulgent moments, whether paired with your favorite hot beverage or enjoyed on their own. Bonne Maman takes pride in delivering a touch of French elegance to your palate, making La Madeleine a delightful treat for any occasion. Elevate your snacking experience with these beautifully crafted butter cakes that capture the essence of traditional French baking. Treat yourself to the authentic taste of Bonne Maman La Madeleine, a true delight for lovers of fine pastries.

    Reply
  7. Hey pals! So, I found this super awesome casino thing in Zambia. The games are like, mega fun, and you can even win cool stuff – https://ubuntucasinos.co.za/ ! The people who run it are really nice and help you lots. If you like playing games, you should totally check it out. Just remember, it’s all about having a blast and maybe getting some awesome prizes! Cool, right?

    Reply
  8. Explore the excellent selection of online casinos site to enjoy your casino time to the fullest. Take a break from your routine with a wide selection of exciting games to help dispel boredom. Here, everyone will find something that will interest them and keep them occupied for a long time. So don’t waste time and start playing at one of these casinos right now!

    Reply
  9. marka marichka

    Elevate your gaming to new heights with New UK Casino! Immerse yourself in a world of possibilities where an extensive game library and exclusive bonuses redefine the gaming experience. This https://www.newukcasino.uk/ isn’t just another platform; it’s an invitation to discover the thrill of winning and entertainment.

    Reply
  10. I want to always read your blogs. I love them Are you also searching for Nursing personal essay help? we are the best solution for you. We are best solution for you.

    Reply
  11. I want to always read your blogs. I love them Are you also searching for Cheap Nursing Writing Company? we are the best solution for you. We are best solution for you.

    Reply
  12. marka marichka

  13. The gameplay of connections revolves around a simple yet captivating premise: connecting words through shared attributes, meanings, or associations.

    Reply
  14. It’s a game. Five dollars is free. Try it It’s not an easy game
    ->-> 카지노사이트 .COM

    Reply
  15. DB city

    Outstanding work! The depth of insight and clarity of expression make this post truly stand out. residential apartments gwalior

    Reply
  16. บีวิน The best popular casino game

    Reply
  17. While the directors initially claimed that Minionese is simply gibberish and not a constructed language like some other fictional languages, fans have observed that many words and phrases appear to have origins or inspirations from real languages.

    Reply
  18. The Minion language, with its playful and nonsensical phrases like “Do you banana?” adds a fun and quirky element to their character. Similarly, Bizzo Casino https://bizzocasinoau.bet/ adds excitement to the online gaming world with its wide variety of games and generous bonuses, creating a fun and engaging experience for all players.

    Reply

Leave a Comment