Fictional Languages

By Matt Vicker

Yesterday I came across Watchmojo’s  ‘Top 10 Fictional Languages’ (see link below). It’s quite interesting, with some information about linguists who have helped to create languages in the production of films/television programmes. I am surprised the Ewokese language from Return of the Jedi ranked so high, and made it in ahead of Jabba the Hutt, but there we go. Watch the video from the link and let me know what fictional languages you would have included (or ranked higher/lower) by commenting on this post.



  1. Great video! I remember a few other made-up languages from tv and film. When I was younger, I used to watch Alien Nation which had its own language Tenctonese. I also remember a rather terrible film that I saw in the late 80s (I probably thoroughly enjoyed it back then) called Enemy Mine, where Louis Gossett Jr played an alien who spoke a gurgling language. Here’s a clip:- I think he may have been making it up as he went along.

    It’s interesting the way that many of the made-up languages in film are associated with proud tribal groups, usually with a warrior heritage (e.g. Dothraki, Klingon, Na’vi, Ewokese). I wonder whether the fact that these films / tv are American produced has an influence on their representation of tribal warrior groups, i.e. Native American-like speaking Native American-like languages (well some of them at least).

    Ultimately it seems that fictional languages in film are an important part of characterisation. If you have characters making powerful speeches in their native tongue, it can help convey the idea of their cultural pride and identity. If you have characters that are supposed to be wise beings (Vulcan, Elvish??), then their speaking an unintelligible language can add to the idea of them being otherworldly and knowing something that the rest of us don’t. This function of characterisation is usually only used up to a point. Invariably, if characters are going to be on screen for long, then it’s soon revealed that they also speak English.

    (Hmm: I wonder whether a linguist consultant has ever proposed a Scandanavian-like language in a broad Midlands accent to be the tongue of a noble warrior people?)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s