How to speak Minion

Lorraine Winter

minions

Minion is a culture and a language. The Minion language from the film franchise ‘Despicable Me’ has been the subject of many articles, including academic ones that seriously question the linguistics of the Minion language used in the film.

Many children, of course, would be oblivious to this linguistic debate; they love and known the Minions are delightful characters with their own, unfathomable language. So, armed with accessories and treats all Minion shaped and delivered from Party Bags and Supplies, you are all set for the greatest Minion party ever seen…

… especially when you break out in to Minion language.

Minion Gibberish

In both films, the language that the Minions used is gibberish but, there are traces of the lingo being based on language spoken around the world, including English and French. In fact, celebrate linguists are debating how clever and recognisable the Minion language is; the throwing together of key words from all kinds of languages and using them interchangeably is something never been done before.

Thus, the Minion lingo is gibberish, with a bit of logic thrown in.

Speaking Minionese

The language has taken on a whole identity of its own, hence it is known as Minionese. Listen carefully to the Minion language and you may recognise some of the key words. In both films, the Minions sing parody songs of some well-known modern hits and, as they are played over and over again, it is possibly to start mimicking some of the sounds and words.

Languages from which the director Patrick Coffin took words include Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Indian, and more, as well as English and French.

Thus, use the following common Minion phrases to impress your guests:

Poppadom – is a word used over and over again, the meaning of which you can change as and when you feel like it; ‘would you like a slice of poppadom (cake)?’ would be just as acceptable use as ‘ my poppadoms (feet) are killing me’.

Gelato – ice cream, lifted from the Italian language

Kanpai – Japanese for ‘cheers’; get your guests to toast the birthday boy or girl, shouting kanpai!

Hana, dul, sae – counting from 1 to 3 in Korean; ‘how many slices of cake? Hana, dul or sae?’

Pwede na – is Filipino for ‘can we start?’

Para tu – is Spanish for ‘for you’, great for when bidding guests goodbye and handing out the party bags

Phonetics

Many children are taught to read using a phonic system; rather than reading the word, they listen to the sounds that the combination of letters make. As this system becomes more common in the UK, more and more children are able to mimic the Minion language as they listen to it, rather than trying to find meaning or logic, as adults do.

In this case, Minionese is clever in that it using words that are not dissimilar to the ones we already use; when the brain recognises the sound of the word, it makes sense thus is deciphers what it means.

Take this example – the Minions are looking to buy a replacement toy for the Minion Agnes. They ask the question, ‘what papoy?’; the word ‘papoy’ sounds like toy and thus, our brains being clever recognise the sound and translate it for us.

In French, the word for soft toy is papuche and thus, many people understand the almost universal Minion word, papoy.

Drop the logic

Every language has rules; known as grammar, these rules of how we use language on one hand produces a language that we can use and understand, but it confines us too. Minion uses pragmatics meaning that users are still able to decipher what is being said, without being constrained by rules.

So, how do you speak Minion?

You look for key words in other language and mix them together. Miss out connecting words that are useless and flowery and thus, you ask questions or give commands with tone of voice or body language.

But, use these keywords to help you out:

Hello – Bello
Chair – Chasy
Ugly – Banonina
Good Bye – Poopaye
I love you – Tulilio Ti Amo

Play a game!

Why not have a game of birthday hang man with the phrase being a Minion one? Bound to raise loads of laughter from your guests, you will also be amazed at how quickly the young guests pick up what the word means.

Speaking Minionese of not difficult and your guests will be super impressed with your language skills. Why not try it today?