We are carrying on with the countdown of our top 10 fictional languages and it’s the moment you’ve all be waiting for: the top 5! Has your favourite made the cut?
The language of the snake, Parseltongue is something that, to hear it, will fill any Harry Potter fan with dread. It is spoken by Parselmouths and is associated with black magic.
Harry himself is a Parselmouth, gaining the ability after Voldemort tries to kill him. Author JK Rowling claims she named her fictional language after a word used to describe a person who has a problem with their mouth.
Like Dothraki in A Game of Thrones (our Number 6), this is another newcomer to the world of fictional languages. Paul Frommer of the USC Marshall School of Business is the man behind Na’vi, spoken by the inhabitants of the moon Pandora in the movie Avatar, and he constructed the language to reflect writer and director James Cameron’s specifications.
He had quite a challenge on his hands, as the language couldn’t just sound foreign but had to be entirely alien from any human language. However, it also needed to be something the actors could learn and speak convincingly. Clearly, he succeeded in his task, as today the Na’vi dictionary lists 1,500 words.
Given the news this week that a new Star Wars film is planned for release in 2015, it’s apt that our number three is Huttese – the fictional language spoken by Jabba the Hutt and his clan. It is a linga franca, which is a form of communication between two people with different mother tongues.
It’s possible to vaguely follow what Jabba says as many of the words he uses sound English. Although it is the native language of the slug-like Hutts, it is actually spoken by numerous other races in the Star Wars galaxy.
Klingon has to be the fictional language that has had the most success in making the transition from the reel world to the real world. Created for Star Trek in the early 1980s by linguist Marc Okrand, today it has been used to translate operas and plays, while some couples have even had Klingon weddings.
The existence of The Klingon Language Institute, set up to “promote and support this unique and exciting language”, gives you a clue as to just how popular Klingon has become and it’s easily the most treasured of all the science fiction dialects.
OK, it’s a bit of a cheat to list Elvish as number one, as this term actually incorporates many languages, all dreamed up by JRR Tolkien. In fact, Tolkien created unique languages for almost all of the inhabitants of his fictional world of Arda, tirelessly detailing both the written and spoken forms.
It should come as no surprise that Tolkien’s great passion was language and he was a keen philology student. He spent years creating the languages of Middle-earth, but arguably the two that are most impressive are Sindarin and Quenya, both of which are spoken by the elves.
To hear how Elvish would sound, you can watch Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy or catch The Hobbit when it is released at the end of 2012. If there was ever a fictional language we wanted to learn, it’s definitely this one.
Have we missed out your favourite fictional language? Let us know what it is below.