The Minions have their own movie now, but before 2015, they starred alongside the lovable villain Gru in the Despicable Me movie series. Like all top actors, the Minions deliver many quotes that fans love to repeat. However, the quotes you hear from Minion fans are likely to be things like “Ngaaahaaa! Patalaki patalaku Big Boss!” What does that mean? What language do the Minions speak?
To answer that, you have to turn to the creator of the language. Minionese is not a real world language. Directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda say that they borrowed cool vocabulary from existing world languages and combined them with funny sounds and gibberish to create Minionese.
Anyone who knows Minions knows that there’s one word they love to say—banana! Some fans even call their language “banana language.” When Minions say banana, they are usually talking about the fruit. However, there are plenty of other food words in their vocabulary. They sing a song that features banana and potato. They also reportedly say poulet tiki masala; poulet means chicken in French and tikka masala is the name of an Indian dish. They count to three in Korean and say thank you in intentionally mispronounced English. You can find fan-created Minion word sites on the Internet if you want to learn more.
How to Speak Minion
Speaking like a Minion isn’t just a matter of making nonsensical sounds with foreign words thrown in here and there. Minions talk a lot like babies. Think of it—banana is reminiscent of baby babble—ba-na-na. They use a lot of Bs and Ps, some of the first sounds that babies master. And they talk in cute little voices that lilt upwards.
Will you see the next Minion film or rewatch one of the old ones? If you do, keep an ear open for the languages you know how to speak. You might hear a phrase you recognize. Report what you think the phrases mean below!