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12 Fictional Film and TV Languages You Can Actually Learn

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While many movies, books, and TV shows take place in alien or fantasy worlds, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to speak their fictional languages. Here are 12 that you can start studying right now.

1. NADSAT

In the 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange, author Anthony Burgess created the language Nadsat for his teenage characters who used it as slang throughout the book and later in the 1971 movie adaptation. The fictional language is essentially English with some borrowed Russian and Gypsy words and terms, along with childish phrasing. Nadsat is derived from the Russian word for teen; it also borrows from cockney slang and German.

Example: “I read this with care, my brothers, slurping away at the old chai (tea), cup after tass (cup) after chasha (teacup), crunching my lomticks of black toast dipped in jammiwam (jam) and eggiweg (egg).”

2. ELVISH

Before he even started to write The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, author and linguist J.R.R. Tolkien developed the Elvish languages Quenya and Sindarin for Middle Earth. Quenya is the language of the High Elves of Eldamar, while Sindarin was spoken by the Grey Elves of Telerin. Tolkien based Elvish on Finnish and Welsh, along with a few elements of Greek and Latin.

Example: “Êl síla erin lû e-govaned vîn.” — “A star shines on the hour of our meeting.”

3. HUTTESE

Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt created Huttese for Return of the Jedi in 1983. Burtt derived the language from an ancient Incan dialect called Quechua. It’s a fictional language that is mainly spoken by Jabba the Hutt and his species on Tatooine, but many other characters can speak Huttese, such as C-3PO, Anakin Skywalker, and Watto from 1999's Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Example: “Wee now kong bantha poodoo.” — “Now you’re bantha fodder.”

4. KLINGON

Created from only a few words and phrases, Klingon was first used in Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, but it became a full-fledged language five years later for Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. Linguist Marc Okrand created and developed the alien language from words originally made up by actor James Doohan (who played Scotty) in the original film. In 1985, Okrand, who also created the Vulcan language, later wrote The Klingon Dictionary, which includes pronunciation, grammar rules, and vocabulary from the Star Trek alien species. Over the years, many plays from William Shakespeare were translated into Klingon, such as Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing.

Example: “bortaS bIr jablu'DI' reH QaQqu' nay.” — “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

5. MINIONESE

Despicable Me co-director Pierre Coffin created Minionese for the animated movie and its sequels. While the language might sound like gibberish or baby talk, Coffin, who also voices the Minions, borrowed Minionese from other languages, such as Spanish, French, Japanese, Tagalog, Korean, and English.

“I have my Indian or Chinese menu handy. I also know a little bit of Spanish, Italian, Indonesian, and Japanese. So I have all these sources of inspiration for their words,” Coffin told the Los Angeles Daily News. “I just pick one that doesn’t express something by the meaning but rather the melody of the words.”

Example: “Le jori e’ tu” — “For better or worse”

6. PARSELTONGUE

J.K. Rowling created Parseltongue for the Harry Potter book series. It’s the fictional language of serpents and those who can speak it are known as Parselmouths, who are descendants of Salazar Slytherin, with Harry Potter as an exception. Rowling even wrote a user guide to Parseltongue on her website, Pottermore.

7. LAPINE

Author Richard Adams created the fictional language called Lapine in his 1972 novel Watership Down and its sequel Tales from Watership Down. It’s primarily spoken to make the rabbit characters sound more “wuffy, fluffy” and comes from the French word lapin, which means rabbit. "I just constructed Lapine as I went—when the rabbits needed a word for something, so did I," Adams explained during an Reddit AMA.

8. DOTHRAKI

Linguist David J. Peterson developed the Dothraki language for Game of Thrones from George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novel series. He created the language for the nomadic warriors with a combination of Arabic and Spanish sounds, along with Swahili and Estonian. Currently, there are over 3100 Dothraki words. Peterson also wrote Living Language Dothraki: A Conversational Language Course, so Game of Thrones fans could also learn and speak the language.

In 2015, “Khaleesi” Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), the wife of the Dothraki ruler “Khal," was a very popular name for newborn baby girls.

Example: “Dothras Chek!” — “Ride well! Godspeed!”

9. ALIENESE

To give the world of the 31st century more realism and depth, Futurama co-creator David X. Cohen created an alien language called Alienese, which was mainly used as background graffiti and store signs for in-jokes. It was a simple substitution cipher that fans quickly decoded. This forced the writers of Futurama to create another language called Alienese II, which was math-based and more complex to figure out.

10. MONDOSHAWAN

Although it’s referred to as the Divine Language, Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) speaks the Mondoshawan alien language in 1997's The Fifth Element. It’s a limited language with only 300 to 400 words in total that director Luc Besson created. Jovovich had to memorize and refine the language before filming began. By the end of production, Besson and Jovovich were speaking Mondoshawan to each other between takes.

11. ATLANTEAN

Disney hired linguist Marc Okrand (the same linguist who created Klingon for Star Trek) to develop a living language for 2001's Atlantis: The Lost Empire. He made Atlantean as the “mother language” for the animated film’s screenwriters and concept artists. The fictional language was derived from Indo-European words with a mix of Sumerian and North American languages. Okrand created a complex writing and language system with writer's scripts, an Atlantean alphabet, and reader's script for the Disney animated film.

12. NA'VI

James Cameron was developing Avatar for 15 years before it was released in December 2009. While Cameron was developing the filmmaking technology to bring the 3D film to fruition, he also brought on University of Southern California linguist Dr. Paul Frommer to help bring the alien culture of the Na’vi to the big screen. The pair worked for months, creating a language that was a mixture of Ethiopian and New Zealand Māori languages to develop a lexicon with more than 1000 words. Since the release of Avatar, Frommer has continuously added new words and expanded the grammatical rules of Na’vi on his website, so fans could learn to speak the alien language.

“The sound system has to be all nailed down first, so that there is consistency in the language,” said Dr. Frommer. “When you create a language, you experience the joy of rolling sounds around in your mouth, hearing unusual sounds, playing with the sounds and structural properties of language—it’s a process that took about six months for the basics,”

Example: “Oel ngati kameie.” — “I see you.”

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Zach Hyman, HBO
10 Bizarre Sesame Street Fan Theories
Zach Hyman, HBO
Zach Hyman, HBO

Sesame Street has been on the air for almost 50 years, but there’s still so much we don’t know about this beloved children’s show. What kind of bird is Big Bird? What’s the deal with Mr. Noodle? And how do you actually get to Sesame Street? Fans have filled in these gaps with frequently amusing—and sometimes bizarre—theories about how the cheerful neighborhood ticks. Read them at your own risk, because they’ll probably ruin the Count for you.

1. THE THEME SONG CONTAINS SECRET INSTRUCTIONS.

According to a Reddit theory, the Sesame Street theme song isn’t just catchy—it’s code. The lyrics spell out how to get to Sesame Street quite literally, giving listeners clues on how to access this fantasy land. It must be a sunny day (as the repeated line goes), you must bring a broom (“sweeping the clouds away”), and you have to give Oscar the Grouch the password (“everything’s a-ok”) to gain entrance. Make sure to memorize all the steps before you attempt.

2. SESAME STREET IS A REHAB CENTER FOR MONSTERS.

Sesame Street is populated with the stuff of nightmares. There’s a gigantic bird, a mean green guy who hides in the trash, and an actual vampire. These things should be scary, and some fans contend that they used to be. But then the creatures moved to Sesame Street, a rehabilitation area for formerly frightening monsters. In this community, monsters can’t roam outside the perimeters (“neighborhood”) as they recover. They must learn to educate children instead of eating them—and find a more harmless snack to fuel their hunger. Hence Cookie Monster’s fixation with baked goods.

3. BIG BIRD IS AN EXTINCT MOA.

Big Bird is a rare breed. He’s eight feet tall and while he can’t really fly, he can rollerskate. So what kind of bird is he? Big Bird’s species has been a matter of contention since Sesame Street began: Big Bird insists he’s a lark, while Oscar thinks he’s more of a homing pigeon. But there’s convincing evidence that Big Bird is an extinct moa. The moa were 10 species of flightless birds who lived in New Zealand. They had long necks and stout torsos, and reached up to 12 feet in height. Scientists claim they died off hundreds of years ago, but could one be living on Sesame Street? It makes sense, especially considering his best friend looks a lot like a woolly mammoth.

4. OSCAR’S TRASH CAN IS A TARDIS.

Oscar’s home doesn’t seem very big. But as The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland revealed, his trash can holds much more than moldy banana peels. The Grouch has chandeliers and even an interdimensional portal down there! There’s only one logical explanation for this outrageously spacious trash can: It’s a Doctor Who-style TARDIS.

5. IT’S ALL A RIFF ON PLATO.

Dust off your copy of The Republic, because this is about to get philosophical. Plato has a famous allegory about a cave, one that explains enlightenment through actual sunlight. He describes a prisoner who steps out of the cave and into the sun, realizing his entire understanding of the world is wrong. When he returns to the cave to educate his fellow prisoners, they don’t believe him, because the information is too overwhelming and contradictory to what they know. The lesson is that education is a gradual learning process, one where pupils must move through the cave themselves, putting pieces together along the way. And what better guide is there than a merry kids’ show?

According to one Reddit theory, Sesame Street builds on Plato’s teachings by presenting a utopia where all kinds of creatures live together in harmony. There’s no racism or suffocating gender roles, just another sunny (see what they did there?) day in the neighborhood. Sesame Street shows the audience what an enlightened society looks like through simple songs and silly jokes, spoon-feeding Plato’s “cave dwellers” knowledge at an early age.

6. MR. NOODLE IS IN HELL.

Can a grown man really enjoy taking orders from a squeaky red puppet? And why does Mr. Noodle live outside a window in Elmo’s house anyway? According to this hilariously bleak theory, no, Mr. Noodle does not like dancing for Elmo, but he has to, because he’s in hell. Think about it: He’s seemingly trapped in a surreal place where he can’t talk, but he has to do whatever a fuzzy monster named Elmo says. Definitely sounds like hell.

7. ELMO IS ANIMAL’S SON.

Okay, so remember when Animal chases a shrieking woman out of the college auditorium in The Muppets Take Manhattan? (If you don't, see above.) One fan thinks Animal had a fling with this lady, which produced Elmo. While the two might have similar coloring, this theory completely ignores Elmo’s dad Louie, who appears in many Sesame Street episodes. But maybe Animal is a distant cousin.

8. COOKIE MONSTER HAS AN EATING DISORDER.

Cookie Monster loves to cram chocolate chip treats into his mouth. But as eagle-eyed viewers have observed, he doesn’t really eat the cookies so much as chew them into messy crumbs that fly in every direction. This could indicate Cookie Monster has a chewing and spitting eating disorder, meaning he doesn’t actually consume food—he just chews and spits it out. There’s a more detailed (and dark) diagnosis of Cookie Monster’s symptoms here.

9. THE COUNT EATS CHILDREN.

Can a vampire really get his kicks from counting to five? One of the craziest Sesame Street fan theories posits that the Count lures kids to their death with his number games. That’s why the cast of children on Sesame Street changes so frequently—the Count eats them all after teaching them to add. The adult cast, meanwhile, stays pretty much the same, implying the grown-ups are either under a vampiric spell or looking the other way as the Count does his thing.

10. THE COUNT IS ALSO A PIMP.

Alright, this is just a Dave Chappelle joke. But the Count does have a cape.

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HighSpeedInternet.com
The Most Popular Netflix Show in Every Country
HighSpeedInternet.com
HighSpeedInternet.com
most popular Netflix show in each country map
HighSpeedInternet.com
most popular Netflix show in each country map key
HighSpeedInternet.com

If you're bored with everything in your Netflix queue, why not look to the top shows around the world for a recommendation?

HighSpeedInternet.com recently used Google Trends data to create a map of the most popular show streaming on Netflix in every country in 2018. The best-loved show in the world is the dystopian thriller 3%, claiming the number one spot in eight nations. The show is the first Netflix original made in Portuguese, so it's no surprise that Portugal and Brazil are among the eight countries that helped put it at the top of the list.

Coming in second place is South Korea's My Love from the Star, which seven countries deemed their favorite show. The romantic drama revolves around an alien who lands on Earth and falls in love with a mortal. The English-language show with the most clout is 13 Reasons Why, coming in at number three around the world—which might be proof that getting addicted to soapy teen dramas is a universal experience.

Pot comedy Disjointed is Canada's favorite show, which probably isn't all that surprising given the nation's recent ruling to legalize marijuana. Perhaps coming as even less of a shock is the phenomenon of Stranger Things taking the top spot in the U.S. Favorites like Black Mirror, Sherlock, and The Walking Dead also secured the love of at least one country.

Out of the hundreds of shows on the streaming platform, only 47 are a favorite in at least one country in 2018. So no hard feelings, Gypsy.

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