11

The members of Kanjiklub are humans, and looked (to my eyes anyway) recognizably Asian (great to see this representation in SW!). They spoke a language other than Basic. What was the language? Is it a recognizable Earth language? Or a recognizable Star Wars language? Is it defined somewhere in other TFA materials?

  • 4
    I think I willingly forgot this. "The Kanjiklub look... Asian..." and Kanji is a written language for Chinese/Japanese. I hope that was just random chance, and not intentional. – Nate Dec 22 '15 at 13:51
  • @Nate I noticed because I was looking for racial representation in this film. Especially Asian representation, which SW has done poorly at: npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/12/29/372670957/… – zipquincy Dec 27 '15 at 17:21
  • @Nate Kanji isn't a written language as such; it's the Japanese word for Chinese characters. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 27 '15 at 17:36
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I meant a written character set. I actually have a degree in Japanese; you'd think I know better. :P – Nate Dec 28 '15 at 14:52
9

The leader is named Tasu Leech and it could be assumed it is Huttese considering he is from a Hutt colony:

The leader of the Kanjiklub, Tasu Leech is a brutal street fighter. Leech grew up on the Hutt colony world of Nar Kanji and refuses to speak Basic, dismissing it as a “soft language for soft people” and preferring to let his Huttsplitter blaster rifle do the talking.

http://www.starwars.com/databank/tasu-leech

10

I noticed an "Indonesian Language Consultant" while watching the Force Awakens credits, but this individual doesn't seem to have made it to the IMDB crew list. We do know, however, that Indonesian actors Yayan Ruhian, Iko Uwais and Cecep Arif Rahman (of The Raid fame) played the Kanjiklub gangsters Tasu Leech, Razoo Quin-Fee, and a third character whose name I can't find, respectively.

While it's possible that Leech was speaking an invented space language and the language consultant was there only to facilitate communication off-camera, I think it's far more likely that the Kanjiklub spoke Indonesian—from an out-of-universe perspective, of course.

In-universe, it's hard to say, but I can present an argument that Leech is probably not speaking Huttese:

  1. In-universe, Greedo was probably speaking Huttese in A New Hope.
  2. Out of universe, Greedo was speaking (simplified) Quechua.
  3. Out of universe, Leech was probably speaking Indonesian.
  4. Besides being unrelated languages, Indonesian and Quechua don't sound very similar.

There are a lot of probablies in this line of thinking, and it's possible that Huttese sounds like Quechua when a Rodian speaks it and like Indonesian when a human speaks it, but absent contrary evidence I think it's safe to say Tasu Leech was speaking something else.

  • 1
    I don't know whether this supports one interpretation over another, but it's interesting and perhaps significant that Leech's lines are subtitled, while other alien-talk (like between Rey and Teedo the Teedo) is not. – Ryan Veeder Dec 21 '15 at 21:49
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    "it's possible that Huttese sounds ... like Indonesian when a human speaks it" - Wasn't Anakin speaking Huttese in Episode I? – Adeptus Dec 21 '15 at 23:59
  • @Adeptus It's possible that Huttese sounds like Indonesian when spoken by a human who doesn't have the most appalling American accent in the galaxy. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 27 '15 at 17:38
4

I noticed the word "Siji" coming out from Yayan Ruhian (Tassu Leech) and the subtitle translate it as "One", which leads me to think thats Javanese languange there! Although I am not Javanese-Indonesian but I'm well aware that some parts of Javanese languange seems involved in that line.

4

Im a pretty big scholar of all things huttese and this scene was amazing. I'm very excited to hear more about kanjiklub but I can say with about 99% certainty that they were not speaking huttese as I didn't recognize any of the conjunctions as being huttese. The closest in-universe language that I can think of (by sound) is perhaps Ubese, but since we have very few examples of Ubese (leah is speaking it when disguised as Boushh) it's hard to tell. This is also unlikely as the kanjiklub hail from a different world than the Ubese. I think this is intended to be a new language.

  • 1
    also in response to the comment about kanji being a direct reference to the earth language system, while possible, since the planet they hail from is under hutt control and called Nar Kanji, it seems that the word kanji is in fact intended to be huttese, like other hutt place names: Nar Shaddaa, Nar Kreeta, Nar Bo Sholla and Nar Hekka. – andathehutt Dec 25 '15 at 12:35
3

In Universe:

In the movie, the Kanjiklub members were indeed portrayed by Asians, specifically Indonesians1 (photo from Star Wars Databank):

enter image description here

In the novelization, however, they are described in one place as "aliens" (although their leader is elsewhere referred to as a man):

Han opened one eye. Turning, he expected the burst of Guavian fire that had failed to reach him to be replaced by a similar barrage from the Kanjiklub members. Except that another rathtar had appeared behind them and, roaring deafeningly, was busily taking the aliens apart.
- The Force Awakens (novelization) by Alan Dean Foster

The novelization doesn't tell us what language the Kanjiklub leader (Tasu Leech) speaks; it merely confirms that he doesn't like Basic, and speaks another language (which Han also speaks):

Han knew perfectly well that Tasu Leech would never deign to speak Basic, so he was not surprised when the man replied in another language - one with which Han was, fortunately, familiar.
- The Force Awakens (novelization) by Alan Dean Foster

Star Wars Databank lends credence to the claims in previous answers that the Kanjiklubbers may have spoken Huttese.

Star Wars Databank entry on Kanjiklub:

An Outer Rim criminal organization, Kanjiklub is a rival of the Guavian Death Gang. But while the Guavians are cold and technologically adept, the Kanjiklubbers are street fighters, brawling with improvised tactics and wielding a hodgepodge of blasters, knives and clubs. The group’s wild style reflects their origins as renegade slaves of the Hutts. Kanjiklub has momentarily put aside its dispute with the Guavians to settle scores with a mutual enemy – the Corellian smuggler Han Solo.

Star Wars Databank entry on Tasu Leech:

The leader of the Kanjiklub, Tasu Leech is a brutal street fighter. Leech grew up on the Hutt colony world of Nar Kanji and refuses to speak Basic, dismissing it as a “soft language for soft people” and preferring to let his Huttsplitter blaster rifle do the talking. Leech and his fighters confront Han Solo aboard his bulk freighter, angry that the Corellian has twice failed to deliver promised cargo.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - The Visual Dictionary doesn't mention the language spoken by the Kanjiklub, only echoing the Database's comment that Leech deemed Basic a "soft language for soft people".


Out of Universe:

The language is apparently a pastiche of bits and pieces borrowed from Indonesian, Sundanese (the language spoken by the actors, which is common in West Java), and other Asian languages, as well as some new phonemes intended to sound vaguely Asian. The result, which is spoken by Leech onscreen, has not been named as yet:

After being sent the relevant portion of the closely guarded script, she set about creating the alien versions of the Kanjiklubbers’ lines. Because the actors were from Indonesia, Ms. Forsberg said that she was encouraged to base her linguistic concoction on the sounds of the national language, Indonesian, as well as of the actors’ native language of Sundanese, spoken in western Java. She studied clips of those and other Asian languages to come up with something suitably exotic-sounding. Ms. Forsberg said that she sought to create alien words that would “sound credible” and “not like gibberish.”

Reached by email in Jakarta, Mr. Ruhian [who plays Tasu Leech] said that he appreciated Ms. Forsberg’s choice of sources. He received sound files of Ms. Forsberg’s creations and worked with a dialect coach on set to get the pronunciation right. Though not all of his lines survived the final edit, his character Tasu does tell Han Solo “Wrong again, Solo. It’s over for you,” and “Nowhere left to hide,” according to the English subtitles.

The as-yet-unnamed language of the Kanjiklubbers follows in the path of other alien tongues in the “Star Wars” franchise. In the original trilogy, sound designer Ben Burtt fashioned lines for the bounty hunter Greedo from the South American language Quechua, and he used bits of the Tanzanian language Haya for Lando Calrissian’s diminutive co-pilot Nien Nunb.
- Wall Street Journal, "The Languages of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'"2


1 The actor who plays Tasu Leech, Yayan Ruhian, is from Indonesia. It seems the actors portraying the rest of the gang also hailed from Indonesia.

2 Thanks to Richard for bringing this link to my attention - please remember to upvote his answer if you found the "Out of Universe" portion of my answer useful, because he dug up the article I used.

2

According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, the language was essentially gibberish, but gibberish based on the typical and common sounds of the Indonesian language spoken by the actors portraying the Kanjiklub members.

To create the Kanjiklubbers’ dialogue, Disney’s Lucasfilm enlisted Ms. Forsberg after her YouTube video “What Languages Sound Like to Foreigners” went viral in 2014. In the video, she mimics the sounds of 20 languages ranging from Estonian to Japanese, though her approximations don’t mean anything.

Ms. Forsberg, 21, has relocated to Los Angeles and is pursuing a singing career under the name Saara, but when Lucasfilm came calling, she was living in the small Finnish town of Jakobstad. She told me that she was surprised by the offer because she lacks any professional background in languages. (She speaks Finnish, Swedish and English fluently and has studied many more informally.)

“It was crazy to me, because I’m a small-town chick,” she said. She also said that she hadn’t yet seen any “Star Wars” movies when she was approached to contribute “additional alien dialect,” as the credits read.

After being sent the relevant portion of the closely guarded script, she set about creating the alien versions of the Kanjiklubbers’ lines. Because the actors were from Indonesia, Ms. Forsberg said that she was encouraged to base her linguistic concoction on the sounds of the national language, Indonesian, as well as of the actors’ native language of Sundanese, spoken in western Java. She studied clips of those and other Asian languages to come up with something suitably exotic-sounding. Ms. Forsberg said that she sought to create alien words that would “sound credible” and “not like gibberish.”

0

Unfortunately, I can only find information in Indonesian: http://www.antaranews.com/berita/538734/dialog-tasu-leech-di-star-wars-vii-bukan-bahasa-sunda

According to the actor himself, it's not his native language or any language in the real world.

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    I presume you speak Indonesian; can you translate and post the relevant quote from the article? – Jason Baker Jan 14 '16 at 20:31
0

It's allegedly a concocted fake language with Indonesian roots because the actors are Indonesian and it's easier for them to mouth it.

From the WSJ: "Because the actors were from Indonesia, Ms. Forsberg (who created that dialogue) said that she was encouraged to base her linguistic concoction on the sounds of the national language, Indonesian, as well as of the actors’ native language of Sundanese, spoken in western Java. She studied clips of those and other Asian languages to come up with something suitably exotic-sounding. Ms. Forsberg said that she sought to create alien words that would “sound credible” and “not like gibberish."

Anyway, I do understand a little bit of Bahasa Indonesia (visited that country at least three dozen times) and instantly recognize "Salah lagi" as "Wrong again". A few other words too though they don't string up too well. So, it's basically Indonesian words/sounds. Eg.: ini=this. lebih=more. untuk=for. anda=you.

Not related, but just a joke quiz. What is the Kanjiklubbers' favorite sport? Answer: Golf. Because they are Country Clubbers.

-1

But you heard the Kanjiklub leader say; "Salah lagi, Solo. Ini lebih untuk anda, dan untuk rekan anda." That was Tasu Leech's speaking. How? The actor is more on Indonesian than English, that is why a consultant on Indonesian is intended, for translation and understanding what the characters spoke. Again, Tasu can be heard speaking: "Salah lagi, Solo. Ini lebih untuk anda, dan untuk rekan anda." Watch the movie again and see what you get.

  • Thanks for the quote -- Google says it's Indonesian! translate.google.com/#auto/en/…. . So if you edit your response to say "The Kanjiklub was speaking Indonesian." I will accept your answer. – zipquincy Jan 12 '16 at 22:47

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