189 votes
Accepted

What language(s) were Yoda's speech patterns based on?

In an article addressed, this subject was. “Surprisingly, there are a very few languages—it seems to be in single digits—that use OSV [Object Subject Verb] as their basic or normal order,” Pullum ...
Mikasa's user avatar
  • 7,640
115 votes

Why does Fleur say "zey, ze" instead of "they, the" in Harry Potter?

Rowling is using alternate spelling to bring across Fleur's accent. In English-speaking popular culture, it's common to stereotype French people speaking English as replacing voiced dental fricatives (...
Jason Baker's user avatar
93 votes
Accepted

Were the Smurfs the first to smurf their smurfs?

It is hard to say for certain, as the search terms to apply for "smurfing" aren't very clear. However: Although there's likely to be many stories for children where a character replaces a ...
Nox's user avatar
  • 826
80 votes
Accepted

Is Picard actually fluent in French?

Picard speaks fluent French. Not only was he born and raised in France but we see him speaking French confidently with a French accent, swearing in French under his breath and singing French songs on ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 690k
70 votes

Did Balrogs have their own language?

They almost definitely could talk, probably Melkian. Balrogs are corrupted Maiar. We know that other Maiar can speak (e.g. Gandalf, Sauron). If balrogs can't speak, it would mean they lost that ...
Ben Osborne's user avatar
  • 2,429
65 votes
Accepted

How did C3PO know the Ewok Language?

C-3PO learnt the Ewok language through observation. A few points from Legends have to be made to come to this conclusion: The 3PO-series protocol droids are equipped with a TranLang III ...
thegreatjedi's user avatar
  • 34.2k
65 votes

How does “Valar morghulis” translate to “all men must die”?

It likely doesn't, at least not properly. George R. R. Martin has said several times he only creates words as he needs them and is no linguist. In fact the actual language itself is only a handful of ...
TheLethalCarrot's user avatar
  • 143k
64 votes

Did Balrogs have their own language?

We don't know There are no instances in any of Tolkien's writings of a Balrog speaking, so it's not clear whether they could, or what language they would have spoken. They were, however, definitely ...
Jason Baker's user avatar
61 votes
Accepted

How is Yoda's speech translated to non-English languages?

There's an interesting extract from The Open University's OpenLearn website on precisely this: This is easily replicated in other languages that also have follow the SVO order, but others have to ...
Aurora0001's user avatar
60 votes

Does this website provide consistent translation into Wookiee?

We actually know several Wookiee words and phrases, courtesy of the Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know factbook. How to speak Shyriiwook "WYAAAAAA!" = "Hello!" &...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 690k
59 votes

How did C3PO know the Ewok Language?

Based on what 3PO tells Han, it sounds like he doesn't explicitly know the Ewok language, and that he's extrapolating based on what he does know. He notes that they're using a "primitive dialect" and ...
phantom42's user avatar
  • 134k
59 votes

What language(s) were Yoda's speech patterns based on?

There is some evidence to suggest that Yoda's speech is based on, well, English. In this The Week article (I suggest reading the whole thing, the argument seems pretty convincing to me), Yoda's speech ...
DaaaahWhoosh's user avatar
  • 11.9k
48 votes

Were the Smurfs the first to smurf their smurfs?

Like the Smurfs I am Belgian, French-speaking native and also a comic fan since my childhood. I grew reading the smurfs, in their original version. I emphasis on this because it has an importance in ...
Thomas G's user avatar
  • 589
47 votes

Did Balrogs have their own language?

No: they don't talk at all. From Tolkien's Letters, Letter #210: The Balrog never speaks or makes any vocal sound at all. Above all he does not laugh or sneer. ... Z[immerman] may think that he ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 134k
47 votes
Accepted

Was Tolkien's concept of an Oliphaunt borrowed from Afrikaans?

Probably not. When guiding translators on how to properly render the word "Oliphaunt", Tolkien explicitly said that he had derived it from the Old French 'Olifant', saying that the intent ...
ibid's user avatar
  • 93.8k
43 votes
Accepted

Was the Tamarian language in "Darmok" inspired by Jack Vance's "The Asutra"?

According to an interview with Star Trek Magazine, the show's co-writer Joe Menosky came up with the idea of a metaphor-based language from two key concepts; the linguistic notions of John Ciardi (...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 690k
41 votes
Accepted

How did Finn learn to understand Chewie so quickly?

Vanity Fair reported in their The Rise of Skywalker preview that the gap between the two movies is "about a year." Assuming that was based on conversations with producers and is likely accurate*, that'...
TenthJustice's user avatar
  • 39.7k
39 votes
Accepted

How is it possible that Gollum speaks Westron?

The Stoors lived in Eriador before Smeagol's people moved to the Gladden. Firstly, the Hobbits had began to learn letters and languages long before Smeagol was even born, let alone before he left ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.3k
36 votes
Accepted

What is the strongest profanity used in a Star Trek show?

Some of this will depend on how you personally rate the offensiveness of the words: Pre-Discovery Bloody, bollocks - Uttered by Miles O'Brien on a few episodes of DS9 (Also Scotty on "Relics") Son ...
JohnP's user avatar
  • 19.6k
35 votes

What language does Leia speak when disguised as bounty hunter Boushh?

Leia is speaking Ubese Boushh is an Ubese and he (she when it is Leia disguised as Boushh) speaks Ubese This is shown in the Return of the Jedi novelization by James Kahn: "He bowed low and then ...
Cearon O'Flynn's user avatar
34 votes

How does Rey know the Wookiee language?

She picked it up by interacting with offworlders. According to Pablo Hidalgo’s TFA Visual Dictionary (which is canon): Rey’s interaction with offworlders has allowed her to learn nonhuman ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 134k
33 votes

What did Christopher Tolkien mean by "Tolkien's fifteenth invented language"?

The original listing of these languages is so much more complicated than this, because Tolkien always changed or created new dialects. Tolkien's glossopoeia has two temporal dimensions: the internal (...
burcu's user avatar
  • 7,944
33 votes
Accepted

Are there any invented tonal languages in sci-fi and fantasy?

Láadan Is a tonal constructed language created by Suzette Haden Elgin in 1982 included in her science fiction Native Tongue series. Actually a feminist science-fiction. It was created with the ...
Ram's user avatar
  • 10.8k
33 votes
Accepted

Trying to remember the title of the novel I thought Arrival was based on

You are remembering a short story not a novel. Specifically, the story is Try to Remember by Frank Herbert. It has been identified before in the questions Science Fiction short story about learning to ...
32 votes
Accepted

How does “Valar morghulis” translate to “all men must die”?

Yes, valar morghūlis does mean ‘all men must die’. TheLethalCarrot’s answer gives most of the background of High Valyrian, but unfortunately misparses some of the grammar of the sentence, which ...
Janus Bahs Jacquet's user avatar
31 votes
Accepted

First use of the term "belter" in sci-fi as the demonym for asteroid belt inhabitants?

The Oxford English Dictionary has the sense of belter: Science Fiction. Also with capital initial. A native or inhabitant of an asteroid belt; esp. one who works as a miner. going back to 1966, ...
Buzz's user avatar
  • 97.4k
29 votes

If Harry spoke two or more languages, what would it sound like to him if he talked to a snake?

He would probably hear what he expected to hear We actually do have a case where Harry hears, if not two languages, at least words from two languages. As the snake slid swiftly past him, Harry could ...
Adamant's user avatar
  • 116k
29 votes
Accepted

Chinese in Serenity?

There were at least 11 instances of Chinese pidgin that made it into the theatrical cut of Serenity. I've listed them below for ease of searching, along with what each statement actually means. Given ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 690k
29 votes

Does this website provide consistent translation into Wookiee?

Seeing how typing "hello" doesn't give a consistent translation, I'd say 'no'.
DCOPTimDowd's user avatar
  • 10.9k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible