What The Minionese In The Minions Movies Means

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Attentive Minions fans — could the fans also be called “Minions?” Hm. — will likely have noted that Minionese has recurring vocabulary words (handily compiled on fan websites) used throughout the films. Mental Floss pointed out that the Minion language is constructed not of singular letter sounds, but entire vowel-consonant syllables (similar to the way Japanese operates). Their language is also pliable, affecting cognates from English, often incorporating a certain kind of “babyish” babble. Poo-pye, Bello, etc. Occasionally, their language will also recontextualize onomatopoeia as nouns. Woof-woof is “dog,” for instance. 

Since a lot of Minionese is derived from English, it appears to be uninflected; there are no singular words for various verb conjugations (“I love, you love” as opposed to “amo, amas”), nor are nouns presented with unique grammatical cases. There are no nominative, accusative, genitive cases, etc. These rules seem to change, however, when other languages begin to sneak their way into Minion lexicon. Italian, for instance (a heavily inflected Romance language) crops up from time to time: “Me le due, spetta” is Minion for “io lo faccio, spetta,” or “Wait, I’ll do it.” 

Coffin admits, however, that a lot of his writing for the Minion language is just as much a jumble as his own writing process; If there’s an Italian restaurant take-out menu in the room with him while he’s writing, then Italian will inevitably work its way into the script. It’s not as carefully constructed as, say, Klingon, which has syntax, structure, and a whole vocabulary one can learn on Duolingo.