How many times have you jumped into a book or a TV show and found yourself enamored with a fictional language? After spending an entire season hearing fantastical words, you start to get curious. How can you get closer to these fictional people you love?
Learn their language! Yes, you can learn languages that were created for sci-fi or fantasy worlds. You can even find some of them on popular language-learning apps like Duolingo. Start with these, and who knows? Maybe soon you’ll be writing your own masterpieces in the native language of your favorite mythical world.
The "Game of Thrones" TV series may be over now, but the languages live on (and so do the books). High Valyrian is spoken by those of high status in Westeros and Essos, like the Mother of Dragons, Daenarys Targaryen. To bring these characters to life on the screen, High Valyrian was created by linguist David J. Peterson.
The language also made its way into the real world. In April, as GoT was wrapping up, a Manhattan Shake Shack announced that if you placed your order in High Valyrian, you could have access to certain special menu items for a limited time. But there’s a lot more to learning High Valyrian than ordering burgers.
Ao ynoma diniluks? (Will you marry me?)
Tubi daor. (Not today.)
Toli rhuqo lotinti, kostilus. (More pigeon pie, please.)
Clark Kent might not know this one, but Superman certainly does. Kryptonian is the language used by residents of Krypton, Superman’s home planet. Kryptonian is an ideographic language, so you’ll have to learn how to translate the images into decipherable sounds. Start with learning the Kryptonian alphabet and before you know it, you’ll be forming sentences and speaking fluently to fellow Superman fans.
Kryptonian symbols don’t work with keyboards, but you can find some idioms and proverbs translated here.
Just as Tolkien’s books haven’t gone out of style, neither has the Elvish language. You can learn both Quenya and Sindarin Elvish — two Elvish dialects that actually have enough vocabulary to fully learn. So what can you say to your Sindarin-speaking friends?
Le nathlam hí. (You are welcome here.)
Peditham hi sui vellyn? (May we speak as friends?)
Nai haryuvalyë melwa rë. (May you have a lovely day.)
If you’ve seen James Cameron’s film “Avatar,” you’ve heard this language spoken by the Na’vi people. Not surprisingly, there’s a whole online community built around learning Na’vi, from forums to Discord chats to websites with Na’vi resources. There’s even an app for it!
Here are a few starter phrases:
Ngaru lu fpom srak? (Are you well?)
Fyape syaw fko ngar? (What are you called?)
Frrfeien. (Happy to visit.)
Maybe you remember the 2001 film “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” that broke from Disney’s usual branded mold. Atlantean, the fictional language spoken in the film, was created by Marc Okrand, who brought together Hebrew, Greek, and Latin languages. It will be difficult to read the ideographic language, but the writing system is beautiful. It’s not quite the same when translated into our recognizable alphabet, but it makes it easier to learn a few phrases to travel to Atlantis.
Nageb.o.ntoh. (They will enter.)
Tok.it.bernot! (Bring it!)
Satib.yoh! (Move along!)