The new Despicable Me movie is on its way to theaters at the end of this month. This means we’ll get to see once more on the big screen the cute little Minions. Fans will surely be delighted to hear them in their adorable, sometimes comprehensible, sometimes gibberish Minions language.
This also means another opportunity to figure out the Minions language or for zealous fans to agree among themselves the meanings of the new words the Minions speak.
Someone Said the B Word
Before anything else, let’s drop the bomb first: BOOBS! If you’ve watched the latest official Despicable Me 3 trailer, you likely caught that small part when one of the Minions spoke a word you surely easily and quickly recognized.
Yes, one usually gibber-blabber little critter verbalized “boobs” out loud in the Minions language! It’s not difficult to figure out what the word means because the context was all too conspicuous.
As a pair of Minions were passing along the hallway in the Gru family castle, one of them uttered a line that sounded like “Si Gru can boobs.” “Si” could be “ze” (that Russian “the”) and “gru” could be “grew,” but what’s unmistakable is the “boobs” part.
The Minion uttering the line was gesturing the “boobs,” seemingly holding its imaginary large breasts and bursting into a hearty chuckle. Also, after the line was uttered, a statue of what looked like a female Gru with large breasts was shown. This part of the Minions language was all-too-easy to decode!
The message doesn’t need so much deciphering. It was obviously making fun of Gru. It most likely could be translated as “Look, Gru has boobs,” if it were spoken by ordinary humans spotting the Gru-looking statue. Even if we were to over-analyze, the message couldn’t be different.
In the line “Si Gru can boobs,” “si” could be the Filipino article specifically used for persons while “Gru” is Gru’s name. “Can,” on the other hand, could be based on how “can” is used in the bafflingly catchy “I Can Has Cheezburger.” Lastly, “boobs” is simply boobs or the vulgar term for the breasts or busts. Minions language 101.
Related Post: The Minions’ language is a combination of French, Spanish, English… and Food References
Starring in Despicable Me 3, Still Cutely Malevolent
Despite being mostly perceived as cute creatures, it’s worth noting that the Minions have an affinity for villainy. They have always been serving villainous masters, starting with the T-Rex down to the Neanderthal man, the Egyptian Pharaoh, Count Dracula, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Scarlet Overkill.
Well, they’re not called “minions” for nothing after all. Being referred to as a "minion" in the movies rarely means being a good character.
For those who have been overwhelmed by the cuteness, putting emphasis on the Minions’ natural association with villains might be necessary. These yellow critters have been successfully using cuteness, maybe unwittingly, to hide their wicked nature. Even without turning into the purple “evil” minions after getting injected with the chemical PX-41, the Minions are not meant to be do-gooders.
As the Despicable Me 3 trailer suggests, the Minions have somewhat become bored with a goodie dudey Grud, slightly mutinous even. That’s why Grud’s return to villainy, upon the goading of his twin brother, seems to sound like music to the ears of the yellow critters. The Minions appear to enjoy every bit of being the nefarious lackeys always eager to support a wicked master, albeit dangerously clumsily.
On Proteins and the Evolutionary Disconnect
Here’s a little trivia: researchers have discovered a tiny new protein and they decided to call it Minion. This is not a joke. Researchers at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation have discovered a new protein. They are calling this new protein microprotein inducer of fusion—Minion for short. This new protein appears to play a vital role in holding muscle cells together.
It would be doltish to discuss Minions with a scientific purview, but we can’t help not digging into the biological nature and origin of the Minions. Based on various wikis and articles written about them, they are supposedly the result of the evolution of a single-celled organism.
They are likely millions of years in existence, considering that they were able to serve a T-Rex and a Neanderthal man. Unfortunately, there’s this disconnect in their evolution. With millions of years in existence, the Minions language is something you would expect to have been perfected among Minions. If they really existed for a long long time, they should have already learned to use a polished Minions language and not be bound by gibberish!
Again, this is not being seriously scientifically analytical. It’s just that we can’t help noticing this. The Minions are a work of fiction and are definitely not a good example for learning language and translation.
They seem to know some foreign words (and can use the words correctly most of the time), but are unable to speak a proper language. The Minions language is like they were taught how to speak by several bad language translators all at the same time. It’s as if they failed to meet a good language teacher as they dealt with masters who spoke different languages.
The Minions Language
What languages do the Minions speak in the Minion movie? As we have already discussed in an earlier post, the Minions language is a combination of many things. There are words from different languages used in their exact meanings most of the time. Some words are from fruits and foods.
There’s also some onomatopoeia or words that imitate the sound they denote. And of course, there’s the gibberish. As discussed, it’s difficult to figure out how the Minions language works because it appears to be just a random combination of words and sounds.
There’s no effort exerted to construct this language and there appears to be no intention of doing so. Based on production notes for the 2013 Despicable Me movie, the language is merely described as gibberish mixed with random foreign words. The words don’t necessarily mean anything, except maybe when it becomes obvious that certain foreign words appear to be used, just as how they are used by the speakers of such foreign words.
The Minions language charts you may find online are mere enumerations of words with their corresponding (supposed) meanings. They don’t establish a pattern or guide on usage.
How Do You Decode the Minions Language? You Don't!
If you are wondering how to decode the Minions language, don’t bother. It’s not something you can decode methodically or instinctively. The best that can possibly happen is for the vocabulary to grow to a significant amount (maybe around 10,000 words) and for fans to come up with a consensus on what the words mean and how they are used to form thoughts or sentences.
For now, the number of words used in the Minions language is not enough to figure out a language, particularly when it comes to grammar, structure, usage, and morphology. For now, there’s just no sensible way to learn how to speak Minions language.
Related Post: Which Country Has The Most Languages in The World?
Minionese as a Marketing Tool
Again, the Minions language is mostly gibberish and random foreign words. It may not even be something that can be considered language. Interpreting it is probably a lost cause. However, it’s quite clear that Minionese is serving as an excellent marketing tool. It is a great strategy for promoting the Despicable Me movie franchise.
Just consider the kind of free press coverage the movie got in different countries as it was revealed that the Minions uttered words in Filipino, Korean, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, French, Thai, Spanish, Hindi, and other non-English languages. Many cinema goers in different parts of the world knew about the movie or became more interested in the movie after learning about the random foreign words used in it.
There likely is at least one Minions language word you know and it is possible that this is something that unwittingly made you curious about the Despicable Me and Minions movies. Ironically, the gibberish and incoherent random use of foreign words appear to have successfully communicated with you through a clever marketing strategy.
Admit it, there’s that feeling of being “included” or that sense of trivial importance after hearing one or two words from your language being used in the movie! You likely read or clicked on that news or feature story by your local media or bloggers about some words from your language uttered in the Minions language.