We’re back to talk about another great 2021 science fiction film remake, directed by Dennis Villeneuve. If you’re a fan of books turned movies, Dune and the languages of Dune won’t disappoint. The Dune novel was written by American author Frank Herbert in 1965.
For watchers,(or readers), Dune carries its audience on an epic adventure with its main protagonist Paul Atreides who travels to the most dangerous planet in the cosmos to ensure the safety of his family and his people.
Only those who can overcome their own fear will live, as evil forces erupt into a fight over the planet’s limited supply of the most priceless resource ever.
David J. Peterson, who constructed the Dothraki and Valyrian languages in Game of Thrones, was hired to build the Dune languages in order to create several otherworldly dialects in the Frank Herbert adaptation. Let’s do what we do best and dive into dissecting the languages of Dune.
Understanding the Languages of Dune
Galach is a fictional language and was the most frequently used language in the known universe and the official language of the Imperium.
Along with many other old Earth languages, it developed mostly from English and several Slavic languages. Like any other language, it changed over the centuries and included different cultural elements.
The majority of conventional humans, as well as some genetically transformed humans like the futars and the Bene Tleilax, spoke Galach in one way or another. Despite regional accents, Galach was commonly intelligible from one planet to the other.
Because of its popularity, there were many variations of the Galach language, including; Azhar, Battle language, Bhotani, Isalamiyet, Chakbosa, The Fremen language, and Farsi.
The Fremen Language
This language descended from Arabic spoken on earth and Chakobosa, which was spoken on Arrakis by the Zensunni, who went on to become the Fremen.
The Fremen live on the desert planet Arrakis or Dune, which is the only known source in the universe of the vital spice, melange. Long overlooked by the rest of the Imperium and regarded as primitive savages, when in reality, they are extremely resilient people.
One Sayyadina named Yarbuz, gained access to the memories of all the Sayyadinas in her lineage while on Rossak. Subsequent Reverend Mothers who had the same experience discovered how far the language had deviated from its original form and started teaching the people to speak in its original form.
Chakobsa is also known as the magnetic language. It is a hybrid language derived from various ancient Bhotani dialects, primarily the Bhotani hunting language. The language most likely developed following the first several Wars of Assassins. Many societies, like the Bene Gesserit and the Fremen, began to use it to varying degrees.
When the known universe was being ruled by House Corrino, House Atreides used Chakobsa as their battle language.
Neo Languages of Dune
Numerous houses created special code words, verbal encryption techniques, and other linguistic safeguards. The Bene Tleilax are later shown to have developed a language based on whistling; the Atreides and Harkonnen are both known to use “battle language” while in battle.
Additionally, Count Hasimir Fenring and his wife the Lady Margot appear to have developed a private language based on humming; the Bene Gesserit & House Atreides use separate, silent “finger-flicking” language which they use to communicate secretly while speaking Galach simultaneously.
Lady Jessica and Paul first communicated with each other via House Atreides’s sign language. Later, while interviewing a potential new housekeeper on Arrakis, Lady Jessica communicated a potential threat to her guard using sign language.
The strategic use of sign language was finally strategically demonstrated when Paul, and Lady Jessica, were captured by three Harkonnen henchmen. Jessica then reiterated the value of communication to the family by using covert signals to guide Paul as they made their escape.
Why Should I Watch Dune and Gain an Understanding of the Languages of Dune?
If you’re a sci-fi fanatic and appreciate stellar visuals, complex plot lines, and great costumes, then you should watch ‘Dune’. So you didn’t get to see it on the big screen, but that doesn’t subtract from the amazing experience you’ll have if you pull it up at your home theater or even on your laptop.
There’s an added bonus to watching the movie if you’re a lover of fictional languages or simply languages in general. The attention to detail is astounding and allows for the audience to become fully submerged from beginning to end.
Featuring talented actors including Timothy Chalamet, Jason Momoa, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, and Stellan Skarsgard, watchers can look forward to one of the most impressive performances in a sci-fi film.
For all our die-hearted sci-fi fans, you’ll be thrilled to know that the director of ‘Dune’, Dennis Villenueve is well known for his other films ‘Arrival’ and ‘Blade Runner 2049’. These films are amazing examples of how Villenueve could expertly put a sci-fi film together.
We find that watching movies that make use of multiple languages, whether fictional or not, encourages us to want to learn more about countries, customs and some of us might even begin searching for opportunities to travel, explore and experience more languages and rich cultures around the world.
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