Avengers: Endgame is the latest installment of the Avengers superhero movie series from Marvel Comics. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is the film’s distributor.
Avengers: Endgame gathers the Marvel superheroes Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, War Machine, Captain Marvel, Ant Man, Rocket and several other characters who have perished in the Avengers: Infinity War. The surviving superheroes and their allies will work together to overturn the damage created by Thanos using the Infinity Stones.
Languages used in movies
It is almost de rigueur for science fiction movies, fantasy films and superhero films to have their characters speak either extant languages or commission linguists to create languages specifically for the movie, such as the following:
- Avatar – Na’vi
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Sindarin and Quenya
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – Klingon
- Star Trek, The Next Generation (TV) – Tamarian
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – Huttese
- 1984 – Newspeak
- Dune – Fremen
- Blade Runner – Cityspeak
Aside from the constructed languages (conglang) like the ones enumerated above, some movies use living languages. Do you still remember the movie, “The Gods Must Be Crazy?” The title character was called Xi, a member of the San tribe. He spoke !Kung while the other natives spoke Tswana. These languages are part of the click languages of Africa.
In the superhero movie, The Black Panther, which was shown in 2018, the main character and the villagers living in the fictional village called Wakanda spoke Xhosa, a South African language belonging to the Bantu language family. It is a language with click sounds.
The languages used in the Avengers: Endgame movie
With the number of characters in the Avengers movie franchise, it is not surprising that several languages are spoken, since the heroes alone came from different realms. Some of the languages are real, while some are constructed for the film. A variety of the languages are remarkable, simply because there are only a few words used, but they leave a lasting impression, maybe due to the character that speaks the language.
Since the Black Panther is included in the Avengers franchise, it is inevitable that the village of Wakanda will be shown in the film. The characters are said to speak Wakandan, said to be the Earth language used by the villagers, together with T’Challa, Shuri and Nakia.
Wakandan is used as the name of the language, but it reality, it is a pseudonym for isiXhosa, which is one of the 11 official languages of South Africa. According to Ryan Coogler, who directed the film, they employed dialect coaches, native speakers and translators during the production of The Black Panther because he wanted to explore the language some more in that movie. The Hausa and Yoruba languages are also spoken by some people in the movie and in the Avengers: Endgame.
The language, which is also called Xhosa, is spoken by 19,183,300 people worldwide. About 15% of the vocabulary of Xhosa came from San, which provided the click sounds to Xhosa. The language also borrowed from English and Afrikaans. It’s a tonal language, like Chinese and most African languages, where the rise and fall or the low and high intonation used by the speaker gives a word a different meaning.
Xhosa is currently the main language of instruction in primary and secondary schools in many parts of South Africa.
Speakers of Xhosa are part of amaXhosa, a large ethnic group in South Africa and they call their language isiXhosa. Xhosa has eight dialects.
Another language used in the film is Hausa, a language spoken in Central and West Africa. According to Ethnologue, 63,428,100 people speak the language. It belongs to the Chadic language family’s Western branch. The speakers of Hausa are predominantly Muslims, who helped to spread the language to many parts of Africa through their pilgrimages and commerce.
Many speakers of the Hausa language are located in northern Nigeria, where the language is used for commerce and education.
The Yoruba language belongs to the Defoid sub-branch of the larger Benue-Congo branch of the language family of Niger-Congo. About 39,844,260 speak Yoruba and many of them are found in parts of Togo and Benin and parts of southwestern Nigeria
The popular inhabitant from the Flora Colossi planet is the alien tree that appeared in the Guardians of the Galaxy. While the wee one is grumpy, he is still adorable. He has his own language, called Groot, which is also the name he’s called by the other characters in the movie. His language consists only of three words, which are the only words he can form – I am Groot. He can only utter those words because he has a wooden larynx. The meanings of those three words change depending on the inflection.
But then again, the term ‘groot’ is found in Flemish, Afrikaans and Dutch languages. In all these languages (because they are related) the term means big.
Did you know that in the final scene in Infinity War where Groot was shown reaching out to Rocket for help, an executive director explained that when he said, I am Groot, he was calling Rocket as dad?
Odin, Frigga, Thor, Loki and Hela speak Asgardian together with the inhabitants of Asgard. The realm is connected by Bifrost, the rainbow bridge to the world of humans called Midgard.
The characters living in Asgard are based on Norse mythology, thus Asgardian incorporates Old Icelandic languages. Asgard is a combination of two words. The first is aesir that translates to gods. The second is garor, which means dwelling or enclosure. Therefore, Asgard is known as the dwelling of the gods or home of the gods.
Asgardian is written in runes, using a combination of England’s Anglo-Saxon Futhark and the Elder Futhark that was used by the Norse from Scandinavia and northern Europe’s ancient Germanic peoples.
Kree, Chitauri, Skrull
- The humanoids populating the planet Hala have blue skins. They are called the Kree and they have their own language. You can find them as hieroglyphic writings such as those shown in the monolith.
- The Skrulls are said to speak Excelsior! which was shown when Stan Lee had a cameo role in the Guardians of the Galaxy. However, they speak different languages such as Tligi, Irdu and Frti.
- The Chitauri language spoken by the powerful cybernetic aliens. They were the army and air force used by Loki in “The Avengers,” the first movie in the series. Nothing much is known about their language, but it is remarkable that the word hate can be said 192 ways in the Chitauri language.
A Reaper named Yondu speaks the Centaurian language. It may be taken from the different click languages of South Africa. Yondu’s language comprises whistles, clicks and grunts.
Ebony Maw is a henchman of Thanos. He is an alien with telekinetic powers. While he speaks English most of the time, he uses a special language. Technically, it could be termed as persuasive language. Ebony Maw is a whisperer who uses his voice for mind control in order for them to do his bidding.
Real or constructed, you are likely to hear several languages aside from English spoken when you watch the Avengers: Endgame movie. Knowing a bit about these languages helps you to appreciate the attention to details the production team gives to the movie to enhance your enjoyment of Marvel’s Avengers movie franchise.
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