• Jason Momoa and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones (HBO)Source: HBO
Game of Thrones may have been the first series to do many things, but making up a language isn't one of them
Jeremy Cassar

8 Jul 2016 - 9:28 AM  UPDATED 8 Jul 2016 - 9:31 AM

Lawvehpravhe qw Sgvoot Sgvoot Fravhevgoot Listicle!

Which means: “Welcome to fantastic fantastic internet listicle!” in Southern Concocterage, the language I coined not five minutes ago.

In all seriousness, while Emilia Clarke could speak in tongues and make it sound meaningful, a language like Dothraki isn’t cobbled together at random. Lexicon-men and women Like David J Peterson go to great pains to create entire etymologies to support their new language, purely for our entertainment.

Here are the best fictional gdvootages from TV and film.


Dothraki/Valyrian (Game of Thrones)

Anha dothrak adakhatoon – I just ate

It’d come as no surprise if today’s teenagers were as versed in Dothraki as in their native tongue.

Peterson has created what is perhaps the most convincing fictional language since Tolkien’s Sindarin, Quenya and the hundred other languages that hyper-imaginative bastard created.


Klingon (Star Trek)

mamI' DaneH'a'? nItebHa' mamI' DaneH'a'? – Would you like to dance with me?

On the set of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, James Doohan, otherwise known as Scotty (aka the man that beams things up), began improvising crazy sounds and syllables on set. Before then, the alien race known as Klingons had spoken English.

In 1985, Marc Okrand took Scotty’s improv and developed an entire dictionary. To this day, Klingon remains the most renowned invented on-screen language, boasting its own org-suffixed institute.


Alienese (Futurama)

While The Simpsons is universally loved and respected, Futurama boasts a borderline unsettling fan base. The creators reward these fans with in-jokes and background puzzles, most famously in the introduction of Alienese.

The alphabet that formed the intergalactic language was a simple cipher, quickly solved by fans. The second incarnation of Alienese, however, was complex and puzzling, and eventually unscrambled by viewers. Now, there’s an online decoder.


Goa’uld language (Stargate SG1)

Kal kek m'al shol'va – Ready to die, traitor?

First mentioned by James Spader in the original Stargate film, Goa’uld-speak wasn’t spoken until its cult sci-fi spin-off series, which ran for a decade. It’s basically the main form of communication between Stargate’s races.

When spoken, the Goa’uld language is a crazy mish-mash of sounds. When seen written on-screen, its alphabet draws from Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphics, and Chinese characters, yet somehow was (apparently) still perfectly translatable.


Orkan (Mork & Mindy)

Limakook - lubricating oil

The origins of Planet Ork’s language are relatively unknown – but all bets are on Robin Williams making random noises while the writer’s took notes then went away and turned it into something more official.

As nobody from Earth spoke Orkan, we weren’t privy to many exchanges of dialogue in Williams-speak, but fans have collated enough Orkan words to warrant a decent glossary


Hipsterspeak (Louie)

I cadaa janaa vadanaa, it’s totally yanadaa – I something something something. It’s totally something

OK, so this is cheating. Louis CK enters a typical millennial café, and the hipster patrons all converse in a language the poor sod can’t understand.

Although no translation exists, CK obviously dictated an intonation and pattern of speech that could technically constitute a fictional language – letting us imagine the nature of each inane conversation.


You don't have to watch shows in made-up languages when SBS On Demand is already streaming a real variety of international languages with the best new Drama series from around the world.
Check out our wrap-ups of the best addictive new series streaming now at SBS On Demand:

Why people think they hate subtitles
“I don’t want to read a movie.” You’re not. That would involve tracking down the screenplay.
Even MORE World Drama is coming to SBS On Demand
Gird your loins: there's more to binge on than ever at SBS On Demand. As the winter cold creeps in, it's time to get under the doona and get watching!
The new must-see dramas from around the world, now on SBS On Demand
Time to get your binge on…