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The top 10 made-up movie languages

The top 10 made-up movie languages (photo)

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The “The Jazz Singer” launched the age of the “talkie” for film in 1927, and ever since then spoken language has been a part of watching movies, no matter how goofy or totally made up it may be. Today, we salute the filmmakers and actors out there who have gone to the next level and brought entirely new rules for speech and grammar to the big screen.

William Shatner gets an honorable shout-out for his work learning Esperanto for “Incubus” in 1966, but our ten favorite fictional film languages of all time get even crazier. They are funny, occasionally creepy and almost always put more pressure on their subtitles, but all of these foreign tongues defined their movies and breathed life into their elaborately imagined cultures.

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10. Martian, “Mars Attacks!” (1996)
The aliens in this Tim Burton cameo-orgy spoke with a vocabulary just slightly bigger than that of the teacher in the “Peanuts” cartoons, but their dialect of Martian was about as memorable as big-screen Earth invader speech gets. If crazy and evil have their own language, truly it is the sound of these swollen-brained beings barking at humans.


9. Cityspeak, “Blade Runner” (1982)
Edward James Olmos imagined the hyper-multiculturalization of a future Los Angeles in his role as Gaff, and blended Hungarian together with German, French and other languages. The result was a vaguely Esperanto-sounding style of speech that made his words simultaneously sound a little familiar and utterly incomprehensible.


8. The language of Timoka, “The Silence” (1963)
Ingmar Bergman used Estonian as the basis for the language spoken in his invented town of Timoka from “The Silence.” His premise was ambitious, and he created one of the creepiest scenes of his career when a little boy named Johan gets treated to a meat-puppet show performed by an old Timokan man.


7. Butchered Swedish, “De Düva: The Dove” (1968)
Both lovers and haters of foreign films can find something to laugh at in this short parody film directed by George Coe and Anthony Lover. In an effort to skewer the works of Bergman, their project (featuring Madeline Kahn, incidentally) beat the Swedish Chef to theaters by more than a decade with its gibberishy depiction of Swedish.


6. Na’vi language, “Avatar” (2009)
Director James Cameron’s Oscar-winning “Halo”/amusement-park ride hybrid featured an original language constructed for the film by real-life professor Paul Frommer. Na’vi-ish started out just large enough to encompass all of the aliens’ lines for the film, but went on to grow and include songs, syntax and plenty of material for fans to use in their own jungle LARP-ing adventures.



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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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