Movies Reviews

10 Most Iconic Fictional Languages in Movies and TV Shows

Having a complex language is part of what separates humans from animals. With over 7000 languages spoken around the globe, humankind has so many wonderful options to explore. This love of language expands into the world of media as fictional languages are often created explicitly for said media. Between the classic fictional ones, like Klingon from the Star Trek franchise, to the more recent and ever-expanding Na’vi language in Avatar, it would seem that filmmakers are diving into the world of language to create a more immersive experience for the viewer.

While plenty of films and TV shows bring out a never-before-heard language, not all of them are complex or have a full vocabulary, like City Speak in Blade Runner, which is more of a dialect than an identifiable language. The execution of a fictional language is not always done well and concurrently may not be all that memorable. That said, there are several languages that have stuck for decades. Here are 10 of the most iconic fictional languages in movies and TV shows.


10 Huttese — Star Wars

20th Century Fox

While the Star Wars galaxy is huge and features dozens of unique alien languages, the most recognizable is Huttese. Originally Spoken by the Hutt families on Nal Hutta, Huttese quickly spread and has become one of the most dominant languages in the galaxy, serving as the main one used on Tatooine. Huttese was first heard spoken by Greedo in A New Hope, but has since become the default language associated with Star Wars. Superfans of the franchise may know some basic phrases or perhaps could be fluent in this fictional language.

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9 Elvish — The Lord of the Rings

Liv Tyler in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
New Line Cinema

One of the most beautiful languages on this list, Elvish is almost immediately recognizable. J.R.R. Tolkien’s talents as a linguist shone in the creation of the Elvish language, which he spent his time perfecting before continuing to write the story of The Lord of the Rings. We hear the language spoken throughout the original movie trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, and, most recently, in Prime Video’s The Rings of Power prequel series. There are two versions of the language spoken by the elves: Quenya, spoken by the High Elves, and Sindarin, spoken by Grey Elves. Elvish is one of those languages that sounds romantic and is the opposite of aggressive, unlike other languages that emerged from the franchise.

8 Goa’uld — Stargate

Team SG-1 walks through the Stargate
MGM Domestic Television

The Goa’uld are a race of aquatic sentient parasites that take over hosts of varying species in Stargate. They serve as the antagonists throughout the original series Stargate-SG1. The language is spoken by the Jaffa, the Tok’ra, and the parasitic Goa’uld when attached to a host. Goa’uld was modeled after Ancient Egyptian, both in phonetics and in physical representation, though, in the series, hieroglyphs were based on the Goa’uld writing and language.

7 Na’vi — Avatar

20th Century Studios

James Cameron spent two decades perfecting the technology to complete the first film in the Avatar franchise, and within this time, the language of the Na’vi also received a great deal of attention. Na’vi was created by linguist Paul Frommer, who based the vocabulary on 30 words created by Cameron. The vocab in the film took six months to develop, and Frommer has since expanded upon the language and its rules. Since the release of Avatar: The Way of Water along with the announcement of four sequels, it’s clear to see that Na’vi will only be expanded upon and further researched with the potential to become as popular as Klingon or Huttese.

6 Klingon — Star Trek


Considering that it is now an official language that you can major in at some Universities like Harvard, Klingon is arguably the most iconic fictional language to ever hit mainstream media. Created by James Doohan, the actor who played Scotty, and expanded upon by Marc Okrand, Klingon is first heard in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but it would be another five years before the complete language was developed through The Klingon Dictionary. Understanding Klingon and being able to speak it is a medal of honor in some circles, with some Star Trek fans dedicating their lives to knowing the fictional language.

5 Dothraki — Game of Thrones

Momoa in Game of Thrones
Warner Bros.

The language of the Dothraki people, Dothraki, was created by Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin and was developed for the series by linguist David J. Peterson. Peterson describes Dothraki as a mixture of Arabic and Spanish so that the actors would have an easier time with pronunciation. The most famous word to emerge from the language is “Khaleesi,” the title given to Daenerys Targaryen. As seen in an episode of The Office, fans of the popular Game of Thrones series have taken time out of their lives to learn Dothraki.

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4 Valyrian — Game of Thrones / House of the Dragon


Another language to emerge from Game of Thrones is Valyrian. Based on Latin and Greek, Valyrian is an ancient language spoken by the Valyrians of Essos. A different dialect was even developed to represent that language that has devolved from its original form. Developed by Peterson, who also developed Dothraki, he based the entire language on only a few words of High Valyrian in the source material. The language has since been expanded since the release of House of the Dragon, which makes us wonder how far the language will go.

3 Parseltongue — Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Snake (1)
Warner Bros. Pictures

Created by writer J.K Rowling, Parseltongue is the fictional language spoken by serpents in the Harry Potter franchise. In the Harry Potter universe, one cannot learn parseltongue as it is almost exclusively a hereditary trait. Almost all those who spoke parseltongue, referred to as a Parselmouth, emerged from Slytherin house, with Harry being the one exception of course. The language imitates the hissing of a snake, and sounds very strange coming from a wizard. Unlike many of the other languages on this list, there is no dictionary for Parseltongue.

2 Alienese — Futurama

Futurama Bender 1200 x 630
20th Television

While Alienese is not a spoken language it is a recognizable written language nonetheless. Created by Matt Groening, Alienese is featured throughout Futurama and was initially meant to be an inside joke to see how long it would take dedicated fans to decipher what the language meant. The fans delivered, having a full translation of the alphabet so quickly that Groening decided to change the language and make it more complicated. The language even appears in the series’ feature-length films, leaving behind cute little tid-bits for those who understand.

1 Vulcan — Star Trek

Star Trek Spock
Paramount Television

Yet another language to emerge from Star Trek is Vulcan, the first language to be heard on the original series. Spoken by the Vulcan race, we first hear Spock speak in his native tongue. Similar to Klingon, the language was initially created by actor Jamed Doohan, and was later expanded upon by Marc Okrand. Trekkies have gone on to improve the dictionary and create a more conversational version of the language to go along with the iconic vulcan salute.

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