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Newt Scamander’s Encyclopedia

November 12, 2018 Lifestyle News No Comments Email Email

The fictional languages in the Wizarding universe are not fully fleshed out, but their mention still gives us a glimpse into a magical multicultural society. Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hits cinemas next Friday (Nov 16), Babbel (the world’s number one language learning app) explores some of the Beasts we could hear from.

  • Giant, spoken by Grawp, Hagrid’s half-brother. Although it is never explicitly mentioned, we know that the Giants must have their own language because Hagrid is faced with a language barrier when he tries to forge an alliance between the Giants and the Order of the Phoenix in the war against Lord Voldemort.

Example: Gurg, meaning “chief”

  • Gobbledegook, the native language of Goblins at the Gringotts Wizarding Bank. It is described as a “rough and unmelodious tongue, a string of rattling, guttural noises.” All the Goblins we meet speak accent-free English. Gobbledegook also has a written form, as it was one of the 72 languages that Miranda Goshawk’s Book of Spells was published in.

Example: Bladvak, meaning “pickaxe” (according to Ludo Bagman who only knows one word in Gobbledegook)

  • Mermish, as spoken by the Merpeople in Hogwarts lake, is a language specifically adapted for use underwater, where it sounds like English to Harry’s ears. Out of water, the language changes to a screeching, harsh and raspy sound (we hear that sound whenever Harry opens his golden egg above water in The Goblet of Fire). Non-Merpeople can learn the language (Albus Dumbledore was a known non-Merperson speaker), but Newt Scamander’s textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them tell us that Merpeople are unable to converse in anything except Mermish while above water.
  • Acromantulas, the giant spiders that Hagrid is so fond of, have near human intelligence and are able to speak. You probably still don’t want to stop for a chat, you know… because they might eat you alive.
  • Centaurs like the ones who live in the Forbidden Forest are capable of human speech. We wonder if they also speak Horse… or is it Horsish… Horsenian?
  • In the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them textbook Jarveys are described as: “It resembles an overgrown ferret in most respects, except for the fact that it can talk. True conversation, however, is beyond the wit of the Jarvey, which tends to confine itself to short (and often rude) phrases in an almost constant stream.”
  • Manticores are described in the textbook Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them as “a highly dangerous Greek beast with the head of a man, the body of a lion and the tail of a scorpion.” They are capable of intelligent speech.

You can’t learn magical languages with Babbel, but one of these 14 real ones might turn out to be more practical!

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