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A Brief History Of Beloved Characters Without Language

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    Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

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    The minions are everywhere. If you want to freshen your breath, the minions are there. If your feet are cold, the minions are there. Even if your dog is cold (or just tragically underdressed) the minions are there. But before you throw up your hands in defeat, resigned to never understand all these indecipherable cuties, think back to how passionately you used dedicate yourself to learning Ig-pay Atin-lay.

    There have been characters communicating in nonsense words on the big and small screens for decades, and they're usually ones fans gravitate toward. Perhaps the fact that their utterances are open to interpretation makes it easy for us to project our own thoughts onto them. To be clear, these are characters who might be understood by others onscreen, but will always exist behind a language barrier for audiences at home. (So those who deal in Elvish, Na'vi or Dothraki need not apply.) Revisit our favorite linguistically limited characters, ahead.


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    The Adults, Peanuts (1965)

    The creatives behind Peanuts truly nailed what kids hear when their teacher tries to teach them to solve for x.

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    Swedish Chef, The Muppet Show (1975)

    Swedish Chef is at his most engaging when familiar-ish words shine through his mess of consonants. He's like the drunk friend who wakes up on your sofa, insisting you make him "flappen jacken" with extra syrup.

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    Chewbacca & R2-D2, Star Wars (1977)

    Chewy might not have a way with words, but his throaty cry has launched a million impressions.

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    Spike, The Land Before Time (1988)

    Spike's adorableness rests on his silence and the reason behind it — if you're going to fill your days with snack time and nap time, there really isn't time for conversation.

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    So Many Disney Sidekicks (1990s)

    While we wouldn't normally expect animals to talk, the fact that Ariel gabs with fish and crabs and Belle chats with all manner of furniture means a non-verbal animal in the world of Disney seems like the exception to the rule. But what they lack in vocabulary, they make up for with their charades skills.