The language of the Moomins is a wonderful linguistic gem originally created in Swedish by the real Moominmamma: author Tove Jansson. This year we celebrate that 100 years have passed since her birth in 1914. In Finland and all around the world, this is commemorated all year long. Here you can read more about the special events taking place. Lexiophiles’ contribution to this celebration will of course be language-related, looking at 3 interesting features regarding the language of the Moomins, namely idiomatic expressions, made-up languages and character names:
- Idiomatic expressions:
First of all, Tove Jansson has given us a lot of nice idioms. My favourite one is by far this one: By my tail! Moominpappa’s standard line has got to be one of the nicest euphemisms ever. So I recommend you to pick this one up and to use it the next time you’re in need of bursting out an Oh my God!
- Made-up languages:
The adorable characters Thingumy and Bob (Tofslan och Vifslan in Swedish) have their own special language. Using spoonerism, they have their very own take on language and it’s totally adorable! Unfortunately, it hasn’t been retained in the English version of the popular Japanese TV-series, but in this adaptation, you can hear a bit of their language at 00:25:
- Name of characters:
Finally, seriously – with names like Too-Ticky, the Groke, Sorry-oo, Gaffsie, Fuzzy and Toffle who can disagree with the fact that there’s so much creativity and playfulness in this language?!? Whether totally made-up or adapted from the meaning of an existing word, they sure as hell are ingenious. Find out which character you resemble the most! Please go ahead and share your result in a comment below!
You can also test your knowledge about the Moomin characters with our test.