The BFG is set to hit theaters on Friday, so fans of the Roald Dahl children's book rejoice. The film, directed by Stephen Spielberg, is an adaptation of Dahl's 1982 book capturing the adventures between a big friendly giant (BFG) and a young girl named Sophie in England. But if you're not familiar with Dahl's work or The BFG story specifically, you may be asking: why does the BFG talk funny? It would be a fair question to ask, and welcome to the world of Gobblefunk.
Dahl created a language that's used in his literature called Gobblefunk. The big friendly giant speaks Gobblefunk, therefore, if you plan on seeing Spielberg's adaptation, then you may want to familiarize yourself with the language. You know, words like delumptious, swizzfiggling, and whizzpopper. Easy enough, right?
It’s wonderful. We’ve kept very loyal to Dahl. It’s a very loyal interpretation of the book. The challenge is going to be in different foreign countries, doing the dub, finding the equivalent word in the lexicon of Italian or French or German or Spanish, you know what I’m saying?
As for the man playing the big friendly giant, Mark Rylance, he explained that it was important for him to add more Gobblefunk words to the script with the film's screenwriter, the late Melissa Mathison, since some words were previously omitted in fear that the unique language would lose audiences. "I was very keen to put more of it back, and when Steven heard me speak it, of course it was more understandable then when you look at it on the page,” Rylance said, according to EW. “So Melissa and I had a lovely time going through the script and comparing it to the book again and putting a bit more Gobblefunk back in.”
The BFG cast includes Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, and newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie. Spielberg referred to casting Barnhill as the film's leading role "good fortune."
So, if you plan on hitting the theater to see The BFG anytime soon and want to know a bit more of the Gobblefunk language, you're in luck. According to Public Radio International, an actual Gobblefunk-inspired dictionary, Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary, will be released later this year, containing 8,000 words, with more than 500 Dahl-created words. But in the meantime, there's plenty of information and glossaries out there to help get you up to speed.