In the Fox series, Firefly, crew on the ship usually uses the English language. Most of the time it's modern English(Usually with southern US accent), but sometimes they use another language (or could be different languages or mix of few languages).

They'd either use only few words with this language along with English, or sometimes they use complete sentences using only this language.

(Sometimes they use the word "Gorram", which I understand similar to "God damn" from the context. Not sure this from the same language I mentioned above)

  1. What is the language they used?

  2. Is it a single language or did they used a more than one language/mix of few?

1 Answer 1


It's primarily a mix of English and Mandarin Chinese with allowances for language drift and substitutions for TV purposes.

From this answer on Science Fiction & Fantasy

The United States and China, the two great superpowers of the Earth, gradually grow together and form the Anglo-Sino Alliance (though their empires remain separate), rather than killing each other as originally predicted. In a somewhat ironic reversal, the American Empire annexes England.

[Firefly website and "A Brief History of the Universe, circa 2507 A.D." In an interview on the site, series creator Joss Whedon first described some of this background to account for the mix of cultures in the Alliance, and the pre-production memo gives further details. This history is implicit in the design of the Alliance flags seen in "The Train Job" and "Bushwhacked," a combination of the present-day flags of the two countries in question.]

You can read more on languanges used at the Firefly Wikia

For instance:

Human beings have happily fouled the gift of language with whatever inventive, vindictive, and insulting expressions they can imagine. While the traditional English swear words have survived intact, a few additional crude cuss words have been added to the common man's vocabulary.

The basics include Gorram ("Run! It's the gorram law!"), Ruttin' ("It's gettin' too ruttin' hot in here."), and Humped ("He's got a gun on us. We're humped!") Cursing in Chinese is considered more imaginative and expressive, and most everyone does it - at least when his mother has left the room.

  • So it's not something like Klingon eh?
    – Vishwa
    Jan 24, 2018 at 10:05
  • No...and yes. Some of the words are fictional but in the majority they are actual English or Mandarin words.
    – Paulie_D
    Jan 24, 2018 at 10:10
  • Klingon is whole different new language which has multiple resources to learn with(in real world) . So I thought somehow firefly has the similar. Thanks
    – Vishwa
    Jan 24, 2018 at 10:12

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