Mark Rylance Discusses The BFG’s Tongue-Tickling Language, Shares Profound Lesson

The BFG actor Mark Rylance apparently had a little fun with the tongue-tickling language for his titular character.

During an “Ask the BFG” Q&A session on Twitter, the Oscar-winning actor was asked to explain how he mastered the”tongue-ticking language” known as gobblefunk when playing the Big Friendly Giant.

Ironically, the tongue tickling and twisting language of gobblefunk spoken by the BFG was apparently not a new challenge at all for Rylance. According to Mark, language in general is a challenge for him.

“Believe it or not, I’ve always found language quite challenging and often say the wrong word and stumble over words, so that part came naturally to me… I sometimes can’t think of the right word to say… I even sometimes make up a word or say a word that’s near to the right word but not quite the right word which amuses my family very much.”

Long before the 56-year-old English actor starred in movies, his background mostly consisted of theatrical work on the stage as an actor as well as behind the scenes. His professional career as an actor reportedly started in 1980 while working at the Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre. Over the years, his stage work earned him several awards and accolades – including three Tony Awards out of four nominations.

Even with all of his success and experience in the theater, however, Mark Rylance admits that his problem with language has even made its way into quite a few stage performances as well.

“I’ve even forgotten my words in the middle of Shakespeare plays and had to make up Shakespeare and witness the whole cast turn and look at me and think, ‘Now, we’re going to enjoy this!’ And none of them help me by giving me a tip or a cue…”

As soon in the recorded video footage, Mark Rylance found it hard not to smile and laugh his way through, providing a genuine response to that particular question. Simply picturing the Bridge of Spies actor making up words during a Shakespearean play would probably make most people laugh. However, towards the end of his response to the fan’s question, Mark shared a profound lesson about creativity that spoke volumes.

“Anyway, if you didn’t have space like that caused by loss of memory, you wouldn’t be able to create something new. So, I enjoyed the gobblefunk very much.”

Those that are familiar with the Roald Dahl book The BFG are more than likely familiar with the concept (and overall difficulty) of speaking and understanding gobblefunk. The author’s official website contains a glossary filled with quite a few words from the language (which was actually created by Roald Dahl as well).

For instance, here is a brief list of several words found in the gobblefunk glossary:

  • buckswashling
  • atasterous
  • delumptious
  • gruncious
  • propsposterous
  • ucky-mucky
  • whoopsey-splunkers

Understanding what each of those words means is fairly simple for those that are familiar with the book. When The BFG is released in theaters, quite a few moviegoers will more than likely use context clues to figure out what the strange words mean. However, one has to give credit to Mark Rylance for actually using the confusing yet creative words during his performance in this highly-anticipated film.

The BFG made its big debut at Cannes on Saturday. The film, which was co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, also features performances from Jemaine Clement, Penelope Wilton, Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Rafe Spall, and Ruby Barnhill as “Sophie.”

Fans and critics will be able to see Mark Rylance speaking gobblefunk on the big screen when The BFG is released in theaters in July.

[Image Credit: Ian Gavan/Getty Images]