Gellerese
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Basic Information

The 1960s television series Mission: Impossible featured international intrigue in usually fictitious foreign countries. Partially to give the settings an exotic flavor without getting too specific and partially as a running gag, the sets often featured signs in a fake language that looked vaguely Eastern European (or whatever region the episode was set it) but easy for the viewer to decipher. For example, a police car might have the word "poliiçia" lettered on the side, or a gas tank might be labeled "Gäz". These invented words were refered to as "Gellerese", after Bruce Geller, the show's producer.

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Game and Story Use

  • Signs and labels in a foreign language can help provide verisimilitude for your setting. Inventing words from a fictitious language, like Gellerese, for a fictitious setting can add an exotic touch without getting too bogged down in research.
  • And, if you can be consistent with the words and phrases you invent, your players will notice and start "learning" the language.
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