Sul Sul! Or hello! Sorry, that wasn’t English, nor Portuguese, nor Greek, nor Latin. In fact, it’s not even a language that you might have heard out on the streets! It is actually Simlish – the official language of The Sims 4!
If you ask a serious simmer about the nature of Simlish, chances are that they will ramble on for hours. (Un)fortunately, that includes us at SnootySims! So we took this opportunity to present everything we know about Simlish and what you should know if you’re just starting out with The Sims games.
So without further ado, let’s dive deep into this fun topic!
What is Simlish?
Simlish is a fictional language used in The Sims video game series. And it was created as a substitute for a generic real-world language. Instead of speaking in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, or any other language in the world, our Sims 4 characters speak in Simlish. They have a repertoire of hundreds and hundreds of different words and phrases, so we can safely say that Simlish is a genuine language.
But is Simlish a serious language?
Absolutely, in every sense of the word! Simlish isn’t simply a collection of gibberish and made-up words. Instead, it’s an organized system that makes perfect sense in the context it’s in. And every simmer out there completely understands the meaning behind every Simlish word or phrase, even though they don’t actually speak the language.
Simlish has been the official language of The Sims franchise since its beginning. At first, it was just a compilation of a few phrases. However, with different games and expansions over the years, Simlish has also grown and expanded. And now we have this extensive compilation of words and phrases that everybody understands but can’t quite translate.
So what are the facts that we conclude for The Sims 4 language?
First of all, Simlish is a self-sufficient system that works ideally on its own. It doesn’t require any of the real-world languages to sustain him, and the game can function without them.
Second, Simlish isn’t a complete language. In fact, Simlish constantly grows. Here and there, the voice actors would record a couple of new words or sentences, and they’ll add them to the game. So, this is a live and rich language!
And lastly, Simlish will not be replaced by any other language system in the future Sims games!
How Was the Official Language of The Sims Created?
The Need for a New Language
Simlish has quite an interesting origin story.
It all begun with Will Wright, the creator of The Sims franchise. In the late 90s, the video game designer had an original idea to create a life simulation game that we could all play. And while he would eventually pursue and realize this idea, he had one tiny little problem.
During the development stage of The Sims, when things were still raw and unpolished, Will Wright knew that the game would need a dialogue. After all, the game was about simulating the real world, including the people. And people talk. A lot!
So, Will Wright was put in a difficult position. “Do I simply put English as the primary language of The Sims?”, “Should the game be translated to all popular languages of the world, such as German and Spanish?”, “Wouldn’t a real language sound repetitive and boring since people will play the game for hours?”.
And although Will Wright would think about all of these problems, he was troubled by one fact the most – the repetitive use of the same phrases. You see, The Sims isn’t exactly like the real world. It’s a closed and finished project, with a definite number of audio recordings for our Sims. That means that even if there were 5 different versions of “How are you?” in The Sims, we would still find it annoying after a while.
In the end, the father of The Sims series decided that he needed a brand new language, something that would work for all players around the world. Soon after this, preparation would start about developing such language for the first time in video gaming history.
With the idea of inventing a new language universal for all players of The Sims worldwide, the creators entered even a more difficult position.
Language is something that comes naturally to us, and we don’t really think about it that much. Most of our words, phrases, and manners, are learned when we’re very young, so we don’t put much thought into how we actually talk. However, this is completely different when creating a new language, and you need to think about every possible detail.
Simply put, the developers had two choices – they could either combine two or more languages into one or simply create a new language from nothing. Needless to say, both of these options require an absurd amount of work!
So, Will Wright and his crew went with the first option. They experimented with many different languages of the world, some that are widely spoken and some that are nearly dead. Navajo, Ukrainian, and Estonian were the languages they toyed with the most. They would also try numbers, words, and phrases to see how they could fit into the gameplay.
But the developers also tried to combine the Ukrainian, Navajo, Romanian, Irish, Tagalog, and other languages into one. They would take parts of words, stick them to others, and simply experiment with them. And although the results would be okay, they still didn’t capture the spirit of The Sims.
In the end, Will Wright and the rest of the developers decided to go for the second option and create a brand new language. They knew that they wanted something that was easy to understand, yet something that you can’t translate right away. So they called two people – Stephen Kearin and Gerri Lawlor.
The Creating of Simlish
With the decision to create a new language, the developers of The Sims hired two voice actors, Stephen Kearin and Gerri Lawlor. Stephen Kearin would end up being the male Sims voice in the game while Gerri Lawlor, the female.
And because of the previous trials and errors, the crew knew that the only way to unify the whole world with one language is to create that language out of funny gibberish. “Nonsense words and phrases uttered in familiar tones and emotions” was the final recipe to try, so they threw Stephen Kearin and Gerri Lawlor into the recording booth.
The process of recording Simlish was more than funny; it was simply hilarious! Both of the voice actors were given scripts of some general Simlish words. Then they would record these words and branch them out with their own flavor. In an interview, the audio director of The Sims stated that they used to record 30 versions of one phrase, for example, and then include a few into the game.
Stephen Kearin and Gerri Lawlor had the complete freedom to invent new words and phrases that would fit their characters. While they record, an animation of their Sims would play in a video in front of them. They would then go into character and try to make sounds that match the Sim’s animation. They’re responsible for inventing much of the Simlish language alone because they were the ones experimenting with nonsense words and gibberish in the recording booth.
This process would repeat each time The Sims released a new game or an expansion pack. For every new interaction between the Sims (where dialogue is required), Stephen and Gerri would show up into the studio and record unfamiliar words with very familiar emotions. And that’s how Simlish was created!
Simslish in The Sims Games
Many players don’t know this, but the first appearance wasn’t in The Sims game. Instead, it was first introduced in Will Wright’s SimCopter game. This is a 1996 video game title developed and published by Maxis, the same studio as The Sims. SimCopter is a flight simulation game where the player can fly a helicopter and experience the process firsthand.
In SimCopter, Simlish wasn’t the same language that we know now. There were a couple of nonsense words here and there, but that was it. And some of those words later changed their meaning when they were put in The Sims. However, SimCopter still marks the first time that the world got to hear Simlish out loud!
Simlish in The Sims
The Sims was the first official game of the popular franchise. It wasn’t simply a scripted scenario where the player could operate a helicopter. Instead, it was a simulation of the real world, and simmers could create characters, build houses, and explore the neighborhoods. And because of that, The Sims featured a lot more Simlish.
The transition from SimCopter to The Sims was very productive for Simlish. The language expanded a bit more, and new words and phrases were added to the dictionary. The voice actors Stephen Kearin and Gerri Lawlor recorded more lines and set a few rules that weren’t there in SimCopter.
For example, “sul sul” was a phrase that could also be heard in SimCopter when characters wanted to say “hello” and “goodbye.” But in The Sims, “sul sul” is only used when adult Sims say “goodbye.” So we can safely assume that this was the first time when the developers and the voice actors gave definitive meaning to some words. In the case of “sul sul” specifically, the phrase would eventually be used as both “goodbye” and “hello” in the later Sims games.
Many popular phrases that are still present in The Sims 4 took shape in The Sims. Here is a small list of examples:
- wawa bralala?
- ralalalalib bubaya
- commun snanna
- o frazinnratt
We also know that the budget for the first Sims game was pretty limited, so the developers couldn’t pay the voice actors for too many lanes. That’s why we only have a number of common phrases that are recognizable. However, in the future games, this will change and Simlish will develop even more.
Simlish in The Sims 2
In The Sims 2, Simlish is much closer to what we have now. The success of the first game pawed the way for the second one and gave the developers enough resources to branch out the Simlish language. Both actors, Stephen Kearin, and Gerri Lawlor came back and recorded new lines that would also stay in the game until Sims 4.
On the other hand, Simlish in The Sims 2 is much more organized than in The Sims. Now the new phrases are closely tied to specific actions that Sims are doing on your screen. For example, if your Sim is playing poker in the Nightlife expansion, you may hear them say “Texas Goushem”, alluding to the “Texas HoldEm” poker game.
Here is a quick list of popular Simlish phrases in The Sims 2 and their triggers in-game.
- Sul sul – greeting
- Dag dag – greeting
- Ooh, voodoo – when female Sims walk pass male Sims
- Texas Goushem – playing poker in Nightlife
- Sperk – the word for “Speak” that Sims say when they’re trying to teach their pets to speak
- Nib! Frabanage! Haloo! Frinding – female Sims when standing in front of an obstacle
- Gah! Do caraweeb hushizey – male Sims when standing in front of an obstacle
- Gravala! Binoo – when female Sims are facing a problem.
- Rigochi kada – when male Sims are facing a problem.
- Timle Tourneau – the Marco Polo equivalent in Seasons.
As you can see, not only does The Sims 2 systemize the Simlish language, but it also ties it to specific situations. For example, the swear words are different for males and females. But male Sims will also change their swearing depending if they’re surrounded by children or not. In other words, they will swear differently when in the company of kids. And the same goes for females.
Simlish in The Sims 3
In The Sims 3, Simlish reaches a totally new level. Many of you know that The Sims 3 was a worldwide success that everybody loved. It probably generated a lot of money for the Maxis studio, so they had more resources for expanding the language. Stephen Kearin and Gerri Lawlor came together again and recorded more lines that we know today.
Aside from the traditional “sul sul”, Sims in The Sims 3 would use a lot of popular phrases. Here is a list of some of them:
- Madoof Napso
- Abondandlain…En Som
- Ma bi daa
- Hubble Herb
- Etne Condoroy
- Shawbo Glub
- Switz Zorg
- Tippaha Yooredful
- Ibny Bibzo Toy
- Ayba Miyba Mo
- Sa Dooga
- Ib Ou
- Shamble Natzo Thorg
- Narbo Puhzed
- Yargbo Bay Tazzle
- Un Jandebo
- Ooooh DABEE DOOH
- Shamo! Jatzkey
It’s no secret that The Sims 3 features the largest Simlish vocabulary. There are simply words for everything from amazement to fear, from raising a glass in celebration to flirting on a date. Sims would constantly say these awesome phrases that sound engaging and believable. And there are many words in The Sims 3 that didn’t make it to The Sims 4, which is really a shame.
But one thing that really helped TS3 in expanding and promoting the Simlish language is the music. You see, back in The Sims 3, real musicians (some of them very popular) were recruited to rerecord their hit singles for the game. The idea was so the developers can add these popular songs from our world into the world of Sims. And just like us, our Sims could hear Katy Perry, The Pussycat Dolls, Kelis, and many others, of course, in Simlish!
If you’re interested in the recording of these Simlish songs, watch this YouTube video!
Simlish in The Sims 4
And finally, we have Sims 4! In this game, the developers decided to go for an economy in the Simlish language. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there are fewer words in Sims 4 than in Sims 3. However, it’s true that in TS4, Sims would often use different or shorter versions of the same phrase. These give their speech more variety and it improves the natural tone overall.
Here are a couple of popular phrases that The Sims 4 has included:
- Awu venae
- Yim bala
- Muchi pichi
- Wutushu, yimsimsie
But The Sims 4 doesn’t only improve the vocal aspect of the Simlish language. In fact, TS4 is the first game where we actually get to see the written side of Simlish, its letters, and the way the different words and phrases look on paper. We get little snippets on the TV, the billboards, and the other mediums, which is awesome for understanding the language even more.
And it’s true, you can also see the written Simlish in the previous games too. But TS4 is the first game where we could actually study it. There are simply more cases where we can find written Simlish, so it’s the best in that regard.
Keep in mind that the written Simlish isn’t really developed like the vocal Simlish. This means that you can’t read words and translate them just like with a traditional language. Instead, the written Simlish is more like a flavor for us, the players, to help us immerse in the world of The Sims 4. Sure, there is an alphabet, and you can learn the different letters. However, it won’t help you much because the developers don’t really look at that alphabet too closely when designing their game.
Simslish Words and Phrases
This is a list of all known translations of Simlish words and phrases. Keep in mind that this is an unofficial list since it’s not provided to us by the developers of the game but by the players of the game. Many simmers have contributed to translating these phrases, and most of us feel confident in the accuracy of the meaning. But in any case, feel free to interpret the words and phrases as you think it’s best!
- Sul sul: Hello/Goodbye
- Chumcha: Food
- Ongie: Selfie!
- Plum: swear word
- Dag Dag, or Deg Deg: Hello/Goodbye/Okay
- Sperk: Speak
- Nooboo: Baby
- Checkmar: Checkmate
- Om za gleb: Oh my god/gosh
- Maladai: Good day!
- Vous: You
- Laka: Like a
- Zo hungwah: I’m so hungry
- Vens unch?: When’s lunch?
- Fretishe: Everything
- Miza: In the way
- Clops: Clothes
- Kik: Kiss
- Mik Up: Make Up
- Dobbinips: Dominoes
- Litzergam, Fazoo or Vadish: Thank You
- Shooflee: “Help me”
- Chika: Change
- Nooboo plum: To eat a baby
- Dag Nooboo: Abortion
- Mik: One
- Mak: Two
- Maka: Three
- Nooch: No
- Kat: Cut
- Gerbit: Llama
- Wabadebadoo: I’m on fire!
- Zep tor maboo: Help! There’s a fire!
- Frooby: Friday
- Nart or Nu: Night
- Lass: Last
- Wub mezino: Just a moment
- Nubba: Number
- Gronk: Not Happy/School
- Shurb: Shake
- Woven: Dog/Canine
- Minnai: Tonight
- Dwam: “Damn”
- Ilana: Island
- Jigga: Pee/Puke
- Ne or Blow: No
- It: Yes
- Yib-Sim: Best Friend
- Woofum: Pet
- Om: And
- Gr: Good
- Caba: Because
- Wui: We
- Bay: Be
- Neeba zow: Need you now
- Jadosi: I love this/that!
- Neep: Mind/Opinion
- Aws: Second person singular/plural
- Garsha: Funny
- Zow Cay: Cow Bay
- Zagadoo: Disagree
- Oropea: European
- Caribea: Caribbean
- Posha: Polish
- Gur or Gurn: Girl
- Ah: I
- Binkt: Think
- Marf: Rock
- Apper: Paper
- Nerk: Scissors
- Bweb: Bed
- Stamby: Stranger
- Zerpa: There is a
- Powey: Pounding
- Heb: Head
- Brich: B*tch
- Docturg: Doctor
- Bicoler: Bipolar
- Bous-Tiki: Cult
- Luv: Love
- Sugnorg: Someone
- Can’t: Can’t
- Roli nowster: Roller coaster
- Cul: Call
- Gutta: Got a
- Case: Case
- Fuens: Friends
- Roo: Room
- Fweeka: Flamingos
- Foo: Pool
- Minza bar: Mini bar
- Really: Really
- Va or Fa: You are
- Ninap, Tinap or Tinip: Case of then
- Ka: ‘Cause/Because
- Hap: Hot
- Cou: Cold
- Ip: In
- Aw: Out
- Nip: Up
- Taw: Down
- Deboo! in Old Simlish: Stand Up!
- Arogaba: Goodbye/Farewell
- Yibs, or Yibsy: Yes/Yup/Yep/Yeah
- Neib: No/Nope/Nuh uh
- Gedla snifa: Good smell
- Yume, or Nume: Yum/Yummy!
- Dis grobel: Yuck/Disgusting
- Meshka: Mess
- Simola: Simoleon
- Marsha: Marriage
- Ooh be gah: Very good
- Wut sa dib: What’s up dude
- Favu: Favorite/liked/For you
- Musu: Music
- Kolora: Color
- No me velk?: How are you?
- Por se gab lurv: I love you
- Presu: Present/Gift
- Smee: Smile
- Rowka!: Action!
- Fluz ty roo!: That’s a wrap!
- Oh feebee lay: I’m hungry
The idea of recording songs in Simlish isn’t a new one. In fact, it was first done back in The Sims 2 when popular music artists came together to recreate their songs in this made-up language. Fans generally loved this idea since it brought the real world and the Sims world a lot closer. It meant that you and your Sim could listen to the same music but in different versions.
Here is a list of all popular songs that made their way into The Sims and were recorded in Simlish:
- Depeche Mode – ‘Suffer Well’
- My Chemical Romance – ‘Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)’
- Paramore – ‘Pressure’
- Nelly – ‘Hot in Herre’
- OK GO – ‘This Too Shall Pass’
- Katy Perry – ‘Last Friday Night’
- Katy Perry – ‘Hot n Cold’
- Rita Ora – ‘Shine Ya Light’
- Lily Allen – ‘Smile’
- Pussycat Dolls – ‘Don’t Cha’
- Jason Derulo – ‘Don’t Wanna Go Home’
- Mike Posner – ‘Cooler Than Me’
- Mxmtoon – ‘Prom Dress’
- The Knocks – ‘Classic’
- Superorganism – ‘Everybody Wants to be Famous’
- Natasha Bedingfield – ‘Pocketful of Sunshine’
- Chiddy Bang – ‘Here We Go’
- Violent Soho – ‘Just Stole My Girlfriend’
- Caitlin Hart – ‘Is She Better’
- Madina Lake – ‘Let’s Get Outta Here’
Of course, these aren’t all the popular recordings. There are many more artists who participated in the translating of their songs into Simlish over the years. However, this list compiles the names of the artists you might know in the real world.
Also, remember that these songs are only the radio station songs in The Sims. The official soundtrack of the game is done by other artists, among which Ilan Eshkeri. The majority of the melodies you hear in-game are actually his, like the one that plays in CAS.
As we mentioned above, there is a written form of the Simlish language, but you shouldn’t take it as seriously. Over the years, simmers have collected the different letters into an alphabet that we can study. Keep in mind that this is still the unofficial version of the Simlish alphabet. And there are many different interpretations. So take this image with a grain of salt!
Hopefully, the developers will expand it in the future and give us more information about how Sims write in their language.
Non-Simlish Use in The Sims Games
We talked at length about how Will Wright and the rest of the Sims developers created a new language. We also explained how the voice actors were given the freedom to use nonsense words and gibberish in order to capture the spirit of The Sims. But what we didn’t mention is the use of the English language in the game.
Yes, ever since The Sims, there have been English words inside the game. Our Sims would occasionally say the same words as we do but in totally different tones. This is an intentional decision just so these English words stay masked and hidden.
Here is a list of the most common English words in the Simlish language:
- Mmm… yummy!
- I know!
- Hey man!
- No way!
- Stupid bear!
- Oh, god!
- I gotta poo!
- Oh, hello!
- Where’s our baby!?
- Me? Me Jonny Sapaski see?
- Uh…never mind. Sorry.
- Don’t be a nooboo.
- Yeah, boy.
- Let me go!
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Simlish
How Do Sims Talk?
Sims talk in small sentences that are usually composed of a word or a phrase. Sims don’t talk like humans because they don’t give explanations about their actions, nor do they give extensive opinions in situations that require them. For example, a Sim may say “yuck” about something gross, but she will never use more words and never explain why it is gross to another Sim. So, Sims talk in a very simple manner.
What is Simlish Based On?
As we mentioned above, Simlish is a made-up fantasy language. And there aren’t official statements by the developers as to which real-world languages are its fundamentals. But there have been a few interviews where the team responsible for creating Simlish has said that they’ve loosely experimented with a couple of languages. Among them are Ukrainian, Navajo, Romanian, Irish, and Tagalog, so Simlish may be a combination of them all.
Can Simlish Be Translated
The Simlish language was created so we could all understand it without the need to translate it. However, over the years, players have remembered which Simlish phrases are used in which situation. And by this, they’ve come to conclusions about possible accurate translations of those phrases. Scroll above to see all the known translations of the Simlish words and phrases!
Can You Actually Learn Simlish?
Sure! All you need to do is play The Sims enough to know the most common phrases and in which context they could be said. Additionally, you can see study our list of Simlish words and phrases above to boost your learning speed. You may not get the chance to actually speak Simlish outside, but you can definitely have fun with your friends!
How Do You Say “Hello” in Simlish?
“Sul sul”! Or “Dag dag”. Both phrases have been used to signal “hello” and “goodbye” in The Sims games, so you can use both versions as well.