Created By: alciefrederic on July 23, 2011 Last Edited By: gallium on December 21, 2015
Troped

Language Fluency Denial

A common excuse to avoid speaking to someone about something

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A surprisingly common way to duck out of a possibly uncomfortable conversation is to claim you don't speak the language. It seldom works, but it's often tried.

Common failure points include dropping the "I don't speak X" into the middle of a conversation when you've been speaking X just fine, or making the claim in a language the other person is fluent in and that person obligingly switching to the other language. It's often Played for Laughs. A Completely Unnecessary Translator may be called in to "help".

A subtrope of Language Barrier. Compare to Hiding Behind the Language Barrier, when one person really doesn't speak the language and is deliberately cut out of the conversation as a result.


Examples:

Advertising
  • In this Bud Light commercial, the man teaching English as a Second Language is only teaching his students how to order a Bud Light in different parts of the country. He also teaches them that when someone asks them for a Bud Light, they should say "No Speak English".

Anime and Manga

Comedy
  • Comedian Jasper Carrott played a practical joke on British holidaymakers in Spain by pretending to be an incompetent Spanish waiter who understood no English, bodged orders, spilled drinks and generally exasperated people. Hidden cameras would catch the action as the holidaymakers got progressively more annoyed. However, one clued-up Butt Monkey saw through the set-up the very first time Carrott replied with a suspicious ¿Que?
  • In one of Margaret Cho's early standup routines, she said this was a benefit of looking Asian, you could avoid talking to strangers by giving a shy giggle and saying "Oh, I don't know".

Comic Book
  • In "Return to Xanadu", an Uncle Scrooge comic by Don Rosa after the Ducks have accidentally flooded Xanadu:
    Xanaduian man: "Honorable Scrooge! Do YOU know anything about this?"
    Scrooge: "So solly! No speakee lingo!"

Film
  • In Bachelor Mother, lower-middle class Polly is nervous when rich boy David issues a last-minute invitation to be his date for a high-society dance. He thus introduces her to his friends as a woman from Sweden who doesn't speak English. They speak faux-Swedish gibberish to each other throughout the evening.
  • In Toy Soldiers the Colombian villains are Hiding Behind the Language Barrier by speaking Spanish. They ask one of the students, Ricardo, if he speaks Spanish. Ricardo denies being able to speak the language. When the villain says in Spanish to shoot him anyway Ricardo yells "No, wait!" revealing himself.
  • Spoofed in Sahara when Dirk Pitt and friends are waylaid by Malian troops. (Dirk's just buying time.)
    Dirk: I'm sorry, I don't speak English.
    Malian soldier: [laughs] You are speaking English now!
    Dirk: No, I only know how to say, "I don't speak English" in English.
  • David does this in Delivery Man when he's informed that the children he's fathered through anonymous sperm donation have filed a lawsuit to learn his identity.

Literature
  • In Wanted: Dumb or Alive, a woman pulled over in Idaho gave the officer a helpless smile and said in German that she didn't understand English. The officer in question banished that smile by responding politely "Heute ist ein glücklicher Tag für Sie."note 
  • In Wolf Hall, the protagonist Thomas Cromwell has developed a fluency in a number of languages, which he often puts to use in his professional life. However, early in the novel, Cardinal Wolsey inquires about Cromwell's knowledge of Castiian Spanish for a mission involving Henry VIII's attempts to divorce Catherine of Aragon. While Cromwell actually is fluent in the language, he pretends to have only basic knowledge because he knows that the assignment would not bode well for his advancement.

Live-Action Television
  • Played with in a Big Train sketch where a driver whose car has broken down asks two locals whether they speak English. They reply, in perfect English, that they don't speak English, and start a conversation (in perfect English) about how they really should have paid more attention to their English lessons in school. When the driver tries to explain that her car broke down, they apologise (in perfect English) for not being able to understand a word of it. They eventually tell her there's a village five miles away where she might find someone who speaks English. As she walks off toward the village, the locals jokingly admit to each other that they do speak English.
  • In Friends, while Monica was working at Alessandro's, one of the chefs told her, "I don't speak English" when asked to do something. When Monica tells her that she knows she does, because she heard her speaking English just a minute ago, the chef replies, "Well, I don't know what to tell you", and walks off.
  • Fez tries to use this excuse in That '70s Show when the gang are busted by the Mounties when trying to cross the border with Canadian beer.
  • In I Love Lucy, after Lucy finds out something seemingly incriminating, Ricky says, "No hablo Ingles!" as he heads for the door.
    Lucy: "You hablo plenty of Ingles, and you better start hablo-ing right now!"
  • In one episode of The Closer, the suspect claimed that she didn't speak English, so Brenda had Martinez question her in Spanish. It turned out that the suspect spoke perfect English but barely spoke Spanish!
  • Michael Palin's post-Python TV series Ripping Yarns had an episode called "The Testing of Eric Olthwaite". Eric is possibly the most boring little tit in Yorkshire and has two interests: shovels and rainfall. He notes that his own father would pretend to be French so as not to have to speak to him.
  • In Dexter, Dexter is stalking a victim to prevent him from killing his friend, when he is approached by a couple scary looking thugs speaking Spanish. Since this is Miami, everybody speaks a little Spanish, but at that particular moment Dexter needed to get the heck out of where he was as fast as he could. So he said he didn't speak Spanish. This might have worked, except he was so flustered that he accidentally said it IN SPANISH. Nice one, Dex.
  • In The Dumping Ground episode "Finding Frank", Rick and some of the kids find an antiques shop where Frank's old watch is in the window. When they ask the shopkeeper about it, he says that a girl (who was in the shop a few minutes earlier) has expressed an interest in buying it. Said girl returns a few minutes later, dumps a wad of cash on the counter, declares the watch is hers and scarpers off with it. When the other kids try to confront her, she says "No English", which Rick counters by the fact she spoke good English whilst inside the shop.
  • The Hallmark Hall of Fame Made-for-TV Movie What the Deaf Man Heard is this trope made into an entire movie. The main character comes into town on a bus at 10 years old, his mother has been murdered, and he is alone and scared. He refuses to talk to anyone and the townspeople assume he is deaf. Deciding it is easier he spends the next 20 years living in the town and pretending to be deaf and mute.

Music
  • Bowling for Soup's "No Hablo Ingles" is about pretending not to speak English (by using the title phrase) to get out of various quandaries and responsibilities.
    My teacher asked where my homework was
    And that's when I told her
    "No hablo ingles!"

Theatre
  • In The Foreigner a man pretends to be a foreigner who doesn't speak English in order to avoid having to deal with small talk at the lodge he's staying at. As a result he overhears many conversations which wouldn't have taken place in front of him otherwise, including a plan to turn the place into a Klan HQ.

Video Game
  • In Ace Attorney, a witness (Olga Orly) tried to avoid testifying by claiming she can't speak English. The judge pointed out to her that she'd been speaking English fluently seconds ago.
  • The start of level six of The Simpsons: Hit & Run has this conversation after it's discovered Kang and Kodos are behind the whole plot:
    Bart: Apu, you've got to help me warn Krusty of this alien plot, and thus saving the good people of Springfield.
    Apu: I'm sorry, sir. I do not speak English. I only speak Hindi.
    Bart: But you're speaking it now.
    Apu: Yes, I learned these words phonetetically.
    Bart: You're just afraid of getting vaporized by the space monsters.
    Apu: Up down! Up down! Go, hot dog! Button my undershirt!

Webcomics
  • In this 21st Century Fox comic a drunkard who caused a multi-vehicle accident yells at a Mexican truck driver who tells him "No hablo ingles, senor." And then asks Cecil if he can do anything to help, in plain English.
Cecil: "I thought you didn't speak English?"
Truck driver: "Not to drunken gringos, no."

Web Video
  • In The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, Suzanna-Maria Ramirez Gonzalez pulls this tactic off successfully. She speaks only Spanish in front of Jane or Grace Poole. Grace genuinely believes she doesn't understand English and this way, she bothers her way less. Suzanna eventually reveals to Jane that she actually speaks perfect English.

Western Animation
  • On Futurama, Bender uses this excuse when Cubert asks why a delivery company needs a bending robot.
  • Discussed in Inside Out, where Riley is called on by her teacher to introduce herself. In a panic, Fear tries to suggest that she pretend to not understand English.

Real Life
  • Sammy Sosa's English comprehension skills got significantly worse during the Congressional hearings on steroid use in Major League Baseball following the publication of the Mitchell Report.
Community Feedback Replies: 84
  • July 24, 2011
    foxley
    Fez tries to use this excuse in That70s Show when the gang are busted by the Mounties when trying to cross the border with Canadian beer.
  • July 24, 2011
    fluffything
  • July 24, 2011
    Duckay
    In Friends, while Monica was working at Alessandro's, one of the chefs told her, "I don't speak English" when asked to do something. When Monica tells her that she knows she does, because she heard her speaking English just a minute ago, the chef replies, "Well, I don't know what to tell you", and walks off.
  • July 24, 2011
    JoeG
    Another way this can be ineffective is if one of the people asking questions speaks the person's native language.

    • In one episode of The Closer, the suspect claimed that she didn't speak English, so Brenda had Martinez question her in Spanish. It turned out that the suspect spoke perfect English but barely spoke Spanish!
  • July 24, 2011
    peccantis
    Me No Speak English Bluff for clarity of concept?
  • July 24, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Somehow I doubt that Ling Yao does speak English or that English is particularly common in Fullmetal Alchemist.

    This trope needs to be expanded to all languages.

  • July 24, 2011
    TonyG
    On Futurama, Bender uses this excuse when Cubert asks why a delivery company needs a bending robot.
  • July 24, 2011
    katiek
    It might have to be something like Language Fluency Denial to apply to all languages.
  • July 24, 2011
    KamenZero
    Isn't there a song about this trope called "No Abla Ingles"? I apologize is my horrible spelling of the Spanish language offends anyone. :(
  • July 24, 2011
    Aielyn
    Auxdarastrix - Tropes Are Flexible.

    KamenZero - I think it's "Hablo", not "Abla", but I could be mistaken.

    Anyway, I suggest No Speak Language Ploy.
  • July 24, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Tropes Are Flexible, but if you mean them to be flexible, it is best to be clear about it in the description rather than define something too narrowly.
  • July 24, 2011
    AlexIDV
    In Return to Xanadu, an Uncle Scrooge comic by Don Rosa after the Ducks have accidentally flooded Xanadu:

    Xanaduian man: "Honorable Scrooge! Do YOU know anything about this?"

    Scrooge: "So solly! No speakee lingo!"
  • July 24, 2011
    Aielyn
    Auxdarastrix - it says, right at the start, ""I speak no English", and other variants," - I would say that the "other variants" quite neatly covers non-English examples.

    Beyond that, the description is clearly not yet ready, anyway. It's obviously not the final description, just an initial one to explain to people what the troper was going for.
  • July 24, 2011
    EddieValiant,Jr.
    I think No Hablo Ingles would make a particularly good trope name. :)
  • July 25, 2011
    alciefrederic
    In Ace Attorney, a witness (Olga Orly) tried to avoid testifying by claiming she can't speak English (even though she was just speaking it fluently seconds ago, and the Judge points it out to her).

    I welcome all suggestion regarding better descriptions and trope renaming. I just chose "I Speak No English" because it readily comes to mind.
  • July 25, 2011
    Arivne
    The trope name needs to be changed as soon as possible. Fast Eddie will discard any YKTTW whose name sounds like a line of dialogue.

    I would combine two of the suggestions above and get:

    Language Fluency Denial Ploy.
  • July 25, 2011
    cityofmist
    That's a little clunky. Does No Hablo Ingles Ploy count as a line of dialogue?
  • July 25, 2011
    alciefrederic
    Name's been temporarily renamed to Language Fluency Denial. Though hopefully we will come up with something else more interesting. No Hablo Ingles Ploy is a bit too specific, I'm afraid.
  • July 25, 2011
    kentdyson88
    There was a Bud Light commercial where a man is teaching an English as a Second Language Course. All he teaches them is how to order a bud light in different regions of the US.

    He asks them what they are supposed to say if someone asks them for a bud light. The class replies "No Speak English!"
  • July 25, 2011
    benjamminsam
    Real life example: Sammy Sosa's English comprehension skills got significantly worse during the Congressional hearings on steroid use in Major League Baseball following the publication of the Mitchell Report.
  • July 25, 2011
    Aielyn
    I'm going to say No Speak Language Ploy again, because it's actually a bit deeper when you stop to think about it. The "No Speak" part is the typical "bad English" that one might use if one doesn't really speak English, whereas the "language" and "ploy" parts are words that you aren't very likely to know unless you do speak English fairly well. So it actually captures all of the elements of the trope, without having to specify any particular language.
  • July 26, 2011
    alciefrederic
    I retracted this comment.
  • July 28, 2011
    EmbracingShadows
    Ling tries this in Full Metal Alchemist, but Ed doesn't buy it.
  • April 25, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    In I Love Lucy, after Lucy finds out something seemingly incriminating, Ricky says, "No hablo Ingles!" as he heads for the door. Lampshaded by Lucy: "You hablo plenty of Ingles, and you better start hablo-ing right now!"
  • April 25, 2014
    somerandomdude
    No Hablow Inglaze, to show that they are bad at faking it?

    Bowling For Soup's "No Hablo Ingles" is about pretending not to speak English (by using the title phrase) to get out of various quandaries and responsibilities.

    My teacher asked where my homework was
    And that's when I told her
    "No hablo ingles!"
  • April 25, 2014
    DAN004
  • April 26, 2014
    randomsurfer
    ^No, that's something else.
  • April 26, 2014
    Antigone3
    There's several examples of people failing at this on Not Always Right and Not Always Working.
  • April 26, 2014
    Someoneman
    Why does this already have hats when there aren't even examples.
  • April 26, 2014
    AgProv
    Michael Palin's post-Python TV series Ripping Yarns had an episode called The Testing of Eric Olthwaite. Eric is possibly the most boring little tit in Yorkshire and has two interests: shovels and rainfall. He notes that his own father would pretend to be French so as not to have to speak to him.

    (Eric) Dad! Have you seen t'smashin' new shovel Sid Multhwaite bought?
    (Dad; ignores him, sighs heavily). Eeeeeh, Marie. Quelle journée au bas du terre que j'ai eu aujourd-hui! (Very strong Yorkshire accent throughout).
  • April 26, 2014
    DAN004
    @ randomsurfer: explain.
  • April 26, 2014
    somerandomdude
    ^ Hiding Behind The Language Barrier is about intentionally locking someone out of the conversation by speaking a language they can't understand. Language Fluency Denial is about pretending to not speak a language to evade responsibility or consequences of some kind.
  • April 26, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ I guess both that and this are subtropes of Language Barrier then?
  • April 27, 2014
    ridicumouse
    The nineties Sketch Show, Big Train played with this trope a lot.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxUm-2x-2dM
  • July 31, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.

    I think the name could be clearer.
  • July 31, 2014
    Antigone3
    Rewrote the description and started pulling examples over.
  • July 31, 2014
    DAN004
  • July 31, 2014
    DaibhidC
    If the person trying to have a conversation believes the other doesn't speak their language they may acquire a Completely Unnecessary Translator.
  • July 31, 2014
    Daefaroth
    Film:
    • In Toy Soldiers the Colombian villains are Hiding Behind The Language Barrier by speaking Spanish. They ask one of the students, Ricardo, if he speaks Spanish. Ricardo denies being able to speak the language. When the villain says in Spanish to shoot him anyway Ricardo yells "No, wait!" revealing himself.
  • July 31, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Real Life needs to be at the bottom. It's the only one not in alphabetical order.
  • July 31, 2014
    StarSword
    Film:
    • Spoofed in Sahara when Dirk Pitt and friends are waylaid by Malian troops. (Dirk's just buying time.)
      Dirk: I'm sorry, I don't speak English.
      Malian soldier: (laughs) You are speaking English now!
      Dirk: No, I only know how to say, "I don't speak English" in English.
  • August 1, 2014
    SpiderRider3
    Film
    • David does this in Delivery Man when he's informed that the children he's fathered through anonymous sperm donation have filed a lawsuit to learn his identity.
  • August 3, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • August 7, 2014
    XFllo
    Web Video
    • In The Autobiography Of Jane Eyre, Suzanna-Maria Ramirez Gonzalez pulls this tactic off successfully. She speaks only Spanish in front of Jane or Grace Poole. Grace genuinely believes she doesn't understand English and this way, she bothers her way less. Suzanna eventually reveals to Jane that she actually speaks perfect English.

    It's a subtrope of Obfuscating Stupidity.

    Good trope. I'll gladly hat-tips this draft, though I'll wait a little to see if we broaden the description and the title will be settled.

    About the Big Train example: Weblinks Are Not Examples. The Not Always Right example should be in the Web Original folder and it should not be a Zero Context Example.
  • August 7, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In The Foreigner a man pretends to be a foreigner who doesn't speak English in order to avoid having to deal with small talk at the lodge he's staying at. As a result he overhears many conversations which wouldn't have taken place in front of him otherwise, including a plan to turn the place into a Klan HQ.
  • August 7, 2014
    triassicranger
    Live Action Television
    • In The Dumping Ground episode "Finding Frank", Rick and some of the kids find an antiques shop where Frank's old watch is in the window. When they ask the shopkeeper about it, he says that a girl (who was in the shop a few minutes earlier) has expressed an interest in buying it. Said girl returns a few minutes later, dumps a wad of cash on the counter, declares the watch is hers and scarpers off with it. When the other kids try to confront her, she says "No English", which Rick counters by the fact she spoke good English whilst inside the shop.
  • August 8, 2014
    AgProv
    Comedian Jasper Carrott played a practical joke on British holidaymakers in Spain by pretending to be an incompetent Spanish waiter who understood no English, bodged orders, spilled drinks and generally exasperated people. Hidden cameras would catch the action as the holidaymakers got progressively more annoyed. However, one clued-up Butt Monkey saw through the set-up the very first time Carrott replied with a suspicious ¿Que?
  • August 8, 2014
    SpiderRider3
    I fixed some formatting and removed unnecessary line breaks around the quotes
  • August 9, 2014
    AgProv
    ^^If the Jasper Carrott routine was being filmed on hidden cameras, was it part of a television show/special? Or was it just a prank?

    EDIT BY Ag Prov: It was part of a TV special, Carrott Abroad, where Jasper played on all the stereotypes of the British abroad and the long-suffering Spanish who have to host them.
  • August 9, 2014
    dexterian120
    Added the Dexter example :)
  • August 10, 2014
    Antigone3
    Pulled the NAR entry until I can find a specific link.
  • August 10, 2014
    zarpaulus
  • August 10, 2014
    randomsurfer
    ^Weblinks Are Not Examples.

    • Possibly true version from Family Guy, where Brian & Stewie are riding in the back of a pickup truck with some Mexican day laborers.
      Brian: Hola, me llamo es Brian ... Nosotros queremos ir con ustedes.. uhhhh ...
      Bellboy: Hey, that was pretty good, except when you said "me llamo es Brian," you don't need the "es," just me llamo Brian.
      Brian: Oh, oh you speak English!
      Bellboy (sigh): No, just that first speech and this one explaining it.
      Brian: You .... you're kidding me, right?
      Bellboy: Que?
  • August 17, 2014
    Daefaroth
    Live Action TV:
    • The Hallmark Hall Of Fame Made For TV Movie 'What the Deaf Man Heard' is this trope made into an entire movie. The main character comes into town on a bus at 10 years old, his mother has been murdered, and he is alone and scared. He refuses to talk to anyone and the townspeople assume he is deaf. Deciding it is easier he spends the next 20 years living in the town and pretending to be deaf and mute.
  • October 23, 2014
    Duncan
    In one of Margaret Cho's early standup routines, she said this was a benefit of looking Asian, you could avoid talking to strangers by giving a shy giggle and saying "Oh, I don't know".
  • October 23, 2014
    robinjohnson
    • Played with in a Big Train sketch where a driver whose car has broken down asks two locals whether they speak English. They reply, in perfect English, that they don't speak English, and start a conversation (in perfect English) about how they really should have paid more attention to their English lessons in school. When the driver tries to explain that her car broke down, they apologise (in perfect English) for not being able to understand a word of it. They eventually tell her there's a village five miles away where she might find someone who speaks English. As she walks off toward the village, the locals jokingly admit to each other that they do speak English.
  • October 23, 2014
    robinjohnson
    The name's a bit awful in a clunky pseudo-academic way. Language Denial is less bad, but something in plain English would be best.
  • October 23, 2014
    robinjohnson
  • October 23, 2014
    dalek955
    Entertaining way to get rid of telemarketers: when they call you in language A, tell them in language B that you don't speak A. If they happen to speak B too, switch back to A and tell them you don't speak B either. Repeat until they realize they're dealing with madness and hang up.
  • October 23, 2014
    dalek955
    • In Wanted: Dumb or Alive, a woman pulled over in Idaho gave the officer a helpless smile and said in German that she didn't understand English. The officer in question banished that smile by responding politely "Heute ist ein glücklicher Tag für Sie."note 
  • October 23, 2014
    Koveras
  • October 23, 2014
    robinjohnson
    ^^ it'd be "für Ihnen", wouldn't it?
  • October 23, 2014
    dalek955
    ^Nope.
  • October 25, 2014
    Pichu-kun
  • October 26, 2014
    Skylite
    • Played with in the first Die Hard movie. Both Hans and the slimy business guy trying to ingratiate himself to Hans speak fluent English.
      ''Hey, Hans. Baby. Sprecken sie talk?"

    Will need an Unfortunate Implications disclaimer, since most of the "I/me no speak(ee) da _____" tropes are mocking of people from other countries and their accents affecting their speech.

    The Scrooge Mc Duck "So solly" referenced above is an old mocking of Chinese, which is no longer done because of racial insensitivity. "No hablo ingles" on the other hand, is grammatically correct Spanish.
  • October 26, 2014
    zarpaulus
    Webcomics
    • In this Twenty First Century Fox comic a drunkard who caused a multi-vehicle accident yells at a Mexican truck driver who tells him "No hablo ingles, senor." And then asks Cecil if he can do anything to help, in plain English.
    Cecil: "I thought you didn't speak English?"
    Truck driver: "Not to drunken gringos, no."
  • November 20, 2014
    XFllo
    OK, this is an excellent trope, but it has been stuck here forever. I think I'm gonna grab this and be a new sponsor. Because I'm a language nerd. :-)

    It's very close to being launch-able. The current name (Language Fluency Denial) is fine with me personally, though I'd prefer Obfuscating Language Barrier.

    I'll try to copy the examples.

    Any more thoughts on this loveable trope?
  • November 20, 2014
    Hodor
    • In Wolf Hall', the protagonist Thomas Cromwell has developed a fluency in a number of languages, which he often puts to use in his professional life. However, early in the novel, Cardinal Wolsey inquires about Cromwell's knowledge of Castiian Spanish for a mission involving Henry VIII's attempts to divorce Catherine of Aragon. While Cromwell actually is fluent in the language, he pretends to have only basic knowledge because he knows that the assignment would not bode well for his advancement.
  • September 17, 2015
    BKelly95
    Video Games
    • The start of level six of The Simpsons Hit And Run has this conversation after it's discovered Kang and Kodos are behind the whole plot:
      Bart: Apu, you've got to help me warn Krusty of this alien plot, and thus saving the good people of Springfield.
      Apu: I'm sorry, sir. I do not speak English. I only speak Hindi.
      Bart: But you're speaking it now.
      Apu: Yes, I learned these words phonetetically.
      Bart: You're just afraid of getting vaporized by the space monsters.
      Apu: Up down! Up down! Go, hot dog! Button my undershirt!
  • September 17, 2015
    shimaspawn
    The Big Train example is a Zero Context Example.
  • September 17, 2015
    robinjohnson
    ^ I wrote that sketch up as an example somewhere up there
  • September 17, 2015
    robinjohnson
    As to the name, I'm repeating myself a bit, but I still think the current name is long, ugly and pseudo-academic. Obfuscating Language Barrier doesn't convey that this is someone pretending there's a language barrier when there isn't really, and the 'obfuscating' is redundant. Language Denial is less of a mouthful.
  • September 23, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ But it isn't clear enough. Denial about what part of language?
  • September 25, 2015
    robinjohnson
    ^ Denial of knowledge of it, which is redundant with "denial". "Fluency" just adds three syllables and takes the meaning away from where it's supposed to be - are all the people in these examples really denying, specifically, that they're fluent in the language?
  • September 25, 2015
    robinjohnson
  • September 25, 2015
    Adept
    Film - Animation
    • Discussed in Inside Out, where Riley is called on by her teacher to introduce herself. In a panic, Fear tries to suggest that she pretend to not understand English.
  • September 25, 2015
    Adept
    By the way, does this trope cover the instance where a character responds to a conversation they don't want to be involved in by speaking a foreign language the other speaker (usually a stranger) is not familiar with, so that the latter will back out on their own?
  • September 25, 2015
    DAN004
  • October 9, 2015
    gallium
    Film

    • In Bachelor Mother, lower-middle class Polly is nervous when rich boy David issues a last-minute invitation to be his date for a high-society dance. He thus introduces her to his friends as a woman from Sweden who doesn't speak English. They speak faux-Swedish gibberish to each other throughout the evening.
  • October 9, 2015
    gallium
    I added my example to the main entry. Is this Up For Grabs?
  • October 9, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ I don't think the OP's around.
  • October 10, 2015
    gallium
    I guess I'll take it over, then. Needs one more hat.
  • October 10, 2015
    gallium
    Think that's all the examples.
  • December 21, 2015
    gallium
    Well heck, I forgot all about this. Guess I'll launch.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=naigbmdd1pd5bx2fw5dm1aqy