Created By: KJMackley on November 19, 2011 Last Edited By: KJMackley on March 10, 2013

Silent Relationship

There isn\'t much talking going on, but you can tell they trust each other

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At least two people have a language barrier that prevents one or both of them from communicating in any sort of concrete language. But despite that, they manage to communicate in a way that transcends normal interaction. Most commonly, one of them will save the others life, proving where their loyalty is (although this has been used by the bad guys).

The key to presenting this kind of relationship is that a lot has to be conveyed in action, facial expressions and body language. If there is only a language barrier, you will often see one or both learning the others language over time.

As should be obvious for a Silent Protagonist, the Cute Mute and The Voiceless, they don't talk much and thus most of their communication will happen in this manner. The Silent Bob goes with a hand-wave that the other person "just knows."

Examples:
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is one of the archetypical examples of this. Elliot and ET become friends over sharing Reese's Pieces, and ET gradually came to understand English enough to convey some basic phrases, "Phone home" chief among them.
  • Transformers based the relationship between Sam and Bumblebee this way. Sam is freaked out by beat-up Camaro that is acting of its own accord, but when the evil cop car turns into a robot and the Camaro comes to the rescue, he doesn't question it. Once Bumblebee transforms himself and does battle with Barricade, there is no question who was the good robot.
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Darmok" had an encounter with an alien species whose language they could not understand. The alien captain abducted Picard and forced them to share a life-threatening situation so they could overlook the language barrier and understand each other. Picard learned that their language was based on Metaphors and from there he was able to quickly ascertain the meaning. The title came from "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" which was repeatedly stated to the Enterprise crew with them not knowing it's meaning. Picard learned that Darmok and Jalad were people who became Fire-Forged Friends at Tanagra, thus the statement meant "We want to be friends."
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • November 30, 2012
    XFllo
    It seems like we might have had a very similar idea. Just yesterday I posted a draft on a trope that I've been playing with in my head for some time. For now I call it Language Barrier which is a broader concept. The silent relationship seems like it's a part of it, therefore I think it might be its subtrope.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=w5d19i90fnkutclrw4de5v7z
  • December 1, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    .
  • December 1, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    .
  • December 1, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    When I posted the above examples, I don't think the "language barrier" aspect was put in the description as a requirement (last edit to the description was 1:56 am (PST I guess) Dec. 1, same time as my last post--was it added in then?). So given that new parameter, these wouldn't fit. But when I hear the phrase "Silent Relationship", I think of those often long-lived, trusting relationships between old friends or married couples, where there's often understanding without speaking. (And the laconic as written now sort of suggests this: "There isn't much talking going on, but you can tell they trust each other".)

    If this proposed trope requires the existence of a language barrier, the title should probably reflect that: like maybe Trust That Has No Language Barrier or somesuch.
  • December 1, 2012
    Arivne
    ^ According to this proposal's Change History, it had the "language barrier" part when it was first posted on November 19th.

    To see the Change History, click on the "open book" icon next to the pencil icon just below the Laconic.
  • December 1, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Actually, just looked at that--forgot about that feature. So I was probably just looking at the laconic and skimming the rest--sorry about that. Probably still needs a title that reflects this pertinent detail though, as "Silent Relationship" is fairly broadly descriptive.

    Deleted my above two examples, as they are not relevant to this then.
  • December 1, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    I wonder if we do have a trope for old friends or couples who are comfortable interacting or living together without a lot of speaking, but are obviously still very close. There is a trope called Like An Old Married Couple, but this is often invoked in reference to people who argue a lot (which can also occur in an old marriage).
  • December 1, 2012
    lakingsif
    In Avengers Assemble, even without knowing Hawkeye and Black Widow's past you can easily tell that they have a stable trusting relationship - however hard that is for spies - and there isn't much speech either.
  • January 11, 2013
    XFllo
    I think I have just found this trope, or al least it is very close. See Language Of Love.
  • March 10, 2013
    XFllo
    I added two tags:

    • Up For Grabs since the sponsor isn't commenting and doing updates. They seem to be editing though, so if anyone is willing to take it, you might want to check with them if it's OK.
    • Second tag is Already Have? as I suspect Language Of Love might cover large portion of this trope.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=wrcthdzktf0l7rd760gmlgoz