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->'''Han Solo:''' Keep your distance, Chewie, but don't ''look'' like you're trying to keep your distance.\\
'''Chewbacca:''' ARWRRGGARRGRRGRHHH!?\\
'''Han Solo:''' I don't know. Fly casual.
-->-- ''Franchise/StarWars'' Episode VI: ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi''

For whatever reason, two or more characters can't speak the others' language in anything better than heavily mangled, imprecise gobbledygook. ''However'', all involved can understand the others' language when spoken. This results in unnervingly cool, creepy, or cantankerous scenes depending on the set-up, as you have two people listening and responding to each other in completely different languages, creating a Bilingual Dialogue (and sometimes acting as interpreters to any third parties present.)

What you end up with is a conversation that goes something like this:

Annette: "La plume de ma tante est sur le bureau de mon oncle."[[note]]My aunt's pen is on my uncle's desk.[[/note]]

Benny: "Oh, I'll go get it, then. Do you want anything else while I'm up?"

Annette: "Non, merci, c'est tout."[[note]]No thanks, that's all.[[/note]]

This can be TruthInTelevision. If you learned a foreign language by speaking it (as is common in many schools which use a listen-and-repeat teaching format), rather than by learning to read it, it is easier to passively understand what someone else is saying than to actively generate language oneself. If each person understands the other's first language, it's easier to use this type of conversation than for one person to struggle to speak in a more uncomfortable second language. However, the same result can also happen when the opposite approach is taken (with each person speaking the language they're ''less'' comfortable in, because it's easier for a fluent/native speaker to understand a limited, pidgin version of the language than it is for someone with minimal knowledge of the language to understand complex sentences with uncommon words).

See also BilingualBonus and EloquentInMyNativeTongue. Compare IntelligibleUnintelligible.

Contrast with LanguageBarrier.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'', all the humanoid or animal like characters speak Japanese whereas the various talking machines speak either Midchildan or Belkan (represented as [[GratuitousEnglish bad English]] or [[GratuitousGerman bad German]], respectively). There most likely some TranslationConvention going on here as Midchildans on Midchilda would presumably speak Midchildan to each other. Although why the machines don't get translated is unexplained.
* In ''Anime/TokyoGodfathers'', the Hispanic-immigrant mother only speaks Spanish, and Miyuki only speaks Japanese (plus a little English that she learned at school), but they manage to carry on a conversation (with the Spanish unsubtitled for either the Japanese or the English-speaking audience).
* Subverted in ''Anime/GiganticFormula''. Every single one of the voice actors are Japanese, yet try their best to speak their characters' own languages. Later on in the series, the resident Russian pilot speaks dumbed down Japanese and claims he just learned it because of his being an international ambassador of sorts. By the end, all the pilots speak in Japanese, using headset-things called "automatic language interpreters" to translate their language for them.
* Played with in ''Manga/HanaKimi'' when Nakatsu and Julia got into an argument, Julia speaking English and Nakatsu speaking Japanese. Julia can probably understand most of what Nakatsu is saying but Nakatsu cannot understand a word Julia says, yet they manage a back and forth argument. Mizuki and Sano even think 'Wow, they're fighting on emotion alone'.
* In ''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}'' Hakkai appears to understand Hakuryu/Jeep's chirps, although none of the rest of the party do nor the viewers. Hakkai occasionally acts as interpreter.
* In the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' anime, most of the Pokemon themselves speak in languages consisting entirely of variations of their own species name (a Pikachu, for example, can only say the word "Pikachu" or single syllables of that word). While the human characters are consistently shown to be unable to understand this speech in most cases, there are numerous instances where two Pokemon of different species will carry on a conversation where they understand each other perfectly despite each being unable to speak each other's languages.
** A notable example of a human being able to understand a Pokemon does exist, however. It's consistent that Ash is able to understand Pikachu at least somewhat, though he doesn't appear to fully understand any other Pokemon.
* Latecomer Aisha in ''Anime/SoundOfTheSky'' speaks [[TearJerker almost]] exclusively "Roman" (German), so most of her dialogue has the crew trying to guess what she might be saying.
* Happens a bit in the ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' series. Most foreign characters speak Japanese for the benefit of Touma (it's the only language he knows), but Cendrillon in particular only speaks French (though she understands Japanese and English just fine). Subverted in the ''Shopping Mall Demonstration'' side story where Mikoto and the New Light cabal are speaking with one another in Japanese for Mikoto's benefit, but when the group switches to their native English, Mikoto switches as well and continues the conversation without missing a beat.
* The Glacians in ''Anime/LastExileFamTheSilverWing'' speak Russian as their native language. One of their Navis acts as an interpreter for the main characters.

[[folder:Audio Plays]]
* In the Russian audioplay ''Space Opera'', the protagonist Sebastian does this with his alien friend Byron. Neither can speak the other's language (which is why Sebastian calls him "Byron"), but they appear to have no trouble understanding on another. It probably also helps that Byron's species is [[TheEmpath empathic]], so he can intuit from Sebastian's feelings what he means.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Subverted in ''ComicBook/{{Gear}}'': Waffle the cat and Chee the mantis seem to converse in spite of their language barrier, and Waffle even has a change of heart immediately after one of Chee's comments. Then, as he turns to leave, Waffle adds, "By the way, I haven't understood a thing you've said."
* In ''ComicBook/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen Black Dossier'', Mina can understand the dolls, who speak in Dutch, and they talk back to her, but it goes past Allan Quartermain. This dips into a BilingualBonus as well seeing as there is some [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar Crap getting past the radar]] when the dolls comment on the [[BiggusDickus Gollywog]].

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''WebAnimation/ZanyToTheMax'':
** Used with the Zarner siblings. Jakko will explain plans to Takko and Zot in Finnish, and Takko and Zot understand him completely. [[spoiler: [[BilingualBackfire So does Sikko]].]]
** Jakko actually speaks both Finnish and English, as do Takko and Zot (though they speak Finnish much less often than Jakko).
* Crossed with YouAreTheTranslatedForeignWord in ''Fanfic/RedFireRedPlanet''.
--> A voice over the comms. “''Qap’gargh'' to ''mupwI’'', we’re on your wing. ''[[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam!]]''”[[note]]"Today is a good day to die."[[/note]]\\
''No, it’s not,'' Meromi thought. ''It’s never a good day to die.''
* In ''RolePlay/WeAreAllPokemonTrainers'' human and Pokémon characters talking to one another would count as this most of the time, with the humans speaking either English or other languages and the mons speaking Monese.
* In Kill la Kill AU's ''Aikurou Babysits'', we have this sort of argumentative exchange occur with Satsuki and Nui.
* In ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'', every conversation with Zombie Boy goes like this--at least, when he's only saying "Brains" before revealing that [[SwitchToEnglish he speaks English just fine]].
--> '''Marik:''' What we came here to do is defeat Yugi Muto once and for all!\\
'''Zombie Boy:''' Brains! [[I came here for the free tacos.]]\\
'''Marik:''' By the way, [[TheCakeIsALie there are no free tacos]]. That was a lie.\\
'''Zombie Boy:''' Brains... [Figures...]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'': "Fly home, Buddy. I work alone." "Et ton costume est complètement ridicule!" Although it wasn't really a conversation, as the only person who understood French was the one speaking it. Strangely enough in the French translation, his dialogue is still subtitled, despite all characters involved (and those watching) being able to understand it.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'', Luigi and Guido often speak to each other, although Luigi always speaks in heavily-accented English, while Guido (except for the occassional mention of "pitstop" and "okay") only speaks Italian.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars'' does this fairly often. Aliens or droids will speak an unintelligible language, and a human character will understand and respond in English. This is usually due to the nonhuman species not possessing sufficient mouth or throat structures to pronounce [[TranslationConvention Galactic Basic]]. Sometimes the alien speech is subtitled, and other times you just have to infer what's being said by the English responses.
** Han Solo especially. His conversations with Chewbacca all play this way, which is justified by the fact that they're long-term companions. He also does this with a repair droid on Hoth, and with Greedo, though Greedo's speech is subtitled. He also converses this way with Jabba in the Special Edition of Episode IV.
** Wookiees in general all do this. Their vocal cords are not capable of making the sounds necessary to speak Galactic Basic, but they can understand it. And it goes the other way too, humans cannot speak Shyriiwook due to their vocal cords physically being unable to make the necessary sounds, but they can understand it. Out of universe, the Shyriiwook language was created by recording sounds of various animals, mostly big cats.
** [=R2-D2=]'s chirps and beeps are understood by everyone. In the novels, it's explained that Artoo communicates with despondent beeps, inquisitive beeps, affirmative beeps, etc. and people just get the gist of what he means. In ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'', however, Luke has a text screen in the cockpit of his X-Wing that gives him a translation of R2's beeps.
** Jabba the Hutt has similar bilingual conversations with several characters, though he is one of the few aversions to the trope by using C-3PO as a translator. When he's not using a translator, his dialogue is subtitled. At one point, Jabba uses C-3PO in a conversation with an alien who speaks neither Huttese or Basic, but understands the latter. In this case, it is a ''tri''lingual conversation, since both Jabba and the alien can understand Common, meaning that not only can C-3PO convey what each is saying to the other, they can also make sure that they are being accurately translated. [[spoiler:Of course, it's actually Leia in disguise, who of course speaks Basic perfectly, but that's not the point.]]
** Jabba's Twi'lek stooge Bib Fortuna, whose dialogue with Luke in ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' is not subtitled. Since Luke has Fortuna thoroughly [[JediMindTrick mind tricked]], it's not hard to work out what he's saying.
** Lando and Nien Nunb, his Sullustan copilot in the Death Star run in ''Return of the Jedi''. Nien Nunb is actually speaking Haya, a real African language, giving a BilingualBonus on their full conversation, which is full of RepeatingSoTheAudienceCanHear:
--->'''Nunb:''' ''I'm not getting any reading on the shield''.\\
'''Lando:''' We've got to be able to get some kind of reading on that shield, up or down.\\
'''Nunb:''' ''I think they're jamming us''.\\
'''Lando:''' How could they be jamming us if... [[OhCrap if they don't know we're coming]]...
** In ''Film/TheForceAwakens'', Poe Dameron and Rey both understand BB-8's droidspeak chirps clearly. Finn... notsomuch.
* Gordon from ''Film/GodzillaFinalWars'' speaks English throughout, as does Kazama to a lesser extent. No one, not even an alien, ever has difficulty understanding them, nor them anyone else. It's averted in the English dub, because everyone is speaking English.
* In ''Film/IchiTheKiller'', characters speak in Japanese, Chinese and English (at least) and all seem able to understand each other just fine. Which is just as well, since there are plenty of other things to misunderstand.
* This occurs in all three of the Ocean's movies with Yen. In ''Film/OceansEleven'', Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and Rusty (Creator/BradPitt) can understand Yen's Chinese, but always speak to him in English, which he understands. This extends to the entire crew in the sequels.
* Subverted in ''Film/GhostDogTheWayOfTheSamurai''. The title character speaks English to his best friend, who speaks French back, but they don't understand a word of each other's language. Even still, they seem to share a psychic connection and are always talking about the same thing.
* ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' Groot only speaks by saying "I am Groot" in different inflections which Rocket can somehow interpret into complex statements, which he replies to in English.
* PlayedWith in ''Film/LastOfTheMohicans'', given the Indian penchant for [[TheComicallySerious Dry Humor]]. Native characters slide in and out of multiple languages, including [[ShownTheirWork Huron and Mohican]], which are subtitled. [[{{Villain}} Magua]], being a Huron enslaved by Mohawk who became a French war captain turned British scout, speaks more languages than anyone else; in the final parlay, he alone understands the whole conversation ([[TheDogBitesBack he is not happy]]). It's both subtitled ''and'' translated by [[StuffyBrit Heyward]], who speaks French -- but not Huron -- and he deliberately mistranslates a key piece of dialogue. Then there's this exchange, which doubles as a Big Entrance for Magua:
-->'''Heyward:''' You there! Scout. Must. Stop. Soon. Women. Are. Tired.\\
'''Magua:''' Three leagues. Better water. We stop [[AreWeThereYet there]].\\
'''Heyward:''' No, we stop in the glade ahead. Understand?\\
'''Magua:''' ''[subtitle]'' Magua understands [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain the white man is a dog]] to his women. When they grow tired, he [[BloodKnight puts down his hatchet]] to feed their laziness.\\
'''Heyward:''' ''What'' did you say?\\
'''Magua:''' Magua ''say,'' [[ExactWords "I understand English...]] [[TactFulTranslation very well."]]
* In ''Film/NineteenFortyOne'', the Japanese crew of a submarine speak only Japanese, and a German on board speaks only German. Somehow, they understand each other perfectly. It's a pretty goofy movie.
* Also in ''Film/SayonaraJupiter''. All the characters there have TranslatorMicrobes clipped to their lapels.
* In ''Film/SeachdTheInaccessiblePinnacle'' a friendship is struck between an exiled Scotsman and a shipwrecked Spaniard, despite the fact neither understands the other's language.
* Happens in some Canadian movies, most notably ''Film/BonCopBadCop'',see the entry below, and ''Film/TheRocket''/''Film/MauriceRichard'', the biopic of the legendary French-Canadian hockey player. Sometimes it's played for laughs or dramatic tension, but for the most part, you simply have different subtitles on the bottom of the screen, depending on the version of the film, and the dialogue stands on its own.
* ''Film/BonCopBadCop'', being a movie about the relationship between Ontario and Quebec as much as it is about the serial killer, has two bilingual protagonists, and several Francophone and Anglophone supporting characters. The dialogue of the movie is nearly equal in French and English, and there are a whopping SIX subtitle options on the DVD, for Francophones, Anglophones, and Bilinguals, with hard of hearing options for all of the above.
* Several of Wong Kar-Wai's movies feature bilingual dialogue, the most notorious being ''2046''. This movie casts several Hong Kong actors, Chinese actors and one Japanese actor, all of which speak their own native language throughout the movie. The whole movie is filled with (seemingly) perfectly natural conversations where one person speaks Cantonese and the other speaks Mandarin. Not to mention that while most of the movie is narrated in Cantonese, the first five minutes is narrated in Japanese, making the movie virtually impossible to watch without subtitles.
* The Pai Mei training scene in ''Film/KillBill''. She even says flat out she only speaks 'a little' Cantonese, but he continues to speak as if she's fluent... and she understands every word he says, apparently, without any problems. In return, she speaks with extremely halting and limited Cantonese and Mandarin peppered with English and ''he'' has no problems understanding ''her''.
** She tries to speak Japanese instead, which she knows much better, only for Pai Mei to immediately shut down the idea, claiming that he hates the Japanese.
* In ''Film/{{District 9}}'', the [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters humans]] and "[[FantasticRacism prawns]]" clearly lack the vocal setup to speak each others' language, but the Prawns understand English perfectly well and human workers in the District understand the alien language.
* In Creator/MichaelMoore's ''Sicko,'' Moore does this with the French, who can understand his English.
* ''Film/{{Kukushka}}'' is based almost entirely on bilingual (sometimes ''trilingual'') dialogue. The three protagonists only speak and understand one of Russian, Finnish and Sami, so neither understands what the other two are saying. This makes for some [[FunWithForeignLanguages interesting]] [[HilarityEnsues misunderstandings]], some with [[spoiler:almost]] tragic consequences.
* In Ridley Scott's ''Film/RobinHood2010'', Isabella of Angoulême speaks mostly in French, and everyone else responds mostly in English.
* Used Extensively in ''Film/ManOnFire''. Justified, since Creasy can speak Spanish and it's a border town, so most people will understand English anyway.
* In the movie ''Film/TheFifthElement'', Father Cornelius is able to understand Leeloo's rapid-fire delivery of her, "divine language." And she has no problem understanding his responses in English. Leeloo does eventually learn how to speak English, to a point any way.
* In the movie ''Film/LargerThanLife'', Jack meets A Native American Chief. Chief says something, which is subtitled to English, then Jack replies, which is subtitled to Navajo.
* It's pretty common in the movie ''Film/{{Machete}}'', but specifically for ThoseTwoGuys who work as dishwashers. One will of the guys understands what his friend says in Spanish but will only answer in English.
* Played with in ''Film/TheBeatThatMyHeartSkipped'': The French-speaking protagonist and his Vietnamese-speaking piano teacher seem to understand the gist of each other's words, even though neither speaks the other's language. See them have a bilingual argument [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoF_A4v-4xQ&feature=share here]].
* In ''Seducing Mr. Perfect'', Robin, the American protagonist, speaks English almost exclusively but can understand several different languages. Meanwhile, Min Jun, the South Korean protagonist, has some difficulties speaking English but can understand Robin as long as he doesn't use American euphemisms and slang. Her response to him accusing her of "doing it" with someone was to genuinely wonder what he was accusing her of doing with said person. [[spoiler: She was wrestling with her brother when he called, causing him to misinterpret the sounds and the meaning of her words. The phone was hung up before he could speak.]]
* In ''Film/JoyeuxNoel'', which depicts the UsefulNotes/WorldWarI Christmas Truce between the French, British and Germans, most of the characters are unable to speak more than one language (and only two can speak all three), resulting in many exchanges of Bilingual and even Trilingual Dialogue.
* I saw the DVD trailer for an old kaiju movie (I think ''Film/FrankensteinConquersTheWorld''). During the discussion of what to do about the monsters, a half-dozen Japanese say their lines, then Nick Adams speaks in English (which is subbed for the audience). Which is no impediment.
* Downplayed in ''Film/PacificRim'' where there are moments where Mako speaks to Pentecost in English and he replies in Japanese and vice versa and also Raleigh talking to Mako in English and she answers in Japanese. But these are few and far between.
* An odd flipped version: in a brief scene from ''Film/BatmanBegins'' where Bruce Wayne in his early days has just been caught for stealing in China, a Chinese police officer speaks to Bruce in English...and Bruce responds in Mandarin.
* ''Film/{{Cronicas}}'' has a few instances where IntrepidReporter Manolo speaks to his crew in English and they reply in Spanish. The team works for a Spanish-language TV channel that broadcasts out of Miami, so it's understandable they'd speak both languages.
* ''Film/ErnestGoesToCamp'': Ernest and Chief St. Cloud speak this way, along with sign language.
* ''The Peculiarities of the National Hunt'':
** Partly played straight in this Russian film, in which a group of Russians go hunting with a visiting Finn. While the Finn understands and speaks Russian, to a degree, he still has trouble communicating with the gamekeeper. There is a scene in the film when both are shouting at one another in their native languages, obviously having absolutely no trouble understanding one another, while the other characters look at them in amazement. The general then asks the gamekeeper how he understands the Finn. The confused gamekeeper asks him "What Finn?" Apparently, he wasn't even aware he was understanding Finnish.
** In another scene, the two characters get drunk and suddenly realize that they speak fluent German. Once they sober up, they forget the language.
* Abel Gance's ''Austerlitz'' features a trilingual dialogue at one point. During a heated Allied strategy meeting where the Russian and Austrian generals are arguing in their respective languages, the French ''émigré'' Langeron interrupts them and certainly speaks for the (French-speaking) audience when he says: "I am French, General, and you know that I understand neither German nor Russian", prompting everyone to switch to French. (Ironically, the actual General Langeron was fluent in both languages.)
* ''Film/TheWindThatShakesTheBarley'' has a few examples of this with English and Irish. The film takes place in a period where Irish was mostly spoken as a first language by the older, rural population, but younger generations were taking a renewed interest in it and taking efforts to learn. This is shown when Michael gives his name in Irish at the beginning of the film and when Teddy identifies himself in Irish to make a political statement. When the main characters escape from prison and hide out in an elderly couple's cottage, the couple converse with them in Irish but they reply in English, which then prompts the couple to switch to broken English for the sake of the non-Irish soldier with them. In addition to this, urban Irish people sometimes resented Irish-speakers because they never had the opportunity to learn it properly, even if they might know some bits and pieces. This is best shown in the courtroom scene, where the elderly monolingual defendant declares ''"Níl fhios agam, ní thuigim"'' (I don't know, I don't understand) and the prosecutor contemptuously replies "What are you saying ''Níl fhios agam'' for? You know fine well!"

* ''Franchise/StarWarsLegends'':
** Per the films, almost anything involving Chewbacca (or most other Wookiees) has the characters talking to him normally, and the narrator giving a description of what he's saying back. One exception is ''The Literature/BlackFleetCrisis: Tyrant's Test'', which features a string of Wookiee scenes from Chewie's perspective where TranslationConvention is used instead.
** Wedge Antilles runs up against his inability to understand Wookiee in one book of the ''Literature/XWingSeries''. Fortunately there was a translator droid on hand, even if he was rather more abrasive and sarcastic than C-3PO.
** ''Literature/TheHanSoloTrilogy'' combines this with TranslationConvention when Han meets Jabba the Hutt for the first time. Jabba understands Galactic Basic just fine but is too much of a Hutt-supremacist to speak it, while Han can understand Huttese but can't pronounce the words very well (and tells Jabba as much to avoid insulting him). The scene is written from Han's perspective and [[TranslationConvention he mentally translates for Jabba]].
* In UsefulNotes/RichardFeynman's biography ''"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"'', he says that when he taught Physics in a Brazilian university, it was easier to communicate with the students when they tried their usually crude English with him and he used his definitely crude Portuguese with them. He notes that it's easier to understand your own language said in an awkward way than hearing another language in its original form, even knowing that language well enough to speak. (That could be a more realistic way for Hollywood to portray it).
* One of the recurring Literature/{{Discworld}} characters is the Librarian - a wizard turned into an orangutan early in the series. He understands Morporkian (English) perfectly well, but always speaks in orangutan, using words like "Ook" and "Eek". Most human characters have little trouble understanding this, but every now and again someone unfamiliar with the Librarian meets him and cannot quite figure out what that particular "Ook" meant. The Librarian tried to address this issue by writing an Orangutan-Morpokian dictionary, but has not progressed beyond "Ook" yet.
* TranslationConvention means everyone "speaks" English in ''Literature/ATaleOfTwoCities''; however, an InUniverse version of this trope happens when [[{{Determinator}} Madame Defarge]] barges into Lucie's house, intending to have her RevengeByProxy, but is stopped by [[MamaBear Miss Pross]]. The narrator tells us that both women spoke in their native language and neither of them understood what the other said, but their facial expressions and body language makes their intentions perfectly clear to each other.
* Played for laughs in ''Backstage Lensman'' by Randall Garrett, a take-off of ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'' SpaceOpera. Sir Houston Carbarn is the most brilliant mathematical physicist in the known universe; one of only a handful of living entities who can actually think in the language of pure mathematics.
-->Sir Houston Carbarn smiled. "(-1)(-1) = +1," he informed.
-->The Starboard Admiral slammed his palm against the desk. "Of course! The principle of the double negative! Two negaspheres make a posisphere! Our Gray Lensman has genius, Sir Houston!"
-->"?" agreed Sir Houston.
* Used in ''Literature/JaneEyre''. Adele often speaks in (untranslated) French, to which Jane responds in English. Charlotte Bronte's social class was expected to know French.
* In ''Literature/{{Xala}}'', a few characters frequently switch between French and Wolof, the official and national languages of Senegal, respectively, often as an indication of their social status or politics. In particular, nationalist Rama refuses to speak French, leading to these exchanges whenever she interacts with someone in an official capacity, or with her Francophile father.
* ''Literature/BloodMeridian'' follows a group of American freebooters in Mexico. All Spanish language is presented untranslated. The Americans can understand Spanish, but often choose to speak English to various Mexicans and Native Americans they meet.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'', Jerry's land lord Harold speaks English to his friend Manny, who only responds in Spanish.
* Michael and Jin from ''Series/{{Lost}}'' communicate in this manner while building a raft. Sawyer, predictably, calls them Han and Chewie.
* A few times on ''Series/DoctorWho'', notably when the Doctor demonstrates his ability to speak Baby.
* On one episode of ''Series/TheMuppetShow'', in which a bunch of FunnyForeigner muppets were guests, the Swedish Chef was able to converse with them with ease, even though no one else could understand them. Similarly, the Chef has been shown to understand/translate for the even more unintelligible Beaker.
* In ''Series/FatherTed'', the "monkey priest" can only communicate in "ooos" and "aaaas" but all the priests understand him perfectly.
* Sort-of employed in ''Series/{{Firefly}}'', where English and Chinese are claimed to be spoken in equal measure by everyone, but in practise the latter finds more use in [[UnusualEuphemism unusual euphemisms]].
* Portrayed quite realistically in ''Series/{{Deadwood}}'', as Al Swearengen and Mr. Wu (whose only understanding of English is mostly limited to the word "cocksucker") are able to communicate reasonably well through pantomime and drawings, as well as their clear emotions.
* In the KoreanDrama ''Series/BadBoy'', Moon Jae In is in Japan, talking with the artist in japanese, with both Korean and English subtitles underneath.
* In an early ''Series/MagnumPI'' episode, Magnum had a client who was a Chinese woman. She spoke Cantonese, while her 'father' spoke Mandarin. This happens a lot in television shows, because they assume the audience won't be able to tell the difference.
* ''Series/TheAddamsFamily'': Cousin Itt is perfectly intelligible to the Adamses, even though the audience has no idea of what Itt is saying..
* In the Korean drama, ''Dae Mul'', the Korean president is able to communicate with the American president and vice versa without the use of translators. Same goes for her and the Chinese leader whom she tries to negotiate sparing the lives of the Korean submarine who invaded his country.
* In another Korean drama, ''Sweet Spy'', the male lead is a Korean-American actor. He spends the whole drama chatting away in English to his assistant, who talks back to him in Korean.
* Averted in ''Series/AlloAllo'' where the entire show is in English, but the characters all speak their own language (French, German, English, Italian) which the people who don't speak that language can't understand. (with the exception that the French and Germans can understand each other. - it could be that it is assumed all Germans know French and all French know German, especially during the occupation.)
* Creator/BettyWhite and an African tribesman switch between an African language and English mid conversation in TheTag at the end of an episode of ''Series/{{Community}}''. This is so another tribesman won't be spoiled by the English half of their discussion of ''Film/{{Inception}}''.
* In an episode of ''Series/BoardwalkEmpire'', Lucky Luciano mutters a comment in Yiddish to Meyer Lansky, who responds in Italian, showing their close relationship in spite of their different ethnic backgrounds.
* In British young kids' show ''Series/TotsTV'', one character spoke entirely in French (Spanish On The U.S.Dub, English On The French Dub (Obviously) while the others spoke English.
* A staple of ''Series/TheRiver'', which makes sense as it takes place in South America.
* The Scott sisters do this from time to time on ''Series/HomeAndAway''. Bianca, who is half Italian, will say something to her half sister April in Italian. April, who is half French, will respond to Bianca in French. Both Bianca and April speak both languages and it's been said that April does this just to annoy her older sister.
* In ''Series/Danger5'', one of the eponymous team of five is Ilsa, who speaks to everyone in Russian. Her English speaking companions always speak to her in English (even the European Pierre). Hitler and various goons speak German, and everyone understands each other perfectly. All in all, the series contains correct English, German, Russian, Italian, French, Japanese, and Cantonese, a result of being from Australia's premier multilingual channel, {{SBS}}.
* ''Series/{{Sooty}}'', A British children's puppet show, has a dog called Sweep who speaks only in squeaks, but everyone else converses with him in English perfectly. The audience is given a translation by the fact that whenever he talks to someone, they repeat what he says anyway, but long-time viewers can translate him quite well via context and how many syllables he squeaks, since he actually does have a script for his words.
* ''Series/{{Carrascolendas}}'' and ''Villa Alegre'' were two American Creator/{{PBS}} shows for children which had some characters who spoke only English, some who spoke only Spanish, and some who spoke both.
* The exchange between Webster and the baker, in the ''Series/BandOfBrothers'' episode "Why We Fight", after Webster orders the entire bakery stripped of bread for the victims of a nearby concentration camp, and the baker loudly protests:
-->'''Webster:''' Shut up!\\
'''Baker:''' ''[yelling]'' Man kann nicht einfach gehen und hier in...\\
''[Webster interrupts the baker by grabbing the man, pulling his pistol, and shoving it in the baker's face]''\\
'''Webster:''' I said, shut up, you Nazi fuck!\\
'''Baker:''' ''[obviously terrified]'' Ich... ich bin kein Nazi! Ich bin kein Nazi!\\
'''David Webster:''' Oh, you're not a Nazi? My mistake, you fat fucking prick. What about a human being? Are you one of those, or are you going to tell me that you never smelt the fucking stench?\\
'''Baker:''' Toten sie mich nicht! Bitte toten sie mich nicht! Ich verstehe nicht was du da sagst!\\
'''Lesniewski:''' Leave him alone, Web. He says he doesn't know what the hell you're talking about.\\
'''Webster:''' ''[stares into the man's eyes for a moment, then lets him go]'' Bullshit.
* In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' the cameraman's [[TranslatorMicrobes universal translator]] for once can do nothing about the Breen language, so every line the Breen characters have is an electronic warble. But the other characters understand them just fine with their own universal translators, so conversations with them go something like this (from "The Changing Face of Evil"):
--> '''Legate Damar:''' By the way, in case Weyoun neglected to mention it, the Dominion once sang Cardassia's praises as well.\\
'''Thot Gor:''' *garble garble garble*\\
'''Damar:''' It's really quite simple: They expected the war to be over long ago. It's not, and for that they blame us. Now, if the war isn't ended soon, they'll shift the blame to you.\\
'''Gor:''' *warble garble warble*
* In ''Series/TimeTrax'', Darien's conversations with the [[HumanAlien Procardian]] boy could almost be described as this, except it's really one-way, as the boy understands English just fine (having studied it before coming to Earth), but his vocal cords can't reproduce human speech properly (it sounds very Hellen Keller-like with wild pitch changes), so he just sticks to his language. Darien doesn't understand Procardian, so Selma translates. However, by the end of the episode, Darien begins to understand Procardian a little. It can be assumed that, after the official Procardian delegation arrives in the 22nd century, humans will be using this trope with them.
* Done for effect in the ''Series/BreakingBad'' episode "I See You." Shortly after Hank gets shot by the Cousins, Gus Fring takes a phone call from Juan Bolsa:
-->'''Gus Fring:''' ''[in English]'' Yes?\\
'''Juan Bolsa:''' ''[in Spanish; subtitled]'' What the hell is going on up there?\\
'''Gus Fring:''' I was gonna ask you the same question.\\
'''Juan Bolsa:''' ''[subtitled]'' You know about my men?\\
'''Gus Fring:''' I heard that they attacked a DEA agent. Why would they do that?\\
'''Juan Bolsa:''' ''[subtitled]'' What's the matter? Spanish not good enough anymore? ''[[[SwitchToEnglish in English]]]'' I didn't order this, and my men would never do this on their own. ''Someone'' gave the go-ahead.\\
'''Gus Fring:''' Are you accusing me?\\
'''Juan Bolsa:''' I'm just saying they wouldn't act on their own.\\
'''Gus Fring:''' I am not in the habit of picking my own pocket. I assume that the next shipment will be delayed. Any thoughts on when it might arrive?\\
'''Juan Bolsa:''' A week, a month. There's too much focus on the border. We lay low for the time being. We lay low, and then we get the real story from my man who survived.\\
'''Gus Fring:''' Your man is in custody.\\
'''Juan Bolsa:''' ''[subtitled Spanish]'' God bless America! ''[in English]'' He's innocent until proven guilty. Correct? I'll get him the best lawyer, and then we'll learn the truth.\\
'''Gus Fring:''' Well keep me apprised.
* Frequent in ''Series/ServantOfThePeople'' where conversations in Russian on one side and Ukrainian on another are common, and flow perfectly thanks to the two languages being very similar. It is also TruthInTelevision.
* ''Series/AngieTribeca'' has Lt. Hoffman -- a ''dog'' -- who speaks in unsubtitled barks and growls. Everyone else understands him without problem.
* A rather strange example in the ''Series/StargateSG1'' episode "Small Victories". One of the Russian submariners in the opening scene is speaking (badly pronounced) Russian, but the other is speaking Ukrainian. (This is roughly equivalent to speaking Portuguese to a Spaniard: they might catch every third word.)
* In the ABC sitcom ''Series/FreshOffTheBoat'', Grandma Huang only speaks Mandarin, but seems to have no trouble understanding English as evidenced by her interaction with her monolingual grandsons and her understanding of the O.J. Simpson trial broadcast with her sister-in-law.
In Series/JaneTheVirgin Alba speaks Spanish to Jane and Xiomara. They respond in English.

* Played straight in the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wuz9dVq8VQ0&ob=av2n video]] of "La lunga estate caldissima" by Max Pezzali, set in Los Angeles, where, in the end scene, a cop stops Max Pezzali and a bilingual (English/Italian) dialogue happens:
--->'''Cop:''' Where are you going?\\
'''Max:''' ''Sto portando al mare le ragazze.'' (I'm taking the girls to the beach.)\\
'''Cop:''' What girls? Driver's license and registration, please.\\
'''Max:''' ''Va bene. Subito. Un secondo...'' (All right. Immediately. Just a second...)
* Bonnie Pink's duet song with Craig David, "Fed Up", has this. All of Pink's parts, in which she is singing to David are in Japanese (save for one bridge), while David responds to her verse in English. Once he's done, Pink then replies back in Japanese again.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling ]]
* Independent wrestler Delirious speaks in tongues that are completely incomprehensible to the audience, but referees, managers and fellow wrestlers have and do understand him and hold conversations with him (occasionally during a match).
* A significant portion of the roster of ''Wrestling/LuchaUnderground'' speaks Spanish so some interviews and promo battles end up using this trope. Everyone seems to be able to understand one another, with subtitles provided for the benefit of the audience.

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''VideoGame/EscapeFromMonkeyIsland'' there's a drunk who speaks in unintelligible gibberish that Guybrush apparently understands, you can infer what's being said based on the dialogue options you're given.
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', minor alien characters usually speak their own language. The player character is experienced enough to understand most aliens and droid languages you come across (replaced with a version of TranslatorMicrobes in [[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords the sequel]]), so their dialogue appears in subtitles in either [[EloquentInMyNativeTongue perfect English]], or not-so-perfect English when it comes to {{Strange Syntax Speaker}}s like astromech droids and users of borderline HulkSpeak. This adds to the "Star Wars" feel, and also saves on voice acting, since it can be replaced by randomly generated alien gibberish (there's actually only about five or six lines that are used for multiple languages). It's discussed a couple times:
** The player character is surprised when Mission speaks Basic instead of Twi'lek, and is told that a lot of aliens can do it, but most don't.
** A very minor human Sith character on Korriban speaks Twi'lek and tells the player that it's because his Basic is so bad and everyone understands Twi'lek anyway.
** Somewhat highlighted with a droid left behind by {{Precursors}} encountered in a tomb on Dantooine, which tries a couple different ancient languages on the party before hitting on an archaic variant of Selkath that the PC and Bastila can subtitle.
* Dr. Breen's contact with the Combine Advisors in ''VideoGame/HalfLife2''. The Advisors' language sounds like [[BlackSpeech unintelligible growling and slurring]] - and we get no translation of any kind. In fact, it's implied it has a psychic component to it which might explain how Breen understands it during his dialogue with one even though the Advisor doesn't speak in that scene but speaks in others.
* In ''VideoGame/UltimaUnderworld'', all three varieties of lizardmen can understand English, but only one variety can speak it. The player can earn the lizardmen's favour by attempting to speak their language.
* The various characters in the ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' games speak various languages like English, Japanese, Korean, French, Russian or Mandarin in their cutscenes and never seem to have the slightest trouble understanding each other (though subtitles are provided for characters who are not speaking the player's native language). Even novelty characters who communicate with clicks or animal noises manage to get their point across just fine.
* ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter'' has done pretty much the same in the later installments.
* Happens with the English-speaking characters in ''VideoGame/GunHed''.
** And Gun Hed itself: 'Gun Hed Pilot: [speaks subtitled Japanese]; Gun Hed: 'You could say that, yes.'
* In ''VideoGame/{{ICO}}'', Yorda and Ico speak completely different languages, neither of them English nor Japanese; Ico's speech is subtitled in the player's language, and Yorda's in strange hieroglyphics. Luckily, "Don't worry, I'll catch you", "I'm tired, let's rest here", and "Holy crap, shadow monsters are trying to drag me off to some unspeakable netherworld!" are fairly easy concepts to get across.
* In the VideoGame/FireEmblem games ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Path of Radiance]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Radiant Dawn]]'', Leanne speaks the ancient tongue and has a great amount of trouble with modern tongue. The few times she speaks the modern tongue, she shows her difficulty ("I...fight...yes?"). However, even the handful of other people who are fluent in ancient tongue usually adress her in modern tongue, and she has no trouble understanding exactly what they're saying in a language that she is physically able to speak, but apparently is very bad at.
* In ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce 3'', Solo's new EM-being Laplace only speaks through buzzing noises. Solo can understand him perfectly, and even tells him to shut up at one point.
* A conversation late in '''Videogame/{{Yakuza}} 3'' plays out like this using English and Japanese.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** In ''VideoGame/HaloReach'', this is heard between Jorge-052 and the Hungarian-speaking civilian Sara Sorvad at the end of the first mission.
** In ''[[VideoGame/Halo4 Spartan Ops]]'', [[spoiler:Dr. Halsey]] and Jul 'Mdama converse with each other in their native languages, respectively English and Sangheili.
* The cutscene in ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2'' introducing the leader and TheDragon of the Ronin gang consists of the former (Shogo) speaking English while the latter (Jyunichi) speaks unsubtitled Japanese, though this stops after awhile when Shogo tells him "we're in America, speak English"; from that point on, while Jyunichi does speak in both English and Japanese, which one depends on which language the other person in the conversation is using.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', Jabun and Valoo speak ancient Hylian while the King of Red Lions speaks modern Hylian (which is of course rendered as whatever language you're playing the game in), making only one side of their conversation understandable and keeping everything incredibly vague. In the NewGamePlus, all ancient Hylian is translated.
* Averted in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'': all Horde characters speak a native language and Orc (except orcs, who only know the latter), and all Alliance characters speak their native language and Common (except humans, who only speak the latter). The default languages are Orc and Common, but as a player you can switch to the other language your character knows at any time; anyone who also knows that language will then see exactly what you type into the chat just like you were using the default language, but players whose characters ''don't'' speak your language will see semi-random gibberish instead.[[note]]It is not completely random. It appears the game uses a look-up table to replace every letter in the original chat message with a different one, so a given piece of text will always produce the same gibberish. The actual replacement letters depend on the language the speaker is using, so that for example Draenei will look different than Gnomish to players whose character speaks neither.[[/note]]
** The most famous of the gibberish is probably "kek", which is what Alliance players see when a character speaking Orc says "lol". Less well known is the Common equivalent, "bur".
** Of course, non-player characters appear to speak all languages—though that could be explained by some having learned both Orc and Common, something player characters cannot do.
** In the ''Mists of Pandaria'' expansion, mages can equip a glyph that, if they have cast Arcane Brilliance within the past hour, allows them to understand and speak all languages of their own faction. The glyph itself averts the trope because the understanding is two-way, but it does allow for more use of this trope by players/characters (especially on RP servers).
* A rather bizarre example in the ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' DLC "Old World Blues. The Courier, if he has a high enough intelligence, can be able to converse with Dr. 8, a brain in a jar that can only communicate using RobCo code script. The player won't understand a single word he says regardless, but the Courier's responses give enough of an estimate.
* In ''VideoGame/PlaystationAllStarsBattleRoyale'', there is a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xZ1d0gOoBo rivalry cutscene]] between Heihachi Mishima from ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' and Toro Inoue from ''Doko Demo Issyo''. While Heihachi speaks Japanese, Toro [[AnimalTalk speaks by meowing]] and they can understand one another. It makes sense for Toro to understand Japanese, but the other way around? Not so much.
** Maybe Heihachi [[SpeaksFluentAnimal learned to talk to animals]] by hanging around [[BearsAreBadNews Kuma]] all the time.
** In another rival cutscene, [[VideoGame/{{Starhawk}} Emmett Graves]] and [[VideoGame/GravityRush Kat]] are able to understand each other despite Emmet speaking English and Kat speaking [[{{Fictionary}} a made-up language designed to sound French, Japanese and Latin]].
*** There's also a subversion. [[VideoGame/{{Killzone}} Radec]] can't understand a word [[VideoGame/MediEvil Sir Daniel Fortesque]] is saying due to the latter missing his lower jaw and only being able to make mumbling sounds.
* ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'': During your trips to Hengsha in China, you'll frequently overhear conversations where one party is speaking English and the other subtitled Mandarin. The subtitles could also be interpreted as [[PlayerCharacter Jensen]] being able to understand Mandarin, possibly a result of his cybernetic enhancements[[note]]Given the level of GameplayAndStoryIntegration when it comes to Jensen's augmentations, it's entirely possible that he is actually ''seeing the subtitles''[[/note]], but not speak it.
* Played mostly for laughs during Leon's chapter in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil6'' with the gun store owner and the Japanese student. The student can only speak Japanese (though his sub-titles are in English for convenience), yet he and the gun store owner converse with each other in their own languages and are somehow able to understand one another completely.
* [=NPCs=] in ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'' are voiced in either English or [[ConLang Tho Fan]], though all the subtitles are in English. And there are some cases where they hold conversations in both languages, the Forest Shadow speaks Tho Fan while her elephant spirit bodyguard speaks "English" for instance.
* The Sullustans, the Rodians, Chewbacca, and R2-D2 all speak their own respective languages in ''VideoGame/StarWarsBattlefront2015'', but that doesn't stop MissionControl from informing you on enemy whereabouts in English. Justified, unless you happen to be in fluent in Wookee.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* Pom Pom and The Cheat, WebAnimation/HomestarRunner and Strong Bad's friends respectively, are both unintelligible, but everyone else can understand them fairly well (and the other way around). However, when The Cheat loses a bet to Strong Bad, he says something that sounds a lot like "Yeah, yeah!", and in ''colouring'', he says something that is unmistakably "Okay". And in the Powered By The Cheat (cartoons made by The Cheat), the voices are in English, despite it being The Cheat doing them.
* Played with in ''Machinima/RedVsBlue''. The Reds can never understand [[GratuitousSpanish Lopez]], until he [[EasyImpersonation poses as Simmons]].
-->'''Lopez:''' ''[Spanish]'' ...Hello.\\
'''Sarge:''' Simmons, where in Sam Hill have you been?\\
'''Lopez:''' ''[Spanish]'' [[TerseTalker Cave... study]].\\
'''Grif:''' You sound weird.\\
'''Sarge:''' Yeah, almost like he's speaking a foreign language. But he's speaking very slowly and clearly, so I understand what he means.\\
'''Grif:''' Me too.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Discussed in ''Website/{{Cracked}}'', which calls BilingualDialogue [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18721_the-5-stupidest-ways-movies-deal-with-foreign-languages.html The 5th Stupidest Way Movies Deal with Foreign Languages]].
* As a general rule of thumb, considering how many foreign cousins Frollo and the rest of the main cast have and the regular appearance of [[Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt Panty and Stocking]], ''TheFrolloShow'' has as many languages in its dialogue at one time as it pleases.
* This is the entire premise of the web series [[http://www.youtube.com/user/afternoonhirusagari Afternoon no Hiru Sagari]]. Youtubers [[http://www.youtube.com/user/Ciaela Ciaela]] and Micchy meet each other in the local park during lunch time. Ciaela speaks only English and Micchy speaks only Japanese. They understand each other perfectly.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* A interesting take on this is given in ''Webcomic/ExperimentalComicKotone'', with the [[YamatoNadeshiko Japanese traditional girl]] Haruna and Onii-chan. In a point of the story, each began to [[LanguageOfLove understand what the other is saying]], despite [[http://www.tsunamichannel.com/index.php?date=2002-07-09&comic=ExCoKo not having a grasp of the other one's language]], and both talking in their respective mother language. But when they had a serious misunderstanding for the very first time, their understanding suddenly and dramatically stopped. The issue was solved later, but since then Haruna has began to learn English.
* In ''Webcomic/StarslipCrisis'', the good gentlemonoliths of the Council respond to all conversation in telepathy that the reader is not privy to, making for some good ''Series/{{Newhart}}''-style one-sided conversations.
* ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'''s Future Alternate Bass has this with an Expy of R2-D2, Mettool D2. [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/041122c Bob has it too]]
* In ''Webcomic/TalesOfGnosisCollege'' the Sultan of Pazar speaks in English to a Russian girl who replies in her native language.
* A page in chapter 3 of ''Webcomic/{{Paranatural}}'' had an interesting conversation between Doorman and [[spoiler: someone who isn't quite Max]]. Doorman's language initially seems to be gibberish, but was translated by the fans.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the obscure French cartoon ''WesternAnimation/FlyTales'', all the characters speak gibberish, which sometimes can sound very close to French.
* While Más y Menos from ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' speak only Spanish, only about half the cast can understand them. Control Freak even got so frustrated he changed their language to English using his remote!
* Done in ''WesternAnimation/TheAngryBeavers'' by masked wrestler El Grapadura. (El Grapadura can be loosely translated to mean 'Stapler'.) In addition, Grapadura stars in the episode 'Norberto Y Dagetto en El Grapadura y el Castor Malo', which is entirely in Spanish and based off of El Rey detective movies. Grapadura is again seen in the episode "Pass it On", where he speaks Spanish to Dag. His subtitles are in Korean, and Dag calls him Swedish. He also throws out a bit of ''Gratuitous English''. ('Ey, baby!')
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'':
** Lady Rainicorn speaks Korean. She is never translated on the show, and most of the time, characters will give a good idea of what she is saying. Jake appears to understand her perfectly well and even speaks Korean back to her. There is also a case of BilingualBonus and GettingCrapPastTheRadar, as Finn asks her to tell a joke, and she complies with a rather embarrassing anecdote that Jake says "does not translate well".
--->'''Lady Rainicorn:''' Remember when we ran naked through that field? That farmer was so offended!
** This is subverted in "The Pit", when Finn calls Lady on the phone. At first it seems Finn understands what she's saying, then he admits he still doesn't understand much Korean and is actually just guessing.
* Played with in ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb''. Carl hires a bunch of French maids to clean the OWCA. Carl can apparently speak and understand French, but Monogram does not, so when questioning Carl on the cost for the maids he misunderstands him... but is satisfied none the less.
-->'''Monogram:''' How much is this costing us, Carl?\\
'''Carl:''' Une petite fortune.\\
'''Major Monogram:''' "Petite." That means small, right? Well done, Carl.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'', all of the other rangers seem to be able to understand Zipper the Fly's incomprehensible chatter, as he understands their English.
* Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' with the Japanese-American character Toshi. At first it seems like this is going on, as he understands English perfectly and responds in subtitled Japanese, but it soon becomes apparent that his friends aren't actually listening to him.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode "It Ain't Easy Being Breezies", the Breezies speak gibberish that only Fluttershy can understand, but they appear to understand English/Equestrian, although only Seabreeze actually speaks it.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Common for speakers of dead languages with Latin as one notable example - one can be quite competent in translating from Latin, but actually generating original Latin can be quite difficult, since students are rarely drilled in English-to-Latin translations and there is virtually no demand for such skill in real life. Often in Latin class the teacher/textbook will ask questions in Latin and the students will speak/write their responses in English.
* In RealLife, when two people speak one another's language incompletely, each speaking in one language is actually a fairly efficient mode of communication. Each can either speak in their own language, relying on the other to understand correctly, or try to speak the other's language, knowing they will be understood correctly.
** Is a common phenomenon all over South Asia, especially in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers India]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Pakistan Pakistan]], where there are literally hundreds of languages. A good percentage of the population tends to be receptively multilingual, meaning they can ''understand'' other languages (having had enough exposure to them via PopCulturalOsmosis) but may not be able to actively ''speak'' in them. So for example if persons A and B meet, and person A can receptively understand person B's language but not actually speak it, and vice versa, they might both proceed to speak in their own languages and comfortably understand each other. As English is the official language of both countries while Urdu in Pakistan and Hindi in India is the "National" language, you have a situation where a person is actually "tri-lingual", they know English, Urdu/Hindi and their regional language and finally they also may speak or have an understanding of many other regional languages.
** When Sasha Cohen's (not to be confused with Sacha Baron Cohen) coach was Tatiana Tarasova, Tatiana spoke Russian to her, and Sasha, who understood Russian due to her mother being from Ukraine, responded in English.
** This was standard procedure for the Apollo-Soyuz missions: the American astronauts spoke Russian and the Russian ones spoke English.
** Laura Ingalls (creator of ''Literature/LittleHouseOnThePrairie'', which was BasedOnATrueStory) knew a woman who spoke only Swedish. This woman spoke Swedish to Laura, Laura spoke English to her, and each understood what the other was saying.
** This is standard practice in classical orchestras: because very often the players are from different countries, communication tends to be a problem. So classical musicians in an orchestra will generally be very multilingual, and, as a courtesy, speak in the language of the person they're talking to. Hence a French violinist talking with the German flautist next to him will speak in German, and the flautist will speak in French.
* Conversations in which English-speakers speak English and French-speakers speak French are relatively common in Quebec. Actually, even more common are conversations in which English-speakers speak French and French-speakers speak English.
** Music/NeilYoung said in a 2000 interview that inadvertent language slipping is common all over Canada. You think you're still speaking English, but you're actually speaking French, or vice versa. He's done it himself.
** (As have I.) On an official level, this is standard procedure in the Federal Parliament: francophone [=MPs=] speak French, anglophones answer in English, and vice-versa. Translation earpieces are provided, but often simply dispensed with by the many [=MPs=] who are bilingual.
* When the HotLine is being used, the Russians write in Russian and the Americans in English, with the other side translating.
* On the Apollo-Soyuz space mission, during the docking maneuver, the Americans spoke Russian and the Russians spoke English, on the theory that it would be easier for a listener to understand mission-critical communications delivered in his first language.
* Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian are close enough that speakers of one of these languages can understand a great deal of what is said in the other two-although Portuguese is generally more challenging to understand due to its shifted phonology. Speakers of Portuguese and Italian are also generally able to understand Spanish better than Spanish speakers understand Portuguese or Italian.
** Portuguese (European one specially, but also common with the Brazilian one) is, however, the easiest to "mutate" into the others. When spoken with the right accent and basic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar, Portuguese speakers can bake a Portu-Spanish ([[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portu%C3%B1ol "Portunhol"]]) or Portalian which can go through whole conversations.
*** Same goes with Swedish and Norwegian.
* This was common in the former Czechoslovakia, where the Czechs would speak Czech and the Slovaks would speak Slovak, and each would understand the other. This happens less today, after the country's split, but the two are still very similar, and share close resemblance to other members of the West Slavic group of languages. (Polish, Czech Slovak. etc)
* Happens a lot between Swedes, Danes and Norwegians, since those three languages are so similar.
** Same goes for Russian, Byelorussian, and Ukrainian. However, speaking in a sort of pidgin, be it Russian-Ukrainian (called ''surzhik'', which means "flour made of two different types of grain) or Russian-Byelorussian (called ''trasyanka'', with exactly the same meaning) is even more widespread.
** There is, of course, one aspect of this trope that is downplayed by the abovementioned examples: since the entire reason ''why'' it is such a common occurence is that the languages in question are quite similar, you don't have two people listening to each other in ''completely'' different languages (indeed, depending on the dialects of the speakers in question it can take a while for an observer to realize that this trope is in effect).
* Most Irish speakers are bilingual, however, some are more comfortable speaking Irish rather than English, and though the majority of Irish people understand Irish, not everyone can speak it well, so this tends to happen occasionally.
** Also found in Northern Wales and in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, were significant Welsh and Scottish Gaelic-speaking populations, respectively, are found.
** Also found in the Scottish Lowlands, although how frequently depends on where the line is drawn between the Scots language proper and Scottish English, given that most colloquial dialects are a hybrid of the two, and the strength of the Scots portion varies from speaker to speaker.
* In schools with a language option, conversations can occasionally be heard between, for example, French and German students in their chosen languages. There's no guarantee that each participant understands what the other is saying though...
** This is even done when the languages are more different, such as Japanese and English, and sometimes, even three or more total languages. Even native speakers will switch languages to either invite someone into the conversation or block someone out, or sometimes just because a certain statement is easier in a different language. However this does tend to lead to a bit of pidgin language.
* Happens often in multi-lingual countries. Especially Singapore with its home brew Singlish.
* It's common for the children of immigrants in any country to understand but not speak their parents' language and vice versa, ''especially'' for Filipino-American families.
** In Israel, this feature is most evident in Arabs and Russian immigrants. First- and second-generation immigrants might use their native language/language they heard at home somewhat like this, or just peppering their speech with some Arabic, Ladino, or [[YiddishAsASecondLanguage Yiddish]] expressions, depending on where they’re from. High-mid and higher class people (as well as anglophone immigrants, natch) often do this with English, due to its prestige. ''{{Asfour}}'' shows this excellently.
** This can get even odder when the second generation learns the ancestral tongue at a later age-- either to connect with their roots or to develop a marketable skill[[note]]People for whom "the old country" is "(part of) a large emerging market" to corporations (e.g. Spanish-speakers, Portuguese-speakers, Arabic-speakers, Chinese-speakers) have a big leg up if they put in the time and effort to achieve fluency in their parents' language, given their usual rudimentary knowledge of its spoken form and their familiarity with the culture.[[/note]]--while the older generation has gotten accustomed to speaking the new-country language: the ''younger'' try talking in their parents' native language, and get replies in their own. This can be frustrating.
* Anyone who's been to or lives in the American Southwest is all too aware of this, what with being right next to the Mexican border. It's not at all uncommon to hear or have entire conversations with English and Spanish being switched at a moment's notice, and without skipping a beat.
** It's also very common in the more bilingual areas of Canada to hear people switching between French and English mid-conversation, sometimes mid-sentence.
** Linguists call this "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_switching code switching]]," and it can occur even in mid-sentence.
* This is ''incredibly'' common in the Canadian Armed Forces due to their military's bilingual nature and soldiers coming from all over Canada, such as where two soldiers speaking English will flip over to French when a French-speaker joins in purely out of courtesy, and without even missing a beat. It's also common to call some drill commands in English and others in French during the ''same'' parade[[note]]It's common to call weapon drill in French and marching drill in English, though the opposite is seen too[[/note]].
* Using a command prompt frequently falls into this. The human says things that look like someone spilled soda on the keyboard, and the computer responds in English. Granted, that doesn't mean you'll ''understand'' the output, but "dir \ /p" and "Volume in drive U is AFS" are definitely not the same language. Programming is often even more like this.
* The French region of Alsace has gone back and forth between France and Germany several times, due to the many wars between the two countries. As a result, most people in the western half speak French and understand German, while people in the eastern half speak German and understand French. Thus creating this trope when talking to each other.
* If you are bilingual, and if the one you are talking to is bilingual too, you may use the two languages at the same time, choosing the word that fits best, using the grammar of both languages, or literally translating sayings. If someone else who knows only one of those languages listens to you two talking, they might find it VERY awkward.
** This is the main mode of communication on the ISS, since all the Russian cosmonauts learn English during pre-flight training and all non-Russian astronauts learn Russian (and, obviously, English too if they didn't know it already). Thus, ''everyone'' on the station is bilingual, and Russian and English words are used in equal measure in conversations.
* This happens in Korean television programs a lot, where a Korean interviewer will ask a foreign guest a question in Korean, and the guest will respond in his native language with subtitles, giving the impression that each understands the other's language, when all they did was edit out the translations. As time goes on, though, this is becoming less common as Korean interviewers use more English when interviewing guests who do not speak Korean.
* People who travel abroad with the intention of Second Language Immersion have found that the inverse can happen as well. Let's say, for example, an English-speaker goes to Paris to brush up on his French. The English-speaker will try to speak in French, and the French-speaker, either to be polite or because they want to brush up on their English as well, will continue to speak in English. This can lead to an interesting game of chicken where both people are speaking in their second language to see who cracks first.
* This happens quite often when school subjects are taught in a different language than most students and teachers use outside of the school. Students switch to their local dialect or first language during a lesson, because certain ideas are easier to explain that way or they don’t know a word, and the teachers keep asking question in the school's chosen language.
* If you're a non-Arabic speaking Muslim, chances are you know some Arabic. You might even mix it with your native language. For example, if you're an English speaking Muslim, and you're telling another Muslim that you're fasting, you'll likely say "I'm sooming". "Soom" (صوم) is Arabic for "fasting".
* 19th century diplomacy often took this form. The rise of nationalism meant that diplomats usually felt obliged to speak their own language (unlike their 18th century counterparts who usually spoke in French, regardless of their nationality.), but since most diplomats were multilingual, their interlocutors could reply in their own language without waiting for translation, especially in case of more commonly spoken languages like English, German, and French.
** This still occurs, as speaking your own language, especially if that language is ''not'' English, is a way of asserting independence, initially dealing with British diplomats and politicians and later American ones.
* In South Africa it's very common to hear a conversation with a bunch of people go like this. Mostly because the common languages (Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and Sepedi for example) have multiple very similar words. Even English speakers tend to add broken words from other languages in their speech. It gets to a point where the average citizen knows at least 3 languages. In a country with 11.
* Because the current ''lingua franca'' of science is English, a vast quantity of scientific terminology only exists in English. So no matter what language a scientist is actually speaking when talking shop, pretty much every third noun and every fourth verb would be in English. Generally, the more cutting edge the research, the more English will creep in.
** Applies just as much to computers and programming jargon, if only because most commands or markup languages use English words.
** And then there's the matter of false friends. The programming term "library" (basically, a set of pre-made components which you can use in your programs to avoid reinventing the wheel) is typically called in Spanish ''librería'' "bookshop" rather than ''biblioteca''.