"Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,The language of Mordor, spoken only by The One Whose Name Must Never Be Uttered and his Religion of Evil and various dark cults. An indecipherable language that is cruel to the ears, full of hard consonants, guttural sounds, and always spoken loudly and harshly. Every word sounds like a blasphemy against All That Is Good, and the people speaking it often are as evil as they sound. If there is magic in the setting, expect speaking this language to be necessary to use Black Magic. In some cases, it's so alien and gravelly that it seems that a normal human throat should be incapable of speaking it… and sometimes, they can't speak it, only those with the Voice of the Legion can. In many cases, merely speaking the words is sufficient to twist reality or make unspeakable horrors appear. This is the Black Speech, the default mode of communication for inhuman villains, and Sound-Coded for Your Convenience. Where the elves and humans will speak in a pleasing, song-like language, and dwarves may (read: always) have a charming Scottish burr or Welsh brogue note , the Evil Minions using Black Speech can shatter glass and eardrums and sanity with a simple "pass the salt". On a more meta level, this is a direct emotional appeal to the viewer, invoking the "otherness" felt when hearing a foreign language crossed with the Scare Chord to make the good guys seem like downright saints compared to the bad guys. The effect is sometimes doubled by having
Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul"note
Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul"note
— The Lord of the Rings: Inscription on the One Ring, with inflection
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Anime & Manga
- In Dragon Ball, King Piccolo would speak to his minions and mind slaves in some strange tongue. Due to their mutual origin, Kami could speak to him in the same language. Retconned in Dragon Ball Z, where he's explicitly an alien and it was just his native tongue.
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: if Meru's cellphone is moved out of reception range/broken (she ONLY communicates by text messages), she'll snap and start speaking like this, taking
an exorcisma huge crucifix to the head to stop her. The main character, KafuKa FuuRa's mother also did this from time to time, after being possessed by the devil. Forcing her to kill her own mother... it's comedy, I swear!
- The title character of Ah! My Goddess, while benevolent, uses a language like this for some of her spells. (It's part of a larger issue of understanding between her and the male lead.)
- South-African comedian Trevor Noah does a routine on how South Africans, and especially South African accents, are viewed in the rest of the world. He admits that being mixed-race, he gets a free pass, but it has to be hard for white people who, the moment they open their mouths, are by default assumed to be pining for the good old days. Trevor riffed on speaking German as in his case a fifth or sixth language (he claims to have lost count). The unfortunate consequence of learning German, for somebody whose first language is Afrikaans, is that inevitably their spoken German is accented, to the point where German listeners hear a strong perceived-Austrian accent and cadences, reminding them of a certain demagogic politician making a speech at a rally attended by hundreds of thousands of people... even if all you're doing is asking somebody to pass the salt.
- The wicked rat creatures in Bone have a secret language called Nessen that sounds mysteriously like broken German. Mind you, Nessen is closer to a military cypher than actual black speech: Ratmen speak in human language normally and only switch to it when they're discussing sensitive subjects and are afraid to be overheard. Several humans listen in to it without any worse effects than "cannot understand any of it", and some of the characters like Lucius can also understand it.
- The Invisibles has a section where Miss Dwyer, a servant of the Conspiracy who's pretty much out of options, is about to let loose a string of hyperdimensional language that can give those it's directed at cancer. As the narration describes it, "Miss Dwyer is saying her prayers."
- The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: The Primal Vernacular (the oldest Cybertronian language) sounds like this, especially when sung loudly in a Tetrahexian accent, which sounds like someone being violently murdered. The only beings known to still speak it are Cyclonus (the aforementioned singer) and Vos, who considers himself a "linguistic purist" and can only manage a few guttural syllables of modern NeoCybex at a time.
Films — Animation
- Beowulf has Grendel speak Old English (the language in which the poem was originally written) while everyone else speaks modern English, probably to emphasize how old and monstrous he is. His mother speaks both old and current English, since she's been re-imagined as a sexy sorceress.
- The Horny Vikings talk like this in The Secret of Kells.
Films — Live-Action
- 10,000 BC has the slavers speaking an incomprehensible, guttural language, and certain characters have their voices digitally distorted to make them sound inhumanly guttural.
- All but one of the vampires in 30 Days of Night speak like they tore out their own windpipes. (In fact, the filmmakers took the sound of an Amazonian language and mixed in animal noises.) This is not true of the comic in which they spoke English, albeit in colored Speech Bubbles.
- Pathfinder has the good guys speaking English and the invading Vikings speaking Icelandic, but in a very guttural fashion. The original had this, too, with the heroic Saami speaking Saami and the evil, invading Tshud speaking influenza.
- Played for Laughs in the Adam Sandler movie Little Nicky, wherein the titular character is the youngest Spawn of Satan. Although he normally speaks in a nonthreatening nasally voice, he talks in his sleep, inevitably demonically. Listening to it induces manic paranoia in his roommate and drives animals crazy. Seemed to be pleasant to a pair of stoner death metal fans, however ...
- Used humorously in the film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when the Vogon commander switches effortlessly from a charming Received Pronunciation accent to one of these in under a second. (In the book, Vogon speech is: "like a man trying to gargle whilst fighting off a pack of wolves".)
- Constantine briefly gives us an example of "Hell-speak".
- There's a Filipino movie where two devils speak in their native tongues. The subtitles apologize to the viewer for the lack of translation because they don't know anyone who's been in Hell before.
- The Engineers in Prometheus were supposed to speak in a tone like this.
- The predators in the Predator franchise sound like this when trying to mimic English. They may, however, just have a respiratory system set up the opposite way from a mammal one (i.e. it defaults to inhaling rather than exhaling), and thus talk while inhaling (try it). Birds' respiration works like that, which is part of why parrots and ravens sound like that when they talk.
- In the German/Israeli film Walk on Water, German was this during Eyal's childhood - his German Jewish family survived the Holocaust, and only spoke Hebrew after they came to Israel (when they thought he wasn't listening, that is).
- Many older war movies with propaganda subtext had the opposing side speak in an overexaggerated accent and/or voice pitch, making that particular nation's language sound deliberately threatening. For obvious reasons.
- The hillfolk in the Wrong Turn series understand English, but most of them forgo speaking it in favor of a bizarre gibberish.
- Death Troopers in Rogue One communicate in a choppy, sinister noise that has this effect. It combines with their size and black armour to make them appear as sinister as possible. Even the sounds they make when falling aren't really all that human.
- Doing the voice work for The Necromancer/Sauron in The Hobbit made Benedict Cumberbatch feel a bit dirty. He said in an interview that afterwards he wanted to "speak The Queen's English and have a cup of tea."
- Lone Wolf
- The Giak tongue, spoken by the Darklords and all of their minions in the Darklands, as well as the evil humans, the Drakkarim. Certainly looks harsh-sounding when transcribed, and is described as such. Complete with a full fictionary. Funnily, Giak seems to be the only tongue Joe Dever ever developed for his world. So if you want to immerse yourself linguistically into Magnamund, you're forced to do so with the ugly tongue (crude grammar, nasty vocabulary) of the Bad Ones' cannon fodder. Too bad.
- And then there's the Dark Tongue, which humans aren't even able to speak. The only ones who ever speak it in the series are the Darklords themselves. The Darklords use the Dark Tongue to summon nasties to fight Lone Wolf.
- Named for the language of Mordor in The Lord of the Rings (books and movies). "The Black Speech" is an unpleasant-sounding language full of guttural throat-growls and spits and snarls; unpleasant and alien to the more pleasant languages. The story includes a scene where Gandalf uttering the Black Speech verse from the Ring causes the sky to grow dark and the Earth to tremble. A fan once gave Tolkien a goblet with the inscription from the ring in Black Speech as a gift, but he found the message in those words so ugly and ominous that he couldn't bring himself to drink out of it. He wound up using it as an ashtray. note
- Notably, it's an in-universe example of a Conlang that Sauron invented so that his servants could all understand one another. It didn't pan out, as after his defeat by the Last Alliance the language fell into obscurity, leaving behind only a handful of loanwords in various Orcish dialects, and only the Nazgûl retained full comprehension of the language.
- A classic example (might possibly be the Ur-Example) are two lines that show up during the Inferno part of The Divine Comedy, the first is a threat/curse yelled by the demon Pluto: "Papé Satàn, papé Satàn aleppe". The second line is spoken by the giant Nimrod: "Raphèl maí amèche zabí almi". The meaning of both lines are left ambigious, and like everything else in the book, they have been hotly debated for centuries. With linguists and scholars making connections with everything from Hebraic to Greek. Though the general consensus is that they have no concrete meaning.
- The demons in The First Dwarf King speak in a language that is incredibly difficult for mortals to pronounce (though possible with enough effort and practice).
- Awoken starts with Andi waking up on the shores of an Eldritch Abomination's Fisher Kingdom with Identity Amnesia, surrounded by a sea unleashing violent waves, plunging hills, ruins of great, majestic towers and grey mist... then, as if this wasn't creepy enough, amid the mist, out of nowhere, starts an ominous chanting in this sort of language... and being a Cloudcuckoolander, Andi reacts in a way that could be summed up best by simply quoting:
Mysterious voice: Gharsh S'gn Wahl O'rre Sgn'!
Andi: [narrating] It sang to my ears, a song full of freedom, deliverance and individuality. It was like the proudest of whalesongs come to life. It sounded like the voice of an angel.
Mysterious voice actually coming from the stones themselves: THROD ! SGN'WAHL ! O'RRE CTHULHU GHARSH !
- Second Apocalypse:
- The monstrous Sranc (a species genetically-engineered for rape and sadism, who serve as the Mooks) speak Aghurzoi, which means "cut tongue." The Sranc were once called Tongueless Howlers, apparently due to their tongueless speech.
- When the Inchoroi first crash-landed on Earwa, they spoke only the indecipherable language that the Nonmen called Cincûlic, "the Gasping of Many Reeds," apparently due to the Inchoroi's bizarre alien anatomy. After the Inchoroi "birthed mouths," they were able to converse with the Nonmen in their own language.
- In Ella Enchanted, the Prince's reaction to Ella's simple farewell in troll language is, "It sounds evil." Ella replies that it is.
- H.P. Lovecraft:
- "The Call of Cthulhu" has several languages spoken by cultists which sound and look disturbing, thanks to being adaptations of Starfish Language to human vocal apparatus. It contains arguably the most famous snatch of this trope outside of Tolkien: Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
- In "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", the voices of Innsmouth's mutant inhabitants is described as a "bestial babel of croaking, baying and barking without the least suggestion of human speech" and a "hateful guttural patois."
- Terry Pratchett steered clear of this one in Discworld: Dwarfish is very difficult "if you haven't eaten gravel all your life", but isn't evil as such. Likewise, the Troll language, which seems to consist of tonal grunting. The words of certain spells, however, can make you feel distinctly ill. And a language called Black Oroogu mentioned in The Colour of Magic has "no nouns and only one adjective, which is obscene."
- Having a discussion with a troll in Troll language could very well lead to receiving a bonk on the head, though. You see, Trollish is in large part a body language, and trolls like to shout...
- Also, in many Troll dialects, extending one's hand is a very rude comment about their mother. It is amazing how long it took for trolls and humans to understand this.
- Having a discussion with a troll in Troll language could very well lead to receiving a bonk on the head, though. You see, Trollish is in large part a body language, and trolls like to shout...
- The Molvanian language as described in Molvanîa, A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry is supposed to have a highly irregular grammar and difficult pronunciation, often requiring crude gestures to make simple phrases intelligible. Readers are advised: "Due to the abundance of guttural phonetic sounds found in the spoken language, non-native Molvanian speakers are warned about the risk of laryngeal damage that can arise from attempting anything more than a few short phrases."
- The real-life source is likely the Georgian languages. Try the words starting with eight consonants.
- But the proper way to pronounce Georgian is very lightly, so even eight consonants should not be so troublesome.
- The real-life source is likely the Georgian languages. Try the words starting with eight consonants.
- Diana Wynne Jones's The Tough Guide to Fantasyland contains a similar warning about pronouncing ominous-sounding placenames such as Gna'ash if you have "insecurely mounted tonsils".
- While the Black Speech in Bentley Little's The Vanishing sounds normal to a character who discovers he can read it (thanks to unknowingly being a descendent of the race of monsters who originated it), when he finishes reading it aloud, the people around him inform him he's been screaming like a wild animal. Even trying to read in a whisper isn't enough to lessen the language's cacophonous effect. Also, speaking it makes plants grow.
- In Larry Niven's Known Space series, the Kzinti Hero's Tongue is reputed to sound like an epic catfight. Thoroughly appropriate for a race of felinoid slave-takers. Two speaking normally are described as a catfight in an echo chamber, four arguing among themselves as "A major feline war, with atomics".
- Although not inherently evil, Parseltongue in Harry Potter definitely sounds creepy, seeing as it's the language of snakes and consists entirely of inhuman hissing. It doesn't help that certain infamous practitioners of The Dark Arts (including Herpo the Foul, Salazar Slytherin, and Lord Voldemort) could speak the language. As such, in the Potter Verse, Sealed Evil in a Can often requires a Parseltongue password to unlock.
- In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, re-animated dead Italian soldiers initially speak one of the dialects of the Language of Hell (they were all Papists, so of course they were all damned), which is described as "...having a much higher percentage of screams than any language known to the onlookers." (Wellington approves of their having mastered it after having been dead for only three days.)
- In Arthur Machen's novella The Three Imposters - not surprisingly, a favorite of H.P. Lovecraft - a boy from the country begins speaking in a strange tongue of his ancestors: "He seemed to pour forth an infamous jargon, with words, or what seemed words, that might have belonged to a tongue dead since untold ages and buried deep beneath Nilotic mud, or in the inmost recesses of the Mexican forest. For a moment the thought passed through my mind, as my ears were still revolted with that infernal clamour, 'Surely this is the very speech of hell.'"
- The Redemption of Althalus, by David Eddings: the Book of Daeva is effectively written in this.
- In the Warhammer 40,000 novel Ravenor Returned, the language "Ennuncia" contains words (or rather, "unwords") which, when read, can disorientate and, when spoken, tend to damage the lips and teeth of the speaker. The effect of a single word on the targeted listener is worse. A lesser word, or fragment of one:
It wasn't a word. It wasn't even so much a proper sound. Just giving voice to it made her mouth hurt.But it did a lot more to Suldon. He instantly, explosively vomited, then fell onto his knees, clutching at his belly, violently retching up his stomach contents.
- In Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros novels, the language of the Auphe is impossible for humans to speak and almost impossible for supernatural beings to speak. Hearing it "feels like someone shoving ground glass in your ear." It is described as damaging the air and the universe itself whenever it is spoken.
- Charles Stross' The Laundry Files, based partly on the Cthulhu mythos, has the old Enochian languages, mainly used for writing magical "computer code" in order to, say, command zombies. It is described as a "dead tongue, for which to command dead things", completely unsuitable for the human larynx. Don't even think about making an experienced magician swear in that language.
- In the Shadowspawn trilogy — A Taint in the Blood, Council of Shadows, and Shadows of Falling Night — by S.M. Stirling, the lingua demonica, Mhabrogast, spoken by the vampiric-shapeshifting-sorcerer Shadowspawn race, is either the language of Hell or the operating code of the universe (maybe both).
- In the New Jedi Order, the Yuuzhan Vong language is extremely harsh, alternately guttural and sibilant, and bears a passing resemblance to the Trope Namer. One character (who recognizes the language, but doesn't speak it) thinks it sounds like it's composed entirely of curses. Interestingly, the direct translations given show it to be a surprisingly poetic language, one rich in imagery and metaphor, albeit one that is often used, owing to the nature of its speakers, to talk about horrible things.
- Some examples from A Song of Ice and Fire:
- The language of the ice demons known as the Others is unpronounceable for humans and sounds like scratching of ice.
- The Asshai'i language is heavily associated with dark magics. It sounds only twice in the series and is described as "shrill and ululating".
- The ancient Ghiscari language was spoken in the local sandy despot land a long time ago; at the time of the books, it was reduced to merely an accent bleeding through Valyrian spoken by the Ghiscari. Even in this reduced form it still sounds harsh and barking, and people joke that you have to put a bee into your nose to speak like a Ghiscari. Rudiments of the old language survive in Ghiscari names, all of which sound like influenza.
- In Jack Chalker's The Rings of the Master series, a character is gender bent, captured by a space pirate and used as a sex slave. The language of the evil pirate is described as sounding evil, glutteral and disgusting. It turns out to be English (the captured character was asian and not an English speaker).
- In C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength, the villains are forced to worship a demonic severed head, a ceremony which involves the chant, "Ouroborindra! Ouroborindra! Ouroborindra, ba-ba-hee!"
- In Dark Ones Mistress, both the soul-stealing and Brainwashed spell come out as a guttural, garbled mess that pulls at those who hear it.
- The language of the Goa'uld of Stargate SG-1 isn't technically an evil language, considering townspeople and Jaffa speak it, and it's supposed to be based on Ancient Egyptian... but when spoken by a Goa'uld with their flanged voices and glowy eyes? Running seems a good option. Considering how often O'Neill pointed out mistakes in their grammar, maybe they just felt safer that way. Also, English as spoken by snakeheads is pretty damn Black, too. That language has way too many expressions that translate as "Surrender or die!". And about half the language consists of the word "kree!" Since "Kree!" is a word that equates to "Attention!", "Mach Schnell!" and/or "Make It So!" depending on context, it makes sense that it gets said often by tyrants barking orders.
- In Torchwood, Owen speaks in this while The Grim Reaper passes through him. Ironically, the magic words Owen repeats in that demonic voice are taken from Stephen Donaldson's The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, in which they are the "Seven Words", a blessing.
- Star Trek:
- If you're going to speak Klingon, have a glass of water handy. Your throat will thank you. Though its stint as a more-or-less purely evil language was a short one (the Klingons didn't stop speaking Klingon just because they allied with the Federation. If anything, it meant that our Federation main characters spoke more Klingon, sometimes even as part of recreational activities!)
- The Breen in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine speak an electronic-sounding, guttural tongue.
- When Tholians are shown in Enterprise (their ships were seen in the Original Series, but not the occupants), their untranslated speech sounds like lava flowing and cracking. Apropos, since their bodies are quartz-like and they find the melting point of lead pleasantly warm.
- The Kamen Rider series has a few examples, such as the languages of the Grongi and Undead. Additionally, we see the Imagin language written but not voiced, and the Fangire tongue is long-forgotten and only spoken by Sagarc, Kamen Rider Saga's high-voiced, living Transformation Trinket, which makes it sound less than imposing.
- Babylon 5:
- The language of an ancient sinister race of Shadows consists of barely comprehensible rustle, chirps, and humming, and, in case of their living battleships, eardrum-puncturing shrieks. Although the human emissaries of Shadows can understand them (probably due to some implants), they cannot speak in Shadowish themselves. It's stated that, for example, the true name of the race is about 10,000 sounds long and is completely unutterable.
- Similarly, the Shadows' nemesis, the Vorlons' natural "voice" is heard as an odd combination of chimes, wind, and other electronic effects. The Shadows' servants, the Drakh, have an alien language as well, which is spoken in a whispered (and sinister) manner, much like Ralph Fiennes' rendition of Voldemort (and when they do speak English, they whisper it too).
- Enochian in Supernatural. Partly subverted in that it's used in just about equal measure by both good guys and bad guys (chiefly for spells and exorcisms).
- German, Japanese and Russian on The X-Files had mostly dark implications of post WWII and post-Cold War world.
- The Scarrans in Farscape have one of the few alien languages that's not translated by the translator microbes—i.e. it's one of the only alien languages that we hear in all its gutteral glory.
- Sleepy Hollow: Moloch speaks in a guttural, inhuman language.
- Salem: What the Elders of the witches speak, though they seem to know English as well.
- The only way to break Jasmine's Glamour spell on Angel was to speak her true name. When the Fang Gang gets ahold of the head of a demon whose mouth is sewn shut, they cut it open. What sounds like a mere exhale was Jas' true name, but sounded like something humans (or vampires) wouldn't even be able to pronounce.
- Penny Dreadful has the Verbis Diablo, the language spoken by the witches and the demonic entities they serve. It is said to be a corrupted version of the angelic language spoken in the Garden of Eden before the fall of man.
- On World's Dumbest..., Kevin McCaffrey describes German as this.
"You could say 'I love you; here are these flowers' in German, and I would [BLEEP] myself."
- Magma a band who from their first gigs onwards sang mostly in an invented tongue called Kobaïan, a teutonic-sounding sci-fi proto-language that went perfectly with the music, a kind of prog version of Stravinsky and Carl Orff's most paroxystic traits. They had such a natural supervillain-effect with their stage costumes and album covers that director Jodoroswky planned to have them make the background music for the Harkonnen's planet in his never-finished film version of Dune. H.R. Giger, who was to design the whole planet on screen, was later hired to make the beast and settings in Alien... Sadly, Ridley Scott didn't hire Magma.
- Death Metal and Black Metal vocals often sound like Orcs' Black Speech. Although most bands sing in English and other natural languages, it is usually distortednote to the point of being unintelligible.
- Many viking/folk metal bands from Scandinavia use their native languages, unintelligible to most of their audience (if they build up a fanbase abroad, that is), for authenticity.
- Parodied by Martin Pearson in his Lord of the Rings-themed folk-comedy show The Unfinished Spelling Errors of Bolkien, in which he sings the One Ring's inscription to the tune of "King of the Road" in a voice that borders on an Elvis impression.
- Norwegian Black Metal band Burzum's name comes from the actual Black Speech. It means "Darkness".
- Other metal bands with a name in a Tolkien language include Gorgoroth (the plateau around Mount Doom), Amon Amarth (the Sindarin name for Mount Doom itself), and Cirith Ungol (the mountain pass to Mordor and home of the spider Shelob), though Cirith Ungol mispronounce the name, using a soft c sound instead of a hard one.
- Tool has a song called "Die Eier von Satan" that plays on the preconceived notions of the German language. The song consists of the singer growling German over clanging industrial beats, punctuated with apocalyptic cries that are greeted by a roaring crowd. The overall effect is somewhere between a Black Mass and a Nazi rally, but the translated lyrics show that the speaker is reciting a recipe for egg-shaped hash brownies. His rallying cry, "Und keine Eier!" means, "And no eggs!", since there are no actual eggs in the recipe. "Eggs" are also an informal term in German for testicles, giving the hash brownies a rather silly, scatological name: "Satan's Balls."
- Norwegian Folk Metal band Trollfest write their lyrics in a constructed language they call Trollspråk, a mix of German and Norwegian which, when combined with the band's growly Black Metal vocals, can sound very evil.
- They intended it to sound evil, that's why they used German. But nobody of them actually speaks German, so they mixed it with their mother tongue, Norwegian. Because of their overall theme it sounds more silly than evil, especially if you understand German or Norwegian.
- Finnish experimental metal band Aarni doesn't make ancient Egyptian sound nice.
- Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds The New Generation: At the beginning of "Horsell Common and the Heat Ray, there's an unsettling sample of some Martian dialect.
- Parodied in "Hey There Cthulhu" by Eben Brooks, who sings a line of Black Speech to the tune of "Hey There Delilah".
- Someone edited "Wrecking Ball," by Miley Cyrus, to be this. Here it is.
- Dungeons & Dragons has a few examples:
- The Book of Vile Darkness has the Dark Speech, which is the language of pure evil and destruction. Speaking it can cause pain to the good and neutral creatures. By contrast, the Words of Creation are the direct opposite, and can help create things as well as bind evil power.
- The Warlock in 3.5 has the invocation Baleful Utterance, which duplicates the spell Shatter and can potentially deafen opponents. And yes, he does it with Dark Speech. More specifically, he does it by uttering a random syllable — the 'invocation' itself is basically a safety device that keeps the Warlock's brain from realizing what the mouth just said.
- Infernal and Abyssal are the native tongues of devils and demons, respectively. They have no special properties, but probably include an impressive array of curse words.
- In the first edition of the game, alignments had their own languages understandable only to creatures of the same alignment. When played at all, the evil alignment languages tended to get played like Black Speech.
- This is parodied in the (chronological) first of the Drizzt Do'Urden books—a mage who seems to be casting a spell in one of these languages collapses with a poisoned dart in his back.
- The various Eldritch Abominations have their own languages, most of which can't be spoken by the normal people due to sheer physiological difference. Take the Aboleth-ese for example: if a human want to speak it, they would require extra larynxes, which can be emulated by speaking while playing pipe organs. For extra creepiness: the language can be written as glyphs, which hurts one's head just by looking at it.
- Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000
- The Dark Tongue of Chaos, which is generally the language of daemons and sorcerers in both Fantasy and 40K.
- The various languages used by the Chaos-worshiping human tribes — Norse, Kurgan and Hung — also tend to be influenced by Dark Tongue to a certain extent, though they remain their own distinct languages with their own grammatical structures and so forth. The influence of Dark Tongue on these languages is mostly seen via loan-words and etymology. Norscan runic-script is also influenced by written Dark Tongue.
- Parodied with the Abyssals, who, when enacting their darkest rituals, ritually atoning for misbehavior, or otherwise communing with their Neverborn masters, will often speak in a disturbing, nigh-unpronouncably ominous tongue that seems to have all the traits of the Black Speech... until the Abyssals splatbook reveals that it's complete gibberish that doesn't actually mean anything.
- The demons of Malfeas (who aren't evil so much as alien, albeit in a manner that is implicitly dangerous to other beings) speak Old Realm, the same native language used by the gods and The Fair Folk, albeit apparently with a distinctive accent and somewhat offputting vocabulary.
- In Magic: The Gathering, the language of the Phyrexians appears to be this.
- The Darkness aligned princesses in Bleak World can ONLY use the black speech, using it to communicate with each other or the Darkness itself.
- The Lord of the Rings Online features the One Ring inscription (as given in the page quote) performed as a kind of faux-Gregorian chant by a choir as background music in some regions of the game (most notably in certain parts of Moria). In contrast to the normal expectations of Black Speech sounding harsh and guttural, it's much softer and gentler than the occasional scrap of Dwarven one hears in the game (usually "Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!").
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor features The One Ring inscription sung as Ominous Latin Chanting. Meanwhile, the sequel features actual Black Speech being spoken by some characters (without translation, to the consternation of some who no longer understand it.)
- Eredun (often referred to as simply "Demonic"), and its written form, Eredic, in Warcraft games. Lots of Xs and Zs here too. As an added bonus, reading demonic scriptures places your sanity at risk. Presumably, the language of the Draenei, which is based on the uncorrupted version of Eredic and sound quite similar, doesn't have that effect.
- Additionally, it seems that speaking demonic has a negative effect on one's ability to cast spells for non-demons. Evidenced by the fact that Warlocks can curse an opponent into being able to speak nothing else, which slows the speed at which they can cast spells.
- In World of Warcraft, demonology-spec warlocks have a spell called Metamorphosis, which temporarily transforms them into a demon. While under the influence of this spell they are affected by demon-targeting spells (such as Banish) and speak only in Demonic.
- Kalimag, the language of the Elementals. Considering it's in use by the Twilight's Hammer cult, it counts. Listen for yourself.
- There's also the language of the Old Gods, Shath'yar, spoken in-game only by them, their servants, and those unfortunate mortals who have been driven insane by prolonged contact. You can view a good sampling of it here. It sounds much like a Shout-Out to the Cthulhu Mythos, as all things related to the Old Gods are.
- The Scourge has its own language, referred to in the game as the 'language of death'. It appears that only a current or former member of the Scourge can speak or translate it. Amusing if one's character is a Death Knight, but still has to take a Scourge tome to an NPC Death Knight to have it translated.
- As a Shout-Out, one of the Nathrezim's warcries is "Ash nazg kimpatul!"
- Neverwinter Nights 2: Late in the main quest you acquire the true names of several creatures called Shadow Reavers that were created by the Big Bad from the corpses of mages that had been working for him. However, the scrolls are written in a fiendish language that only your party members Zhjaeve (a planewalking scholar and cleric) and Ammon Jerro (a warlock who has trafficked extensively with demons and devils) can read.
- Parodied in Fable II with the hollow man, who guards the Stone of Myr'Bregothill. They want to do the hollow dance of Ur'Cyrandoandor upon your bones...if only they could reliably remember what it's called.
- In Silent Hill 3, the background music in the church features guttural chanting...or groaning...It's hard to tell. Just run faster.
- Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica's Corrupted Pastalia certainly sounds like this, and the context in which it's used doesn't help.
- In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Darth Nihilus speaks in a ridiculous, over-the-top evil sounding language that is completely undecipherable, and the player is never given a translation to see what he's actually saying, though it's almost certainly the ancient Sith language. Explained in-universe as the Exile's translator module not having a setting for it.
- In Bayonetta, the various angels all speak Enochian, the language of angels. Bayonetta and Jeanne speak it themselves when summoning demons and torture weapons. When the Cardinal Virtues speak it, it's creepy.
- The cultists of Blood speak a language which is a mixture of Latin and Sanskrit words and grammar. By Blood II, only Zealots and, occasionally, Ishmael still speak it, though some of the Fallen in Shogo: Mobile Armor Division also use it.
- Baten Kaitos Origins: Your companion, Guillo, who is some sort of androgynous puppet/robot, speaks in two voices simultaneously. One is female and one is male, just to confuse you a little bit more. Additionally (and a better example), when angry, Guillo's voice becomes intensely more demonic.
- Some of the ghosts in Ghostbusters: The Video Game, such as Possessors and Cultists, engage in this.
- The evil White Legs tribe in Fallout: New Vegas: Honest Hearts speak a barbaric pidgin language.
- The language of the DomZ in Beyond Good & Evil. There's even an entire song in the soundtrack with lyrics entirely in the DomZ language that plays whenever there's a full-on DomZ invasion.
- NieR deconstructs it. Although it seems like Black Speech on the first playthrough, on the second playthrough it turns out to be a real language, and you have the ability to understand it, leading to the game becoming a deconstruction of RPGs.
- In Five Nights at Freddy's, Freddy will taunt you over the phone using Black Speech exactly 24 hours after he kills the Phone Guy. Spoilers
- Satan from The Binding of Isaac talks in some deep, guttural, incomprehensible growling. Turns out it's actually voice clips from Mom, but pitched down, distorted and played backwards.
- Mentioned in RuneScape with the note dropped after defeating one of the early Dungeoneering bosses.
"One such unique example calls itself 'Plane-freezer Lakhrahnaz' in our tongue. I regret asking it to state its name in its own tongue, as the resultant combination of both audible and inaudible sound from its many lipless mouths gave me a huge headache and caused blood to cascade from my nose, which Lakhrahnaz then froze."
- Every single one of the Elder Powers from Nexus Clash has a cultic language spoken by their followers, full of concepts that only make sense in that language. Most of them count as this trope for various reasons.
- In Sundered, the Shining Trapezohedron speaks in a harsh and guttural language that the player can only understand through the magic of subtitles. The written form of it, which shows up in the names of major bosses and certain areas, has a lot of apostrophes, X’s, and Z’s. For instance, the word “Hysteria” is translated as “X’zea’shia”.
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures : the Insectis race. Apparently, they're bad enough when they're actually speaking English, and then you get to their actual language. According to the author, it's not evil sounding, but it is painful to listen to, like trying to form vowels with the sounds of an angle grinder.
- The radio in chapter 3 of Stand Still, Stay Silent utters some, written as white, scribbled letters on black background. It's gibberish mixed with Swedish "who am (I)", "please", "beware" and "no no no".
- Subverted by Luna in Dominic Deegan, who has a couple outbursts in an ancient, guttural language (represented by black word bubbles filled with nothing but punctuation and non-letter symbols) during the too-long March Across Maltak saga. The Shintula and Bikta orcs view her using this language as horrible blasphemy, despite the fact that each outburst makes beautiful greenery appear all around her in an otherwise completely dead landscape.
- We later learn that, like the Words of Creation discussed in the "Book of Vile Darkness" entry under Tabletop Games, the language is actually the polar opposite of Black Speech - it is a holy language, and the orcs' offense comes from the fact that an unworthy human has dared to speak it.
- Irregular Webcomic!: the several personifications of death talk in ALL CAPS when talking to mortals. They talk normal among peers though, because they don't have to act ominous then.
- Parhelion: Basilisk speaks in jagged, glitched static that gets more distorted when they're agitated. No translator is necessary.
- The Pixel Dogs in Paranatural talk in skulls. Forge also speaks a single (untranslatable) word of it. This is significant, because Cursetongue is learned at the rate of one word per evil act committed by a spirit.
- The Inferni characters talk with this trope in mind in My Best Friend Marneao. It doesn't seem to have any side effect for the humans, they just think is a weird language. Marneao convinces the kids at school they are speaking canadian.
- Feline language in Kevin & Kell has some traits of this.
- In Questionable Content, Hannelore slips into the Black Tongue to rebuff Sven's advances.
- In The Zombie Hunters, the evil-looking black Speech Bubbles and glowing white lettering of Night of the Living Mooks contains a frightening cacophany of various gutteral grunts and moans, but to [half-zombie Charlie, they increasingly begin to resolve themselves into broken, rasping English, the implications of which leave the character profoundly disturbed.
- Last Res0rt plays with this; the Tone language of the Celeste uses this as a vehicle for their Compelling Voice, but...Tone itself is completely silent, only audible to the Celeste themselves and any individuals with the appropriate level of resistance.
- Homestuck: after going grimdark, Rose appears to be incapable of talking outside of this. This naturally leads to a language barrier when she runs into John.
- Becsprite seems to have a similar problem, though since his speech is only denoted with scribbles, it could just be a case of You Cannot Grasp the True Form.
- Minnie and Grim Jr. of Grim Tales from Down Below can communicate this way.
- In Sinfest, Fuchsia finds words in these while playing Boggle.
- Quite literal in Zebra Girl as of this strip.
- Dice Funk: Austin explicitly refers to the Abyssal language as "the Black Speech" when it is revealed that Anne understands it.
- The prayers to The Kellith, daughter of Gothmog, in the Whateley Universe.
- Zalgo, a memetic Eldritch Abomination whose influence can cause v̉ͤ̈͆e͇͉͛ͮ͐͑͗̌ř̋̂̄̍͋҉ȳ͇̬̲̼̀ ̨̙͉̣̘̤͕̂̾̎͑d͔̤̳̟͆͠i͖̩ͯ̿̈̿s̭̟̠͂́͞t͖̱͚̜͖̠̯ͩ̓o͇̱ͬͤ̔r̎͌t̺̳̙̼̙ͨ͒͛ͥͮ̇ͅe̸̱̋d̞͙͕̘̫̣̔̊̊͋͘ ̶̰̗̫̆̾̓t̫̼͊̈́͡e͌ͬ̔̄̾̋x̼ͬ̐̃̀͡ṫ̯͇̬̮̳̈́̍̀ͦͤ͆ ̡̄̓ͦ̇ĭ͊҉̬̬̭̙͇͔n̼͍̯̲̝̂̍̉ ̼̖̤͉͒͂̑̆ͨͫw̝͛ͭ̋ͅe̸͗̆ḇ̯͙̜̆̈̓͒ͦ ̖͉̝̪͆ͪ͒b͖͉͖̫̻͌̑ͪ͒̽ͬ̿͟r̫̬͎̮̹ͮ̑ͦͩ͂̊o̠̫̞̺̓̾͡w̺̪̯̲͂̇͒͊̐̚s̲͔̮̪̗̮̠̓͑̂ͦ̂͒͡e̫̞͔̿͆͆r̖͗s̞̾̉ͥͧ͗̒.̥̰̰̗̟̓ͫ
- Team Fortress 2: The Vagineer's speech is guttural and unintelligible. It's the real Engineer's lines, albeit reversed. Numerous abominations in similar vein, known as TF2 Freaks, are often given reversed or warped versions of their real lines.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Eppaljeck sounds like someone talking sped up, backwards, and possibly in G-major. Alternately, her 'jitter' effect that causes Applejack to explode sounds like a primitive Atari-era video game, sped up to the point of uncomfortable auditory dissoance.
- Lord Inglip's speech is naturally distorted — being captcha and all.
- There's a meme on YouTube called "G Major" where an uploader takes a normal video and inverts the colours and distorts the audio to cause this effect.
- One of The Simpsons' favorite gags is the depiction of Russian and German languages as guttural and hostile to English speakers. In every instance, the subtitles reveal that the speaker is actually saying something pleasant or benign.
- Lord Pain of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy can speak in a strange tongue which is forbidden for mortal ears. Despite sounding like silly and uncomprehensible gibberish, it causes a canary to lose its feathers, a fish to die and its tank to rotten up and Billy to ooze some kind of weird green goo from his ear, then fall unconscious.