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Black Speech

"Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul"
The Lord of the Rings: Inscription on the One Ring, with inflection note 

The language of Mordor, spoken only by The One Whose Name Must Never Be Uttered and his evil Cult. 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 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 Aliens Natives Speaking English.

Once upon a time, Nazis speaking German were considered to be using Black Speech (likely, the actors were hamming it up to sound scarier). Nowadays, German is just another language alongside French.

Using real but obscure languages as models for a fictional Black Speech owing to their very peculiar sound can get you into trouble. This seems to happen to Native American languages quite a bit.

This doesn't refer to languages used by black people.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball, King Piccolo would speak to his minions and mind slaves in some strange tongue. Retconned in DBZ, 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 exorcism a 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.)

    Comic Books 
  • 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."
  • 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 has trouble with the modern NeoCybex, and can only manage a few guttural syllables at a time.

    Films 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Gamebooks 
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • 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. Black Speech acquired some sort of a fandom because of the inscriptions on the ring, much to the dismay of its creator, who had put everything he hated into this language. In fact, a fan once gave Tolkien a goblet with the inscription from the ring in Black Speech as a gift, but Tolkien found the language so ugly (and the words so ominous) that he couldn't bring himself to drink out of it. He wound up using it as an ashtray.
    • The language is written with Elvish script or runes, however, and Elvish script is beautiful. The inscription on the Ring must have been quite pretty, glowing red on gold. No doubt the goblet looked quite nice, if you didn't know what the words sounded like (or meant).
    • Both book and extended film versions of the story include a scene where Gandalf uttering the Black Speech verse from the Ring causes the sky to grow dark and the Earth to tremble; the film version even gives Gandalf a Voice of the Legion effect for good measure, with what seems to be Sauron's voice speaking along with his own. The Elves are not amused.
    • Notoriously, Black Speech is the least developed of Tolkien's artificial languages (the fact that it might possibly be based on some Hungarian dialects probably kept it from appearing too frequently). Word of God only provides two examples: the Ring verse in a formal register, and an offensive diatribe in 'vulgar' Orcish Black Speech. That didn't stop people from being fascinated by its potential as evil-defining: movie linguist David Salo extrapolated a richer language for the villains and the soundtrack, and (less professionally) Tolkien-influenced black metal bands like to compose songs in faux Black Speech. Tolkien would probably be appalled at those.
      • The Russian linguist Alexander Nemirovsky found that this language is quite similar to Hurritic and was probably inspired by it.
    • While the Black Speech was invented by Sauron, some of its vocabulary seems to have been based on Valarin, the language of the angelic Valar. Interestingly, Valarin is described by one elven scholar as sounding "harsh" to species other than the Valar, while others, again, have different opinions.
      • The Black Speech being based on Valarin is probably because it was invented by Sauron, who was a Maia (lesser divinity) who once served the Valar and whose former boss (and Middle-earth's counterpart of Satan) Morgoth, was a Vala himself.
      • Frodo is probably giving us the Word of God when he says that the Dark Power "can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own".
    • In-universe, Sauron more-or-less constructed the language himself to be the new tongue of his empire. However, after getting his butt kicked by the Last Alliance, it fell out of favor with everyone but him and his wraiths. Only they, and scholars like Gandalf and Elrond, remember it at all.
  • A classic example (might possibly be the Trope Creator) are two lines that show up during the Inferno part of 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.
  • 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, majestous towers and grey mist... then, as if this wasn't creepy enough, amid the mist, out of nowhere, starts an ominious chanting in this sort of language... and being a Cloud Cuckoo Lander, 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 singed 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 !
  • In the Second Apocalypse series, the monstrous Sranc (a species genetically-engineered for rape and sadism, who serve as the Mooks) speak a hissing Black Speech language known as "the Gasping of Many Reeds".
  • In Ella Enchanted, the Prince's reaction to Ella's simple farewell in troll language is, "It sounds evil." Ella replies that it is.
  • "The Call of Cthulhu" by H.P. Lovecraft has several languages spoken by cultists which sound and look disturbing. 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 mutant inhabitants of the eponymous town have guttural, slopping, croaking voices that are frightening to hear. The narrator indicates that they have their own blasphemous language to go along with it.
  • Terry Pratchett steered clear of this one: 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."
    • Death is said to have a voice like "the slamming crypt lids, in the worm-haunted fastnesses under the most ancient mountains." It is represented as Caps and Small Caps. When he gets an actual voice (in the computer games, for example), he tends not to be particularly sepulchral, but merely exaggeratedly deep and slightly echoey.
    • War has a voice compared to clanging chunks of lead, and Pestilence to a drop sliding inside a coffin.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Harry Potter has Parseltongue, the language of snakes.
    • Although even that isn't inherently evil; Harry has a perfectly civil conversation with a very nice snake in a zoo in the first book. It simply gained a very unpleasant association from the fact that Salazar Slytherin and his descendants, including Voldemort, could speak it.
  • 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 Series, 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 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, 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.

    Live Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • The language of an ancient sinister race of Shadows in Babylon 5 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: The Demon speaks in a gutteral, inhuman language.
  • Salem: What the Elders of the witches speak, though they seem to know English as well.

    Music 
  • 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 distorted to the point of being unintelligible.
    • Depends entirely on the listener. Death metal and Black metal vocals are not unintelligible to their listeners, and growling and/or screaming does not make the singing Black Speech per se. Who knows if Dwarven language should actually sound like death metal grunts instead of sounding like a poor Sean Connery imitation?
  • 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.
    • Summoning, a Lord of the Rings-themed black metal band, went one step further by actually writing a song in the Black Speech. It's called Mirdautas Vras (trans. "A good day to kill") and it's awesome. Listen here.
  • 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.
    • Similarly parodied in Eben Brooks' "Hey There Cthulhu", where the above quote from "The Call of Cthulhu" is sung to the tune of "Hey There Delilah" by the Plain White Ts.
    • "Cthulhu fhtagn" has also been filked to the tune of "Hakuna Matata".
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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 in Exalted. 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 lnaguage as that 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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!").
  • 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, 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. To date, this language does not seem to have its own name, although 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!"
  • Played for laughs in Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir. Volo wants a parrot, so you get him one. He gets it to speak something in an apparently demonic tongue. A high enough lore skill allows you to say, "Well, that wasn't very polite." Volo tries again, the parrot says something else, and you can say, "It's not getting any nicer..."
  • 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'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, 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. It's almost certainly ancient Sith. The Exile's translator module doesn't have a setting for that.
  • 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.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Zetherian, referred to by some as the High Speech of Dark Lords, is Trollvorlord's self-formed language. It's full of odd vowel sounds, flow interruptions and no one hardly knows what it actually means.
    "Vae vi-iils 'sruk s' tl'vi"
  • 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.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Eppaljeck sounds like someone talking sped up, backwards, and possibly in G-major.
  • Lord Inglip's speech is naturally distorted — being captcha and all.

    Western Animation 
  • 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 expulse some kind of weird green goo from his ear, then fall unconscious.


Bizarre Human BiologyOtherness TropesThe Blank
Bee Bee GunImageSource/Tabletop GamesBlind Obedience
Con LangLanguage TropesCommon Tongue
Artifact of DoomThese Are Things Man Was Not Meant to KnowBrown Note
Black KnightObviously EvilBlack Eyes of Evil
Black ShirtAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Blondes are Evil

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