"crong hope crong get to verb conjugation before end of week."
"Removing prepositions makes it more condescending."
This speak type for character has more muscle than brain
They substitute "Me" for "I", or else refer to themselves in third person
. They put special emphasis on nouns and verbs, and most extra parts of the sentence are lost. If any name is too long, it gets substituted with a cruder name/description (often "(Descriptive adjective)-man
or -lady"). They also skip any and all articles ("a," "an," and "the"). Favored words in the Hulkspeak
include "Smash", "Puny", and "Blank-thing" (e.g. "HULK SMASH PUNY LIZARD THING!
" when fighting a velociraptor). Yes, the all-caps is necessary. The primary differences between Hulkspeak
and Baby Talk
are usually at least six feet and 300 pounds.note
The most important characteristic of Hulk Speak
is its' minimalism. The format is usually, "Me, (the person speaking) (verb) (subject)."
Prepositions, indefinite, and definite articles are almost completely stripped out; although given how redundant these usually are, (particularly the latter) in many cases the effect makes Hulk Speak
easier to understand than plain English, at least when only a single subject is being discussed. In this sense, Hulk Speak
could be considered a literal English translation of the Klingon language
, which as you might expect, uses a very similar structure.
This is a common trait of Frankenstein's Monster
, especially in adaptations of Frankenstein
— although, in the original novel, the monster spoke perfect French. This is also typical of cavemen. (The Hulkspeak, not the perfect French.)
There is also a version sometimes seen in Japanese works (albeit not quite as often as in those written in English), where a character (usually a Funny Foreigner
or Raised by Wolves
type) is shown to speak in a somewhat broken fashion. Although still retaining the use of pronouns
, they will often miss words used to bridge sentences and come off as simple or uneducated. English translations (particularly those written by Trish Ledoux), have a tendency to render this "broken Japanese" as out and out Hulk Speak.
Sometimes this dialect will spoof itself, with the character referring to complicated issues. ("Mongo only pawn in game of life
.") Consistent with this, characters who use Hulk Speak
often have surprising levels of intelligence and philosophical depth. In a sense, it could even be said that their form of speech is an intellectual advantage, as it allows them to simplify complex ideas.
Contrast with Genius Bruiser
and Spock Speak
: the former is when a big tough guy is highly intelligent, the latter is when someone speaks with an excessively stiff, formal language. The Genius Bruiser will sometimes use Hulk Speak to hide his intelligence
. You No Take Candle
is when a foreign character, usually as a result of poor grasp of English
, speaks like this. When trying to describe more complicated concepts, will often overlap with Buffy Speak
As with The Ditz
, an easy way to derive humor from a character using Hulk Speak is to occasionally give them lines expressing more complicated concepts than their usual diction would imply they were capable of grasping. E.g. Thog's first line here
and Draak's bit here
And if it isn't obvious enough, the trope is derived from the speech pattern of Marvel's Hulk
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The Incredible Hulk, for whom this trope is named, but only the animated version and the "savage" version from the comics. The 2003 movie version only spoke once, in Bruce Banner's dream sequence. (It was even a Mythology Gag: "Puny human.") In the 2008 movie, Hulk said "HULK... SMASH!" during the final fight scene with Abomination — because it had to be said at least once. Aside from that, though, he mostly just roared as Hulk. For the most part, however, he speaks correct, if terse, English. The Hulk says "HULK SMASH!" pretty often in the comics, even in his more intelligent incarnations that are pretty smart and can actually talk perfectly fluent English. Then there was a partial Subversion in Peter David's apocalyptic far-future Hulk story The Last Titan; the Hulk was given ample space for his thoughts, which while being in Hulkspeak, were well-constructed and reasonable, though also mostly misanthropic and relating to various forms of violence.
- The Bixby/Ferrigno The Incredible Hulk TV series from the 1970s likewise averts this trope. Lou Ferrigno mostly stands there and growls while he flexes.
- Writing Hulk-related reviews or previews as if the hero did them occurs at times — and is mostly hilarious. You can also check out how it looks when Hulk wrote his own article in this very wiki.
- The animated adaptation of Planet Hulk subverts this, with Hulk talking like this for a few early sentences, but speaks fluent English for the rest of the film.
- The Planet Hulk comics had that too, but it was explained as NEW version of the Hulk, one able to tap into Banner's intellect to some degree as far as basic intelligence and strategizing (necessary for his survival on the hostile world)
- The Hulk persona Green Scar is the classic Savage Hulk (who has the mind of a small child) all grown up.
- Deadpool showed up in the Hulk books with his thought narration written in Hulk speak.
- Oddly, DC Comics used to use Hulkspeak for toddler characters (most notably for Superbaby). This, along with many things about Silver Age DC, is probably better left unexplained.
- Also in DC comics, Solomon Grundy tends to speak this way — mostly. However, he comes back from the dead different each time, sometimes subtly, sometimes with major differences. So it varies with each resurrection. Bizarro am not use variant of trope, too.
- Eghad from Godland has an odd variation; He can't seem to form complete sentences, instead expressing key ideas or phrases in the message he's trying to convey... as well as some seemingly random pop culture stuff. "Master! Incoming. Sizzle. Leather bee-yotch. Prosecution. Film at eleven." = "Master, I saw on the news that Adam Archer took out Discordia, who is awaiting trial."
- The crocs from Pearls Before Swine. "BINGO! We no can fly NUTHeeng!"
- Grossout from Scare Tactics talked somewhat like this. He didn't refer to himself in the third person, but he did use the shortest words possible and left out bridging words. This was in large part thanks to his stutter.
- Shape, from Squadron Supreme.
- Mongrol, from ABC Warriors.
- Ka-Zar, Marvel Comics' signature Wild Child, speaks in this manner... though in one of his earliest appearances an author's note clarifies that this is "merely a loose translation of the original guttural swamp dialect, a tongue which very few of us majored in at college!" Ka-Zar's speech can't be expected to be very sophisticated to begin with, considering that at the time he was illiterate and had little human contact at all.
- Jitterjack and Gloo from Astro City.
- The Teen Titans villain Mammoth invokes this... sometimes.
- Suske en Wiske: Jerom also speaks like this. And he was created 11 years before the Hulk!
- The trolls in the Discworld books often speak like this. Since their brains are essentially superconducting computers, the colder they get the smarter they get, and they often engage in the "complicated issues" subversion when sufficiently chilled. It is implied that, in their natural environment up in the mountains, they're actually quite cunning and it's the smarter ones who seek better life in the cities. Makes you wonder why, if they're the smart ones, they don't realize they're going to turn into babbling idiots in the lowlands.
- Completely justified with the superconducting computers fact. Troll brains in Discworld are made from silicon, and heat essentially makes them "lag" immensely. Detritus almost dies when they take him to the desert area of Klatch, presumably because his brain couldn't keep up with his own vital functions. They're not so much idiots as slow in the head.
- It's not really a case of not realizing they'll be slow in hotter climates; it's more a matter that they consider it worth it to leave, because of the much greater opportunities for advancement and mate-finding in the cities. It's also possible that they just don't realize exactly how much it will affect them despite knowing it intellectually. Trolls have in fact adapted quite well to the city, even going so far as to seek out the coldest areas of the city — like the Pork Futures Warehouse — to hold meetings. And at least a few of them actively engage in Obfuscating Stupidity — like Chrysophrase and in the later books, Detritus.
- Greatly aided by Cuddy's development of the first Discworld computer cooling fan ...
- In the Animorphs books, the Hork-Bajir mostly spoke in Hulkspeak. In the earlier books, they also had a tendency to mix alien words into their sentences, but this decreased before long, and most of the things a Hork-Bajir says are pure English Hulkspeak. In the Hork-Bajirs' case, this is clearly an effect of Aliens Speaking English. We can tell, because in a book that takes place on their own world, The Hork-Bajir Chronicles, the Translation Convention is in effect and all their sentences are rendered with normal grammar.
- The exception is Toby Hamee, since she is a Hork-Bajir seer, meaning she is much more intelligent than the rest of her race.
- In Robert Lynn Asprin's Myth Adventure novels, Chumley the Troll is quite refined and erudite, while his professional persona is "Big Crunch", who uses Hulk-speak.
- The giant Grawp in Harry Potter uses Hulkspeak, including simplified names like "Hagger" instead of "Hagrid" and "Hermy" instead of "Hermione".
- Though, while little mention is made of giant intelligence, very few of them speak English, so it could just be Grawp not speaking enough English to speak properly.
- "Danders Anders" (Andrew) in How to Ditch Your Fairy.
- While all Gamorreans in Star Wars are Dumb Muscle, only Gartugg, one of Jabba's guards, has Hulk Speak, and is teased for it by other Gamorreans.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Dead Sky Black Sun, the Lord of the Unfleshed speaks like this. Though some of it may be his extremely limited practice in speaking.
- The barbarians in the Kedrigern books speak like this. Kedrigern lampshades this in the first book, and ponders whether it's actually Obfuscating Stupidity, with the barbarians eloquently chatting when they're sure no one's listening.
- The Ogres of Xanth supposedly speak very simplistic, crude rhymes. But it turns out this is a result of Fantastic Racism and people who approach ogres without prejudice discover that they're actually quite erudite.
- The meat golems of City of Devils communicate entirely in two-word sentences like "fire bad," and "girl good." They're also medical professionals, which makes one wonder about the quality of medical care in that universe.
Live Action TV
- Jonathan Coulton's "Code Monkey" does this throughout the whole song, in character with its general protagonist.
- The Paul and Storm song "Me Make Fire" is about a caveman.
- Grond from Champions.
- GURPS International Super Teams includes among its sample characters a hero known only as "Patchwork", who is a Frankensteinian hulk created by a would-be villain out of parts of dead supers. Although he is intelligent, well-spoken and philosophical, in the field Patchwork affects a violent persona capable only of Hulk Speak as a psychological tactic.
- Employed by the man himself in this Cinema Bums strip.
- Junpei from Megatokyo speaks like this. At first it appears to be justified by his limited knowledge of the English language, but his Japanese lines seem to be spoken in the same way. Then you realize that, as a parody of old movies with foreigners and ninja in particular, he should talk this way. An example from the issue #1012:
Junpei: If zombies crush and try eat, it real. Please excuse, Junpei need wipe goo off shoes before ruined.
- Yuki speaks normal Japanese, but she also speaks English this way; this might be more because Magical Girl anime often runneth over with Gratuitous English.
- Yuki's is justified; one of her first English phrases is "I don't speak good English."
- Thog in The Order of the Stick. He refers to the twin brother of his boss, Nale, as "Not-Nale" and he has the classic line, "Thog not in this book. Thog sad." (Also, when breaking out of a prison, Thog becomes a darker green and yells "Thog smash puny prison!" as he obliterates the cell bars; once he goes back to his pale green, he wonders "How Thog's pants turn purple?")
- Apparently, this is a common trait for the orcish people, as seen (and lampshaded) here.
- His most awesome (and also longest) line of dialogue so far was:
Prison guard: ... pleading insanity, then?
- When Tarquin is pretending to be Thog, we get this exchange;
Fake Thog: *Ahem* THOG SMASHES! Kilkil:
Sir, watch your grammar! Malack:
Why, what's wrong with it? Kilkil: Absolutely nothing!
- It doesn't fool the Order for a moment, either:
Roy: That's not Thog. [...] Plus he leads with the other foot, he resisted Durkon's enchantment, and I think he used a second-person pronoun.
- Parodied in Narbonic, by a giant robotic foot built by Professor Madblood. "A robot foot?" "MASTER INTEND TO CONSTRUCT ENTIRE GIANT ATTACK ROBOT, BUT MASTER RUN OUT OF FUNDING AFTER ONLY FOOT COMPLETED. *click* MASTER ALSO RUN OUT OF FUNDS TO PROVIDE FOOT WITH ARTICLES OR PAST TENSES." This attracts the attention of heroic grammar enforcer, Antonio Smith, forensic linguist. The Foot also brilliantly comments "FOOT FACE MANY PERSONAL DEMONS IN FOOT LIFE" and "IF FOOT NOT STOMP, WHAT IS FOOT PURPOSE?"
- In the Fantasy plot of Irregular Webcomic!, Draak (a lizard man in the party) is quite eloquent in his own language and arguably the smartest person in his party. However, his English is limited to monosyllables, though he's still able to occasionally express complicated thoughts.
- The Clutter Monster in a number of January 2008 Sluggy Freelance strips.
- Thomas, from UG Madness.
- Schlock Mercenary has LOTA (acronym for "Longshoreman of the Apocalypse"); Lota is a robot designed to unload cargo at high speed, made from an old anti-grav tank and an overengineered, but underdebugged AI. When asked which gender pronouns to use, Lota replied "Lota is too large for your puny pronouns." Thus, Lota is only referred to as "Lota", never "he", "she", "it", or even "you". Other than the issue with puny pronouns, puny grunts and puny mob, however, LOTA speaks normally.
- Grooona (the third "o" is silent) from WCI High is an orange-skinned reptilian monster created by one of the students in the science labs. She tries to mingle with the other girls, with mixed results.
- Drowtales: Smashy Smash!
- In Everyday Heroes, when Violet transforms into Shrinking Violent, her only comment is "ME HIT STUFF!" (a Shout-Out to another well-known Catch Phrase).
- MSF High: Orcs, the main Redeemed race, tend to get this. In a subversion, however, in many cases they are just as intelligent as any other race. (See especially their card in the Card Game.)
- In 8-Bit Theater, Berserker talks like this when he's...er...berserking. The rest of the time, he's perfectly eloquent. The Sulk plays this straight.
Red Mage: I hope that's not a declaration of intent.
- The zombies in Bug talk like this:
- Hamman from "Spontaneous Combustion" talks this way, particularly the third-person variety. "HAMMAN AM HAMMAN!"
- The S&M Minotaur from Our Little Adventure, who was a Monster of the Week for Julie's group.
- In Rusty and Co., the cameo Robespierre smash!
- Tastefully averted in Frankie And Stein. With references left and right, it's really anyone's guess whether the Frankenstein's Monster being created in the first chapter will be able to speak well or not.
- In Kim Possible, Ron talks this way after mutating into "Gronde".
- Surprisingly The Hulk doesn't speak like this in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, this makes him seem a lot more intelligent.
- The closest we get is his Catch Phrase: Hulk is strongest there is! Everything else is normal, or sarcastic/cynical. However, the more pissed off he gets, the more likely you are to hear Hulk Speak, rage apparently eroding his intelligence. (This, by the way, is when you want to run for your life.)
- This continues in Avengers Assemble and Hulk And The Agents Of SMASH. In the latter series, he's even team leader and it's not every day he's driven into an incoherent rage. "Hulks, smash!" is heard only as their "Avengers, assemble!" cry. However, we learn he used to be like the classic Savage Hulk and is trying to atone for the years of rage-monsterdom. In Ultimate Spider-Man, Hulk's appearances begin with him as his classic Hulk Smashy self, but at a reduced enough level to let him stay in on this more comedic series' hijinks when his usual personality would have him punch Spidey to the moon and bound away. (Basically, he's right out of The Super Hero Squad Show.) However, he's left somewhat more intelligent as a side-effect after Mesmero messes with his head. It seems the Avengers EMH portrayal is going to stick for a while, at least in animation.
- Various Transformers characters:
- Grimlock in Generation 1 and Animated. In the cartoons, this is apparently because he's stupid. In the various comics continuities - in everything but the shows, really - he is actually very intelligent, and the "Me Grimlock" speak, when present at all, is due to a faulty voice box, Obfuscating Stupidity, or both.
- Tankor in Beast Machines. However, when he manages to unlock his spark's true intelligence, he begins speaking normally, but keeps up the hulk speak to deceive Megatron.
- Abominus and Trypticon from the original cartoon suffer from similar problems, but unlike Grimlock and the Dinobots, "CRUSH METROPLEX" and "Computron think too much." is about the best than can do. Humorously in light of this, one comic series instead depicts Trypticon as an Affably Evil Genius Bruiser who spouts British Stock Phrases.
- In "The Ultimate Weapon" there were moments when Trypicon spoke more normally, "Trypticon is all powerful! Nothing can stand in my way!" and "Trypticon turn Metroplex into slum!".
- Shattered Glass Grimlock actually managed to combine Hulk Speak with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
- Devastator from Revenge Of The Fallen; although he doesn't speak in the movie, there are large toys of the character with several pre-recorded phrases. Have fun with epic sayings such as "CRUSH AUTOBOTS!!!" and "I AM DECEPTICON!!!". We also get a shoutout to Transformers: The Movie from this toy, with "PREPARE FOR EXTERMINATION!"
- Tidal Wave.
- Most G1 beast bots, giant bots, and combination bots talk like this, and it's seen with the good guys as well as the bad. With the combiners, it's generally held to be the result of a gestalt's mind containing only what all five members have in common. That leaves little but "Crush Autobots!" However, Predaking's five members are on the same page to the point that even though beast-bots and giant-bots in G1 generally have half the IQ of a box of rocks, Predaking - a giant bot made of beast bots - is very intelligent, and has a Kraven the Hunter-like personality.
- The comics generally give them full intelligence, though Devastator is the first combiner, made before the process is perfected, leaving him as the only Hulk Smash-y one. A Marvel UK story has the Decepticons work on fixing this.
- Taz, the Tazmanian Devil, in the Looney Tunes shorts where he has any lines other than "Growl, spit". On Taz-Mania, his own show, the rest of his family speaks normally.
- Futurama, "Amazon Women In The Mood": The Amazonians speak this way, with the "complicated issues" subversion.
- Caveman Og from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, whose speech is a very subtle version of Hulkspeak in which he is soft spoken and somewhat refined, but can't seem to grasp speaking in the first person. "Look, me feel no agenda to meeting and vacuum in leadership position, so, me compose 10 points plan for good happy success."
- The Infraggable Krunk from the Justice Friends Show Within a Show in Dexter's Laboratory. Not just a parody of Hulk Speak, but a parody of the Hulk himself... right down to the purple skin and green shorts.
- Proto Clown from The Tick episode "The Tick vs the Proto Clown".
Proto-Clown: Bud laugh at Clown! Bud's friends laugh! Clown crush all - then Clown laugh!!
- Used jokingly by Hawkgirl in Justice League in a conversation with Grundy. For extra points, her last two words were, "Hawkgirl Smash!"
- Oonga boonga! Captain Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaveeeemaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnn!!
- Edward The Less featured a hilarious spoof/Lampshade Hanging with its requisite barbarian character. Edward asks "You ever consider using articles or personal pronouns?" and he responds with a speech that is completely lacking those elements yet is still very eloquent, explaining that he could speak the Queen's English if he wanted to but finds it a waste of time.
- In Code Lyoko, William and other XANA-possessed humans are often quite monosyllabic (Polymorphic Clones even moreso). At least, once the influence has become obvious: strangely enough, they're just as verbose and natural-sounding as the person they're impersonating until their true nature is revealed. And sometimes, even using words is beyond their means: "YAAAAAAAAAR!"
- After the episode "A Lack of Goodwill", XANA-possessed William starts talking more normally, though still in a distorted voice.
- From the "Toy Palace" episode of Rugrats: "THORG HUNGRY! THORG WANT EAT!"
- The cave-people and Yoshi in Super Mario World.
- Homer's clones from a "Treehouse of Horror" talked like this, examples: "duh, me am good dad", "me not want chores, me want clone", and "duh, beer for me?"
- As a Tarzan parody, there's always George of the Jungle.
"George not know meaning of word fear." (villain pokes a gun in his face) "But George consider learning."
- SpongeBob SquarePants: YOU DOODLE, ME SPONGEBOB!
- Sam Star (Patrick's long-lost and overprotective big sister) also speaks this way.
- Princess Pony Apehands and Patricia, from Spliced. Notable in that the latter only does so when she's angry, and the former speaks in what can only be described as "Hulk Speak meets Baby Talk" (no, seriously).
- The neanderthals in Cro. "That not funny! Not politically correct either!"
- Done with a Hulk Expy in Static Shock, fitting called Tantrum.
Tantrum: No not Thomas! Thomas weak!
- Kolossal CRUSH!
- Java from Martin Mystery speaks Hulkspeak by virtue of being a caveman.
- Push the trash can from ChalkZone speaks like this.
(from Shapshots 2: Wild Chalkzone!) Ohhh, Push stay in marshy-marsh, click-click buggy-blackies for tube-view, eh, clingy-Snap?
- "SPIKE WANT!
- "Bigmouth want food!"
- MAD has a Parody Commercial for "Hulked on Phonics", which helps kids learn to read better by applying the principles of Hulk Speak to the process. Yes, they skip over a lot of the unneccessary words, but don't bug them about it, because that makes them angry...
- Played for Laughs in "Total Drama Revenge" when exposure to toxic waste mutates new camper Dakota into the Dakotazoid.
- On Invader Zim, Zim's holographic training version of Dib talks this way. Averted by the real version, though like the rest of the cast he can lapse into Buffy Speak.
- The Big Bad Hippo from Toph's introduction episode in Avatar: The Last Airbender speaks in Hulk Speak, even when not competing in the ring.
- Parodied in an episode of Johnny Bravo. Johnny is tanning on the beach when the glare from his reflecting tin hits a sea captain in the face. The captain's reaction:
- The Cragsters from Mixels talk like this, though they talk better than the most of the other examples.
- Cindarr does this on a couple of occasions in Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light. In "The Dark Hand of Treachery" he says: "Power Staff not last very long" and "Honor Among Thieves" has the Grimlock-esque: "Me Cindarr broke". However, the rest of his dialogue is more or less grammatically correct.