aka: Snake Talk
"A snake, am I? Perhaps you'd like to see how ssssnake-like I can BE!"Thissss iss a Ssssself Demonssssstrating Article. Ssnaketalk iss the tendenccy of any ssnake or ssnake-like creature/persson to sspeak sso that any ssibilant ssound becomess "ss", pressumably to imitate a ssnake hisssing. Ssometimess appliess sssso broadly it affectsss any reptilian creature - even when it doessn't make any sssenssssse. Asss much asss a talking reptile can make sssenssssse anyway, even if every other Talking Animal isss perfectly capable of talking. You sssee, reptilesss do communicate with one another, but it tendss to be largely visssual; dissssplaying boldly colored frillsss or cresstss and sssuch. Sseveral sspeciessss don't even have vocal cordss and have rather poor sssenssess of hearing. It'sss really only sssenssible to the writersss, sssinccce they think sssscaly creaturess are grosssss, ssso they mussst ssssound sssscary. Black Sssspeech takess thiss a ssstep further, and consssstructs a whole language out of it, albeit far lesssss pleasssing to the ear. Often employed by Lizard Folk, Ssssnake People, and The Reptilianssss. Ssee also Fang Thpeak, Vampire Vordsss, and Trrrilling Rrrsss. If you are wondering, there are five letter "essssessss" in thissss article'ssss title.
— Jafar, Aladdin
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- Judge Dredd: The crime issss life, the ssssentence issss death!
- Spider-Man villains the Lizard, Venom, and Stegron.
- Sssssssubverted by King Tyrant Lizard in Empowered, who has a prominent lisp and simply cannot properly make "s" sounds, a fact that he is very sensitive about.
- Twisted Toyfare Theatre's version of Cobra Commander talks like this, as a Take That to the characters portrayal in the second half of G.I. Joe: The Movie (the '80s cartoon movie, natch).
- DC Comics snake cult/terrorist organization Kobra requires this as a stage of initiation for all their converts.
- The lizards and reptiles in the Star Fox Nintendo Power comic book all speak like this.
- This style of speaking, as employed by Reptile in Mortal Kombat 4, originated in the MKII comics.
- Averted and lampshaded in the Undocumented Features story Twilight (no relation), where Jormungand's speech is "perfectly atypical for the world's largest snake to have", because it doesn't use sssnaketalk.
- Averted in Tale of Solaron where the titular Snake Person is quite well spoken, though he often hisses when angry.
- Esmé in Pawn To Queen, to an incredibly Narmy degree, especially with the fic otherwise being a Darker and Edgier angstfest.
- In Those Lacking Spines, Saďx's Seme Secks talks like this. It Makes Sense in Context. Well, kind of.
- Has been seen in quite a few Harry Potter fics whenever Voldemort says anything, despite the fact that he doesn't talk like that in the books.
- In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, whenever Harry or Quirrel talk in parseltongue, an extra s gets added, and the writing style changes a little, to suggest that parseltongue lacks some words for human concepts.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic/Pokémon A Pony Out of Place Flare had to face an Titanoboa to protect Miss Cheerilee, her Class, Spike, and eventually Twilight.
- Mega Man Recut deconstructs this in "Bot Transfer." This makes it difficult for anyone to understand Mega Man while in Snake Man’s body – or Snake Man himself.
- The giant serpent Sřrmur dď Mitgaeard in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Romance and the Fate of Equestria.
- In the prequel Legend of the Goddesses, a fellow serpent chastises her for it, and there's a Stop Being Stereotypical vibe there; no other serpents in the story talk like that.
Japanesssse Comicssss and Cartoonssss
- Rokudo Mukuro from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! tends to do this.
- The Pokémon Ekans and Seviper, in Pokémon Speak. Ekans' evolution Arbok also tends to draw out its first syllable.
- Orochimaru of Naruto does this occasionally in the manga. Given the inspiration for his character, it fits. Oddly enough, it doesn't seem to happen in the TV series, largely because his voice is already so creepy that he doesn't need it.
- Kaoru Kaidou from The Prince of Tennis. But don't call him out on it.
Motion Picturessss - Animated
- The Other Mother in Coraline.
- Plenty of Disney examples:
- Kaa, in The Jungle Book, particularly during the song "Trust in Me".
- Sir Hiss, in Robin Hood.
- Jafar in giant cobra form at the end of Aladdin.
- The eels Flotsam and Jetsam from The Little Mermaid talk like this. Eels aren't snakes, but they look very snakelike.
- Scar in The Lion King talks like this at times. Yes, despite being a lion.
- Joanna from The Rescuers Down Under, although she is actually a lizard, but a reptile nonetheless.
- The cobras in Rikki Tiki Tavi.
- Completely averted in Kung Fu Panda, with Viper being voiced by the lovely Lucy Liu.
- The Spirit from the Care Bears movie tends to speak like this on occasion, most notably in her first line.
The Spirit: Nicholassssss...
- The Fat Dog-on-a-Skateboard from Tom and Jerry: The Movie.
- Averted in Rango with Rattlesnake Jake, voiced by talented British actor Bill Nighy.
Motion Picturessss - Live Action
- The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. "Sssneakinggg, my preccciousss, yesss..."
- The Snake in the musical version of The Little Prince.
- In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the snake says "Thankss." In the next film, Parseltongue is represented as an untranslated language; we don't hear it in English like in the first film. However, it still has plenty of drawn-out "s"es. To wit:
Harry: Ssiah sieth.
- Agent Smith from The Matrix series tends to drag out the end of a lot of his words, but the "s" sounds are the most noticeable.
- The Producers: Carmen Ghia goes Yesssssssssssssssssssssssss? as he greets Max and Leo into his house.
- The Mask: "Sssssmokiiiinnnnnn'!"
- The Djinn in Wishmaster tends to gradually drop his human act. The first stage consists of him starting to talk in a deep hissing voice with elongated stress on some syllables.
- Mr. Simms at the end of the horror anthology Tales from the Hood: "Welcome to Hell, motherfuckerssss!"
- Some snake horror movies have this in their title. E.g. "Sssssnake Kobra" alias "Sssssss". Or "Hisss". (If googling, note that the number of "s" tendsssss to vary.)
- Adder and Sinuous in The Animals of Farthing Wood.
- In Harry Potter, this is part and parseltongue of speaking to snakes. The snake in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone does this even when translated into English.
- Asmodeus, The Dragon from Redwall (or what looks like a literal dragon if you're a mouse), appears to punctuate everything with "Asmodeuss." (He also seems to vocalize his name while asleep, instead of snoring.)
- In fact, all snakes talk like this and even have names with lots of sibilants (Baliss, Harssacss, Sicariss...). The monitor lizardzzz from Pearls of Lutra use "z" instead.
- Lampshaded in the Mercedes Lackey/Andre Norton collaborative novel The Elvenbane: Keman, a shapeshifting dragon, has introduced himself to some other heroic characters while posing as a half-Elf. When he decides to reveal his true form (after quite some time), he breaks out in exaggerated sssssnaketalk.
- In the Larklight trilogy, Ssilissa, a "blue lizard creature," was originally named Millicent and mispronounced it consistently enough as a child that eventually everyone else gave up and just called her Ssilissa. That's right, not Millicent, not even Sillisa, but Ssilissa. She's got everyone else hissing, too. Then in the third book, the rest of her species (the Snilth) turn up and we get names such as Zssthss, Alor, Ssoozzs and Thss. Lampshaded when the narrator comments that this sounds more like a gas leak than a name.
- Crowley of Good Omens has "a tendency to hiss" whenever he forgot himself. This isn't very surprising, as he was the snake.
- In the Warcraft novel trilogy, The War of the Ancients, one of the demon commanders, Hakkar the Houndmaster, exemplifies this. Though he isn't so reptillian as much as a flaming skull on a scaled body...
- In Animorphs, the Taxxons have tongues so long they can't speak any language but their own, which is filled with "S's."
- In Tanya Huff's novel Valor's Choice, the reptilian race is heard this way by the protagonist even though their native language is being run through a Universal Translator. This is explained as the protagonist's translator being either old or broken and her needing a replacement. The rest of the Marines hear the Silsviss speaking normally. Don't think about it too hard.
- Gollum in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, my preciousss. Gollum is so fond of sibilants that he will use all nouns in the plural (regardless of actual number) and all verbs in s-form (regardless of whether the subject is third-person singular or not). He also avoids second person, using third person instead, probably to get even more sibilants in. Tolkien once spotted an "error" in The Hobbit as printed, where Gollum said the correct "I like riddles" instead of "likes". As he said, "Not that Gollum would miss the chance of a sibilant!"
- The criminal Ssnake in Perry Moore's Hero. Is handwaved when Thom unwittingly makes out with Ssnake in his civilian identity (Simon Hess, ironically enough) at a gay bar. The hiss is stereotypically explained away as a lisp.
- Draca and Lorn in Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy. To make matters even more ridiculous, they hiss when speaking using telepathy.
- The dragon Calandor in Jacqueline Carey's Banewreaker. But unlike the Black Jewels example, his telepathic voice doesn't hiss, only his actual speaking voice.
- The voles in Piers Anthony's Xanth series replace all their 's's with v's, leading to very confusing vpeech patternv. They, however, hear everybody else speaking snaketalk.
- Not Rose from The Book of Lost Things speaks like this after undergoing Glamour Failure.
- Rudyard Kipling's The Elephant's Child (one of the Just So Stories) has the bicoloured python rocksnake, who combines this with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness. In the audiotape version read by Jack Nicholson, this is spot-on.
- Leia's Jedi Master in the Star Wars Legends, a Barabel, talks like thisssss.
- In the Percy Jackson and the Olympians world, this is how Dracaenae (snake/dragon women monster thingies) talk.
- All the Fangsss in The Wingfeather Saga ssslip in and out of Snake Talk.
- Mostly averted in Harry Turtledove's World War books with the Race, the reptilian conquerors to arrive to Earth in the middle of World War II. While their native language does involve a lot of hissing and coughing, the words printed in the books are written in normal language. It is mentioned, however, that they still hiss a lot when speaking human languages. Some of the lizard names are also supposed to be pronounced with a hiss, such as Ussmak.
- In another non-reptilian example, ratfolk of Pular Singe's line have trouble with hissing their sibilants when speaking Karentine (language of Garrett, P.I.'s home city). Sssssssssubverted in that it's merely mentioned as a racial accent/speech impediment, rather than sssspelled out in the text.
- Strangely enough, used in Jane Yolen's Heart's Blood series. Heart's Blood's offspring in the later books all have names with prominent hissing sssssyllables. The dragons are telepathic and communicate mostly through projecting visuals, and grow up around humans who would typically give them noun-based names like their mother's...
- In Wind And Sparks by Alexey Pehov in the English translation by Elinor Huntington the toad people Blazogs tend to "quack", replacing guttural sounds with "kv". Thus "game" becomes "kvame" and "can" becomes "kvan". Somehow, they manage to correctly pronounce their own names like Ktatak or Gbabak.
- The reptilian Tlassians from Theirs Not To Reason Why sspeak like thiss.
- As their name might suggest, the snake-like Sssstamne from The Rogue King hissssss out any sss sssound.
- Journey To Chaos:
- Oito, the lizard demon, speaks like this, much to Eric's amazement.
Eric: Huh ... they really do talk like that.
- A royal knight commander, who is also a lizard demon, has this affect. It must be hard to give orders.
- Oito, the lizard demon, speaks like this, much to Eric's amazement.
- Parodied in The Light Fantastic, where one of the Octavo's spells is noted to be able to hiss a sentence that contains no sibilants.
- Unlike most of the nonhuman sentient races in the Heralds of Valdemar series, which speak using telepathy, the gryphons can speak aloud, but are prone to both sssnaketalk and Trrrilling Rrrs. A few gryphon characters can overcome these habits with practice, but still tend to slip back into hissing when stressed.
Live Action Television Showssss
- Doctor Who:
- The reptilian Ice Warriors, but only in Earth's atmosphere; they don't hiss in their own.
- Zephon from "The Daleks' Master Plan" has a distinctly sibilant hiss when he speaks, as does Celation.
- Mesogog in Power Rangers Dino Thunder. He manages to do it with non-sibilants, actually, making his speech a lot breathier than non-reptile characters. Many other snake or lizard based Monster of the Week characters do this as well, to varying degrees.
- Notably ssssssubverted by the Gorn in Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: Enterprise where the reptilian species has a notably deep and gravely voice, but whose speech patterns do not have an emphasized sibilance, although their breathing is somewhat sibilant.
- Cardassian characters can get a little sibilant, especially if they're angry or keyed up, but it's unknown whether this is biological or more like an accent.
- In the Farscape two-part episode "Self-Inflicted Wounds," the villain, Pathfinder Neeyala speaks like this — despite being more piscine than reptilian.
- Rory Bremner's impression of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, pulls heavily on that quirk of his voice: "Issn't it ssstriking, that God, in hisss wisssdom hasss chosssen asss hisss sssservant ssssomeone who ssssounds sssso ssssusssspiccccioussssly like a sssserpent."
- The character of Hissing Sid in the "Captain Beaky" songs written by Jeremey Lloyd and Jim Parker and sung by Keith Michell. Sid (a snake) does not speak in the original, but he does in some of the sequels, and does so (as his name implies) with a distinct hiss.
- In the theater adaptation of the old Chinese legend White Snake, both White Snake (Lady Bai) and Green Snake (Greeni) speak this way whenever they're turning back into snakes or particularly upset about something.
- In Children Of Eden, a musical based on the book of Genesis, the Serpent's number, "In Pursuit of Excellence," is carefully designed around this trope.
- The boss of Guffawha Ruins in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is not a snake, but a talking stone head who does this with "f" and "s" sounds.
- Mordak in King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder! says "Sssssay goodbye, sssssswine!" Mind you, he is actually taking the form of a snake at this point.
- Also, Graham CAN talk to that pOIsonous snake and it says "Sssssstay back!"
- Klungo from Banjo-Kazooie is not reptilian or snake-like, but still ssspeaks thisss way.
- There's also Ssslumber the giant snake (pictured above) from the sequel Banjo-Tooie, who fits the criteria better.
- Klungo's ssnaketalk is later lampshaded in the third game, Nuts & Bolts, when, upon Banjo and Kazooie completing one of his challenges perfectly, he spells out "perfection" as "p.e.r.f.e.c.h.sss.u.n."
- A group of semi-anthropomorphic snakes called, well, "The Snakes" from City of Villains uses this. Extensively. Indeed, they worship Sssstheno, and their racial name is the 'silur. Interestingly enough, they never hiss on C words, even when they should.
- The online virtual pet game Neopets's NPC Sssidney. Even his name has ssnaketalk. And his species is a Nimmo, which is a lot closer to a frog than a snake.
- Final Fantasy:
- The T'Rang from the Wizardry games speak like this, despite being insectoids.
- Sssssam the snake in Rayman 2: The Great Escape.
- Komodo Joe in Crash Team Racing.
- The Argonians from The Elder Scrolls universe use this trope, although it's less noticeable with the females. One of the stories in Daggerfall, King Edward, even describes the Argonian healer of the story as "a strange looking lizardlike man, who spoke with such a hissing accent that Edward couldn't understand him at all" ("I cannn fixxxx thissss, it'ssss cleeean"). A later installment in the series, Oblivion, is a little bit lighter with this trope, retaining the raspy, "lizardlike" drawl, but dialing down on the hissing. As of Skyrim none of the Argonians have this.
- Some of the EverQuest Iksar and lizardmen have a few extra S's. Some don't, however. It's even more common in EverQuest II.
- Spiderweb Software likes this one. In Exile and its remake Avernum, sliths talk like this. So do the drayks (and drakons) in Geneforge. However, the sliths and drayks that spend most of their time dealing with people lose the speech pattern.
- Mortal Kombat with Reptile of course, in Mortal Kombat 4. When we hear him speak in Mortal Kombat Armageddon, he doesn't have this.
- Theron-class Locust in Gears of War speak with a whispery, hissing voice and have a tendency to elongate their S's ("Sssapient wasste!").
- The enigmatic G-Man from the Half-Life sseries tends to draw out his speech in this fashion, Mister Freeman. Most of his speech tends to be Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl L Able rather than just drawing it out, giving the impression that English is not just his a second language, but speaking is his second means of communication.
- The mushroom like Lk from Star Control 3. "Greetingsss, fellow sssentient. I am the massster inheritor." Click this link to watch it.
- Ignus of Planescape: Torment. It's nothing to do with snakes in his case, though; he is perpetually on fire, and his voice sounds like crackling flames as a result.
- The Sakkhra from Savage Empire are a race of lizard people, and they all do this; they also have names like Kysstaa and Ksssindra. The ones who aren't important to the plot hiss so much that they're almost completely unintelligible. Interestingly, the Sakkhra are a devolved form of a much older race, the Kotl; they were also lizard people, but the one Kotl you meet in the game doesn't hiss.
- Nagas in World of Warcraft do this sometimes, and one mob is actually called Ssslith. That's not a spelling mistake: his name contains three esses.
- In Fallout Tactics, hairy deathclaws speak this way. Yes, they talk◊.
- Reptile men and Serpent men (in previous versions, Lizardmen and Snakemen) in Dwarf Fortress.
- This is determined by the [LISP] creature token in the raws, so if you want to, you can make everybody snake talking.
- The X-Universe has the local reptiloid race, the Teladi, talk like this. It's especially annoying since they are a race made exclusively of profiteering maniacs, and so have a tendency to put words like "profitssss" and "creditssss" where other races wouldn't. They will even hiss at the player if they're pissed off.
- Variant: Dragon Quest IX has Drak after eating the Fygg, a giant taking lizard, who does this with the letter l instead of s.
- Most of the Kremlings in the Game Boy Advance remakes of the Donkey Kong Country trilogy.
- Traffic Department 2192 has the Selarian race, as represented by Lt. (j.g.) Koth.
- A non-snake example would be General Bertram of Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance who elongates all of his s's and vowels until you start wondering if there's a snake rather than a man under that helmet.
- While not a snake, Minecraft has creepers which hiss when about to explode. Although it's more like the sound of a lit bomb fuse. "Thatsssssssss a very nice example you've got there. It'd be a ssssssshame if something happened to it."
- The Sakkra homeworld in Master of Orion is called Sssla. However, you won't see them hissing much in their speech to you during diplomatic meetings. This is likely due to the use of Translator Microbes.
- The Rats in Borderlands 2 all speak like this.
- The Lizardmen from Bruno the Bandit.
- The Ghouls from Sluggy Freelance do a lot of "his"ing.
- Jade the Yuan-Ti in Darken subverts it, speaking perfectly normally ... except when Loveable Rogue Casper — who owes her a debt — has a nightmare about her.
- Sssspoofed in a ssseriess of comicssss on FurAffinity with ssomeone'ss python character.
- In Selkie, the titular character adds an "s" to many of her words, but it's not particularly exaggerated most of the time.
- Shannon in Bloody Urban, who has a forked tongue, hisses slightly when he says certain wordss.
- In Rusty and Co., Yuan-Tiffany mixes this with a Texan accent.
- Francesca of The Horrifying Experiments of Dr. Pleasant! really letsss 'em fly when she'ssss been drinking.
- In Peter and Company Skin the snake replaces "s" with "th". Other characters, including anthropomorphic lizards, speak properly, but Skin is more of a Funny Animal or even Talking Animal. (He's actually a guardian angel/imaginary friend to a retarded lizard boy.)
- Exaggerated and lampshaded in Poorly Drawn Lines.
- Played for laughs in an episode of Angela Anaconda, where the titular character is playing Medusa in a play. The audience and teacher think it's hilarious, while Nanette is annoyed right to hell by it.
- Mac does this on one of his sugar rushes in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. This is, of course, an indirect example, being an obvious parody of Gollum (who himself is listed a couple sections up).
Mac: It burn usss! IT BURN USSS!
- Madame Snake in Teamo Supremo.
- King Hiss and his loyal race of Snake Men in Masters of the Universe. Notably, this is part of Sssqueeze's name, though in the DC series that started in 2012 non-Snake Men call him "Squeeze".
- Cobra Commander on G.I. Joe. Particularly in G.I. Joe: The Movie, where he "wass onsse a man..."
- Camille Chameleon, a villain from Darkwing Duck, is a shapeshifter who does this, which gives the hero a simple way to tell her from the person she's imitating — that is, unless he simply thinks they need some throat lozenges...
- The Lizard in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
- Waspinator in Transformers: Beast Wars does a variation of this trope, rendering his "s" sounds into buzz-like elongated "z's". Being also prone to Hulk Speak, he buzzes his own name in nearly all of his lines.
Waspinator: Wazzzpinator not want to die! Wazzzpinator hazz planzzzz!
- Slithe from Thunder Cats (whose name, in the comic books, proves to actually be "S-s-slithe") talks like this. Many of his lines end with "Yes" whether it makes sense to end the sentence that way or not, apparently just to add extra sibilants so he can do this, yeeeesss?
- In ThunderCats (2011) Snaketalk is present with all the Lizards, Slithe included, but comparatively underplayed. They generally stress their sibilants, but don't heavily prolong them.
- Repton, leader of the raptors from Storm Hawks. None of his henchmen do, though, which is odd, seeing as they're apparently also his brothers.
- Snake of the Gangreen Gang in The Powerpuff Girls. He even at one point goes out of his way to say "yess" instead of "no", the correct answer to the question being asked. When Ace slaps him he wises up and corrects himself: "I meansss no."
- Dr. Viper in SWAT Kats, who was half kat/half lizard.
- The Cobra Queen on Freakazoid! occasionally slips into this trope but thankfully doesn't overuse it. It is also apparently Cave Guy's Fetish Fuel.
Cobra Queen: Tell me more about my eyessssssssss.Cave Guy: I love the way you say eyes!
- The incredibly appropriately named Dr. Hiss in The BOTS Master, who extends this to Z sounds (pronouncing them as if they were "S"es instead), as well. Oh, and Ziv Zoolander's Boyzz BOTS have a similar problem to Waspinator, noted above; they pronounce "S" sounds as "Z"s in every context.
- On Chop Socky Chooks, the villain Kobra gains a snake-like way of speaking after being bitten by a snake. And in one episode, he brainwashes the people of Wasabi World by hypnotism. They all repeat what he said, complete with lisp, until he tells them to stop it.
- Snake Man in Mega Man; it's apparently programmed in, as when he switches bodies with Mega Man, he never drags out his S's, whilst Mega Man does.
- Cedric from W.I.T.C.H. is a mild example. He doesn't elongate his "s's" as much as many examples of this trope, but they're still more exaggerated than a normal person's, even when he's in human form.
- The tree cobra that bites Virjay in Sealab 2021 announces, "I wasss onssse a maaan", presumably as a Shout-Out to the G.I. Joe: The Movie line quoted above.
- Adder and Sinuous from The Animals of Farthing Wood.
- Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. "Exxxxxxxxxxxxcellent..."
- The Rattler on Cool McCool.
- One of the minor villians, Ssserpent on Ben 10: Alien Force. Justified, as he actually is a serpent-like alien.
- Rani Nagi from The Secret Saturdays.
- Detentionaire had an episode where Lee was hallucinating that the Red Tazelwurm was talking to him, and this is how it spoke. Of course, it's not really accurate since he came up with the whole thing himself in his feverish state. Probably.
- The chimera's snake head speaks this way in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic in the season 4 episode "Somepony to Watch Over Me"
- The Electroids from Mixels speak this way in a borderline example. They're electricity-based in nature, and their bodies naturally shock and convulse with electricity when they say s- and z- sounds, making them elongate them. They don't do it all the time, but it's noticeable when they do. It also should be noted that Teslo has a lizard-like design to him and Zaptor's name is a portmanteau of "zap" and "raptor".