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Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish
aka: Fluent In Gibberish
Kronk: Squeaky uh... squeak squeaker... squeaken.
Bucky: *squirrel noises* note 
Kronk: Jaguars. No kidding. Brutal.

There are times when the heroes come across an alien or an animal whose help they need, but find themselves unable to communicate. Suddenly, The Ditz or the Cloudcuckoolander steps forward and starts talking with it and the other party responds. Somehow.

Suddenly Fluent In Gibberish refers to a character displaying the unexpected ability to communicate with somebody or something that should be impossible to speak to. The conversation is always done in gibberish, whether that includes beaver talk, Martian talk or anything similar. The skill comes without any prior Foreshadowing and is invariably Played for Laughs. When asked how they learned it, The Ditz will more often than not respond that they always knew that. The other characters will usually be left aghast and try not to think how it makes sense.

Sister Trope to Suddenly Bilingual, which involves sudden fluency in an actual language. When a character has speaking to animal as a Stock Super Power see Speaks Fluent Animal


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Film 
  • The Emperor's New Groove: Kronk is versed in the languages of little woodland creatures, thanks to his Boy Scout Junior Chipmunk training.
  • Finding Nemo: Dory claims to speak whale language. Marlin is less than impressed, until it gets them to Sydney. Dory also knows how to read English and Spanish.
  • The Meteor Man: Speaking with animals turns out to be one of the meteor's powers, learned when casually asking the dog what he wanted to eat.
  • Sid in Ice Age: Continental Drift converses with the non-speaking Hyrax via a stream of gibberish and pantomine.
  • In Tooth, at one point the main characters come across a mermaid and out of nowhere the sister is fluent in mermaid language, which consists entirely of glub sounds.
  • Famously done in Airplane! where a passenger volunteers to translate for another passenger who only speaks "jive."

    Live Action TV 
  • In Doctor Who, the Doctor can speak baby... or at least enough to tell Craig that his son Alfie prefers the name Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All. The Doctor can also understand it when baby Melody Pond/River Song makes fun of his hair and bow tie. He also speaks Horse.
  • In Happy Days, Richie has an unexpectedly rough first day at work and he is so tired coming home that he can't speak coherently. Fortunately, Fonzie is fluent in Tired and provides translations.
  • In Zoey 101, Quinn, the Mad Scientist CloudcuckooLander, is very concerned about her pet alpaca, Otis, whom she left back home. Zoey arranges for Otis to come to school. Quinn makes alpaca noises at Otis, and Otis makes the noises back. Nicole says, "Quinn speaks alpaca?" Zoey's response: "Are you surprised?" (We later see Quinn and the animal playing chess.)
  • Community: In the episode Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (the role-playing game episode) Abed, as Dungeon Master, speaks in the voice of NPC Kyle the Goblin. He only speaks Goblin, and Britta discovers from her Character Sheet that she is the only player who speaks Goblin, and must ask him the necessary question about acquiring a Pegasus. Lampshaded and parodied when Abed as the Goblin recognises the word "Pegasus" in the players' conversation - "A word I understand in all languages".
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: In "Fins, Femmes and Gems", Joxer thinks he is 'Atis, the Ape Man' and claims to be able to speak to animals. It is unclear if if he actually can or if this is just part of his delusion.
  • When Jean Stapleton guest starred on The Muppet Show, she revealed the Swedish Chef's shameful secret - that he doesn't really speak Swedish. Fortunately, Jean was fluent in Mock Swedish and was able to convince him to switch to his native language - Mock Japanese.

    Video Games 
  • A variant occurred in Fallout 2: In the first town you reach after leaving home, you encounter a mentally stunted man who with great difficulty tells you to help safeguard some livestock. If your character has a very low intelligence score, you will be able to converse with him in very erudite grunting (the translation is given in parentheses), conveying fairly complex information.
  • Guy in Final Fantasy II (the real one, not the one that was actually Final Fantasy IV in Japan) can speak beaver language — even though, at least in Dawn of Souls, he has a little trouble with English. It's a little jarring.
    • An actual example in Final Fantasy IV (DS version) is in the Feymarch, where you meet Whyt and his family face-to-face for the first time. Rydia acts as their interpreter.
  • Subverted in Disgaea 3 when the not-quite-stable Princess Sapphire has a chat with the mentally regressed Mao:
    Mao: Ba, babuu
    Sapphire: Oh it's you, Sir Mao. What's wrong?
    Mao: Babloo
    Sapphire: Oh, is that so? We're allowed to kill these guys?
    Almaz: Princess, you can understand what Mao's saying?
    Sapphire: No, I just thought it'd be easier if that was the case.
  • In Persona 3:
    Junpei: Wait, does that mean... this dog's a Persona-user!?
    Aigis: He says, "This is a place of peace, so I protected it."
    Junpei: Uh, Aigis? Don't tell me you can translate dog language too...
    Aigis: Canines do not have their own language. However, speech is not the only means of communication.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, Bubbles has the ability to speak to squirrels, among other things, which comes in handy on occasion.
    • A throwaway joke in another episode mentions that she is also fluent in Spanish. Eventually it's revealed that she can speak everything.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, the kids are trying to save babies at a hospital. Numbuh Three, The Ditz, reveals that "I speak baby," and indeed she does.
  • The second season of Josie and the Pussycats has the team flying into outer space and encountering a dog-bird alien named Bleep, who communicates as follows: "Bleep bleep bleep." Melody, the Ditz, says, "Bleep bleep bleep, bleep bleep?" Bleep responds, "Bleep bleep bleep, bleep." Melody then gives an English translation.
  • In the episode of Tiny Toon Adventures where the main gang ends up in England, Babs reveals she's fluent in "royalese," which was necessary in order to talk to Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
  • In the "Underfist" special of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Irwin pleads with Hoss, Skarr, and Jeff that, among other things, Mindy was kidnapped by a marshmallow bunny. However, his hysterical Inelegant Blubbering couldn't be understood by anyone save Jeff, who speaks "crybaby."
  • Happens in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants: (as Patrick is whistling) "Patrick, I didn't know you spoke bird!" "No, that's Italian, Spongebob."
  • At one point in Phineas and Ferb, while Phineas and Ferb are helping Buford search for his lost goldfish, Phineas mentions that Ferb can communicate with dolphins. Another episode also reveals that Ferb can also speak Martian.
  • One episode of Total Drama World Tour has Izzy, the queen Cloudcuckoolander, is able to talk to a camel. Its even been confirmed that camel is her favorite foreign language.
    Izzy: *grunting sounds* I just introduced myself in camelese.
    • She then asks the camel where they can get some lemonade. It leads them to the finish line.
  • On the Monsters vs. Aliens Halloween Special, Mutant Pumpkins From Outer Space, B.O.B. tries to reason with the evil pumpkins because, since he's part tomato, he's fluent in produce.
    Dr. Cockroach: Well, what did he say?
    B.O.B.: Horrible things! About my mother, in a salad bar.
  • In the Kim Possible episode "Roachie", Ron befriends a giant cockroach and soon begins having full conversations with it, imitating its clicking-noise speech and understanding its replies.
    Kim: You're like the Roach Whisperer.
    Ron: Y'know, if you're trying to speak 'roach, you've got it all wrong, KP. You've gotta click with your mandible.
  • In one episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Pinkie Pie interprets a frog's ribbit for Twilight: "Nice catch."
    • G3's Pinkie Pie had the ability to communicate with any pink creature (although this was only shown when she talked to some pink fireflies in Twinkle Wish Adventure). Apparently Pink is a language in G3-land.
  • In The Simpsons, Homer's status as an Omniglot is clarified to include fluent comprehension of Penguin.
  • In the Strawberry Shortcake episode "The Legend of Sherry Bobbleberry", Sherry can speak to hummingbirds, something no fairy generally does.
  • On Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, Zilly's sole redeeming talent is being able to translate the goobledygook of noises and sound effects coming out of Klunk.
  • One episode of I Am Weasel, titled Fred, The Last Idiot, Weasel finds a specimen of feral humans thought extinct, named Fred. Unfortunatly, Fred can only communicate in unintelligible gibberish, but Baboon reveals that he's fluent in it, and says Fred is speaking "Idiot".


Suddenly BilingualLanguage TropesSurprisingly Good Foreign Language

alternative title(s): Talks To Squirrels; Fluent In Gibberish
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