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The Unintelligible
Would you mind speaking up, sir?

Bumo... Bumomomo!
Bumomo Bumomomomo Bumo!

A character who speaks, but is for one reason or another unintelligible to the audience.

A variant of He Who Must Not Be Heard. There are many possible reasons the audience cannot understand the character: muffled voice, thick accent, foreign language, very limited vocabulary, a robot communicating only in beeps. Other characters on the show frequently have no trouble understanding them, however. This leads to a lot of repeated dialogue that'd make little sense if we could understand both characters. ("Are we going to Dagobah?" "That's right R2, we're going to Dagobah!")

An awful lot of unintelligible or barely-intelligible characters' speech disruptions take the form of them only being able to say their name: Pokémon Speak.

The Voice, when in the "only calls on the phone" variation, is sometimes also The Unintelligible. Their dialogue is usually distorted mumbling gibberish, and almost always angry-sounding (probably because half of it is cussing). A good example of this is The Mayor's wife on the Christmas Special The Year Without a Santa Claus, although it is possible to make out the occasional word, mostly "galoshes."

See also Speaking Simlish and Elective Unintelligible. Starfish Language is a related trope, where the character is unintelligible because they're not even using words. Not to be confused with The Illegible, which is when a character has outrageously horrible handwriting. Sometimes The Unintelligible has a friend who acts as his Translator Buddy.

Examples:


    open/close all folders 

    Instructional Video 
  • The giant teddy bears called "The Teds" in the first DVD for Bella Dancerella "Let's Dance!" They whisper silently to each other, but Bella can hear and understand them from twenty feet away.

    Pinball 
  • The Invaders from The Twilight Zone speak in an incomprehensible electronic gibberish.
  • The Super Sonic Robotic Comic in The Party Zone tells jokes in high-speed nonsense, but everyone else laughs uncontrollably anyway.
    "He's not funny, he's FAST!"

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Dusty Rhodes has been this for decades.
  • CHIKARA mainstay Delirious speaks in a loud, rambling matter, occasionally spitting out a coherent phrase or sentence. Appropriately, his team with Hallowicked and Frightmare was called Incoherence.
    • The Thirteenth Hat, January 28, 2012, opened with a skit involving UltraMantis Black using the Eye of Tyr to cast a spell freeing Delirious from the BDK. Delirious grabbed the Eye, smashed it and ran off, yelling "I REMEMBER EVERYTHING!"
  • The Iron Sheik. Really, the only word he says that is generally and universally understandable is the one that Botchamania has adopted as a slogan.
  • Ahmed Johnson.

    Theatre 
  • In The King and I, any line spoken in the Siamese language is represented by instruments of the orchestra. This is subverted during Anna's first conversation with the Kralahome, when he angrily dismisses the interpreter and shows he can speak English.
  • Cirque du Soleil loves this. Most of the shows use imaginary language for all the characters (save for opening announcements), though foreign-language lyrics may turn up in some of the songs. Since The Nineties, there has been a tendency towards shows with more English dialogue and lyrics worked into the action: Corteo, KOOZA, Delirium, Zumanity, and their Jukebox Musical variants based on the work of The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson. In the meantime, the emcee in Mystere not only speaks both English and gibberish, but is mocked for the latter by both his puppet and the principal clown Brian Le Petit (who speak English).
  • In Peter Schickele's Hornsmoke: A Horse Opera, the four characters never speak, but they sometimes play their musical instruments in the manner of speech.

    Web Original 
  • Gorilla from Glove And Boots is only capable of saying "Meh!". The other characters do seem to understand him, but mostly through context. When he's supposed to be saying a full sentence or non-monosyllabic word, it can seem more like he's speaking English in an accent that renders most (but not all) syllables as "meh". For instance, the setup to The History Of Television involves Gorilla mimicking the "Vitameatavegamin" bit from I Love Lucy, which he pronounces something like "meh-ta-meat-ah-meh-ta-mah".
  • What the Fuck Is Wrong with You? has Arlo P. Arlo, who speaks with an impenetrable southern accent combined with slurring, what sounds like nonuse of teeth, and frequent mumbling. Fortunately, he has subtitles.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Lord Slug Special had Lord Slug fill this role prior to his wish for youth. The two readily understood instances were the word "Dragonball" and his response to a minion's complaints (about having to find all seven Dragon Balls in an hour): "Oh, bitch bitch bitch!"
  • Puppycat from Bee and Puppycat speaks in gibberish with voice of Oliver. Luckily he's given subtitles.
  • The Garry's Mod popular character, the Vagineer. His lines are actually spoken backwards, and depending on the creator of the videos they can be meaningful or simply nonsensical.

Statler: What was the Chef saying there?
Waldorf: I don't think even he knows what he's saying sometimes.
Statler: Or what he's cooking?
Both: Dohohohohohohoho!
Translator BuddyWord Salad IndexElective Unintelligible
NaturePantheon/Profession    
A Matter of Loaf and DeathCreator/Aardman AnimationsCreature Comforts
One-Sided Arm-WrestlingImageSource/Comic BooksThe Punisher
The Unfrozen Caveman LawyerCharacters as DeviceUnknown Character

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