Playing With / Aliens Speaking English

Basic Trope: Aliens are capable of speaking English or another human language.
  • Straight: Aliens arrive on Earth and meet Bob. The aliens speak to him in English.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Aliens arrive on Earth and meet Bob. The aliens' English is so good that they begin to correct Bob's own English.
    • The aliens have Cockney accents.
    • The aliens not only speak English but also have actual English names, like Bill and Frank.
    • The alien language resembles an Earth language, but an unexpectedly minor one such as Welsh, Danish, or that of a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea.
    • After conversing with Bob, the aliens turn to Pablo and hold a conversation with him in fluent Spanish.
    • Not only can the aliens speak English, they are also capable of speaking Spanish, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hindi, Dog, etc.
    • The aliens speak in Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and/or Purple Prose.
  • Downplayed: The aliens speak simple, heavily accented English and frequently consult their equivalent of a phrase book, often having to just use their own words for things and hope Bob can tell by context.
  • Justified:
    • The aliens have been watching Earth for a long time, and learned its languages by monitoring communications.
    • The aliens are telepathic and learned English by reading Bob's mind.
    • By some kind of cosmic coincidence, the aliens' language just happens to sound exactly like English.
    • Humanity as able to create a futuristic device that translates every language into the mother language of the user and also translates the his speech to the mother language of those who are hearding him.
    • In their universe, language barriers are imaginary or fictional and every alien race, regardless of species, can literally speak English or any other existing language perfectly.
  • Inverted:
    • Aliens arrive on Earth and meet Bob. Bob starts speaking in the aliens' native language.
    • Bob lands on the alien's planet and Bob starts speaking in the aliens' native language.
  • Subverted:
    • Aliens arrive on Earth and meet Bob. They converse in Bilingual Dialogue.
    • The aliens try to speak English, but their grasp of the language is so poor that the humans don't understand them.
    • The aliens have put a lot of effort into learning the Earthlings' language, but it never occurred to them that there is more than one language on Earth. When they meet Bob it turns out Bob only speaks English and the aliens only speak Chinese.
    • The aliens "speak" English because they have Translator Microbes.
    • At first glance, the aliens seems to speak English, but turn out that they are just repeating random sentences they have heard while watching earth and which they don't even know the meanings.
  • Double Subverted:
    • The aliens find that both they and Bob are more fluent in Esperanto and speak in that.
    • The aliens try to speak to Bob in a human language, but he doesn't understand it for whatever reason. So they decide to use telepathy instead.
    • Without their Translator Microbes, the aliens can still speak English.
    • The aliens knows how to speak English, they are just repeating random sentences just to mock the humans and/or to see their reactions.
  • Parodied: The aliens speak Engrish.
  • Zig Zagged: The aliens speak English perfectly well at first, only later they say they have trouble with certain phrases, even though they've been speaking fluently and said they have a total mastery of the language. Bob offers to converse in the aliens language, but no one on earth can learn it, so the aliens go back to speaking fluent English and the matter is never raised again.
  • Averted:
  • Enforced:
    • "We need the aliens to speak English. It'll show how intelligent they are."
    • "We don't have time to create a entire new language for the aliens, let's make them speak English and later we create a justification for that."
    • Translation Convention: A rule in which anyone who shouldn't be able to speak fluent English (including human characters) are able to speak English anyway for the audience's convenience.
  • Lampshaded: "They have English classes on your planet?"
  • Invoked: The aliens decide to study the English language before paying a visit to Earth, so that conversations don't end end up like weird games of charades.
  • Exploited: Bob overhears the aliens' conversation which wasn't meant for him, and has no trouble understanding it because it is in perfect English.
  • Defied:
    • The aliens do not bother to learn English or any other language before visiting Earth. When they arrive, they converse in Bilingual Dialogue, leaving the aliens and Bob flummoxed about what to do now.
    • The aliens are confused as to the correct language to use when visiting Earth. They go through several different obscure languages to no avail.
  • Discussed: "Just wait: once the aliens arrive, they'll speak English fluently."
  • Conversed: "Are all aliens required to take English classes before visiting Earth? This show seems to think so."
  • Implied: When Bob tells Alice and Charles about his encounter with the aliens, he tells them what they said to him — implying that he understood them.
  • Deconstructed: Aliens arrive on Earth and meet Bob. They speak to him in English. Bob notices that all the alien races manage to speak English, and tries to find out why it is so.
  • Reconstructed: Aliens arrive on Earth and meet Bob. They speak to him in English. Bob is so amazed by this that he accepts the aliens as members of a peaceful race and is made their spokesperson on Earth. Diplomatic relations are forged between the aliens and Earth, marking the First Contact in human history.
  • Played For Laughs:
    • The aliens have not been on Earth for centuries and talk in Medieval English. Bob has trouble understanding them.
    • The aliens speak with a variety of perfect English, American, and Australian accents for no reason.
    • Aliens arrive on Earth and meet Bob. Their leader instantly produces an English phrasebook and speaks to Bob in broken English.
  • Played For Drama: Aliens arrive on Earth and meet Bob. They speak to him in English. This frightens Bob, who thinks they only learned English as a means of helping to conquer the planet. Earth attacks the aliens, who are confused that their sign of cultural understanding was taken as a threat. The aliens either leave or retaliate in defense, possibly instigating interplanetary war.

Back to Aliens Speaking English
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