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Playing With: Aliens Speaking English
Basic Trope: Aliens are capable speaking whatever language that is required based on their location, commonly English.
  • 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 English.
    • The aliens have Cockney accents.
    • Bob overhears the aliens' conversation which wasn't meant for him, and has no trouble understanding it, because it is in perfect English. The aliens themselves also have English names, like Bill and Frank.
    • Not only can the aliens speak English, they are also capable of speaking Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, Korean, Swedish, Belgian French, etc.
  • 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 Translator Microbes.
    • The aliens are telepathic.
    • The aliens have been watching Earth for a long time and learned its languages by monitoring communications.
    • By unlikely coincidence, the aliens' language just happens to very similar to English.
    • The aliens decided to study the language before moving in, so that conversations don't end end up like weird games of charades.
    • Bob and Alice took the time to teach the aliens English.
    • "English" is Common Tongue throughout the universe.
  • Inverted:
    • Aliens speak languages incomprehensible to human beings.
    • Aliens arrive on Earth and meet Bob. Bob starts speaking in the aliens' native language.
    • Alternatively, 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.
    • Or, the aliens have not been on Earth for centuries and talk in medieval english. Bob has trouble understanding them.
    • 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 alien language resembles a Earth language, but an unexpectedly minor one such as Welsh or Danish, or a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea.
  • 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.
  • Parodied:
    • Aliens arrive on Earth and meet Bob. Their leader instantly produces an English phrasebook and speaks to Bob in broken English.
    • Alternatively, after conversing with Bob, the aliens turn to Pablo and hold a conversation with him in fluent Spanish.
    • The aliens speak with a variety of perfect English, American, and Ausralian accents for no reason.
    • Aliens Speaking 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: Aliens arrive on Earth and meet Bob. They realize that they forgot to learn any of the native languages of the planet, leaving both the aliens and Bob flummoxed about what to do now.
  • Enforced:
    • "We need the aliens to speak English. It'll show how intelligent they are."
    • Alternatively: "In order to move the plot along, we need the aliens and the Earthlings to communicate with each other without any language barriers. Make the aliens speak English so our English speaking audience can understand them as well."
  • Lampshaded: "They have English classes on your planet?"
  • Invoked: Before arriving on Earth, the aliens have a quick review of the English language.
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: 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?"
  • Deconstructed: 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 World War III.
  • 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 speak English with an outrageous Cockney accent that most people cannot understand.
  • Played For Drama: Humans have noticed that all the alien races manage to speak English and try to find out why it is so.

Back to Aliens Speaking English

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