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Archived Discussion Main / AliensSpeakingEnglish

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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.


Ununnilium: Took out:

  • Possibly subverted in the TNG episode Darmok, where although the aliens speak English, they speak solely in metaphors that are still wholly incomprehensible to the crew. Until Captain Picard figures out what it all means, of course.

...because it's a subversion of Translator Microbes.

Scrounge: Did the same to:

  • The video game Star Control 2: The Ur-Quan Masters is semi-famous for its amusing subversion of this trope: the ship's computer is unable to fully translate the language of the Orz, leaving the player to puzzle out bizarre, vaguely Engrish-sounding sentences such as "*Campers* like to say 'hello' when they *smell* the Orz. We have learned this. It is *no function* but Orz want to make *campers* happy everyday. Okay... Hello!! Now you are happy I am sure."

...For the same reason.

Took out from Babylon 5:

"(of course, that might have been more effective if the thickest accents hadn't belonged to the ambassadors, who logically should have been the most fluent speakers. Most of the rank-and-file of the alien races spoke with no accent whatsoever)"

You'd be shocked how many ambassadors can't do more than mumble a few polite greetings in the language of the country they are assigned to. Ambassadorships are generally political appointments, often favors from the ruling government. Not so with either the diplomatic staff who generally have to advance through the civil services; likewise success as a merchant-trader is meritocratic. And to be fair, an accent isn't a great handicap so long as you have a solid vocabulary and grammar.

priopraxis: The animated Tick explained this: Only aliens who speak english get cast.

Shale: Yanked the Megatokyo example because it's not about aliens, just a Translation Convention.

  • I'd like to propose a different name for this trope, if that's ok (Newbie here, sorry!): English is the Universal Language

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