Follow TV Tropes


Black Speech

Go To

"Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul" note 
The Lord of the Rings: Inscription on the One Ring, with inflection

The language of Mordor, spoken only by The One Whose Name Must Never Be Uttered and his Religion of Evil and various dark cults. An indecipherable language that is cruel to the ears, full of hard consonants, guttural sounds, and always spoken loudly and harshly. Every word sounds like a blasphemy against All That Is Good, and the people speaking it often are as evil as they sound. If there is magic in the setting, expect speaking this language to be necessary to use Black Magic. In some cases, it's so alien and gravelly that it seems that a normal human throat should be incapable of speaking it… and sometimes, they can't speak it, only those with the Voice of the Legion can. In many cases, merely speaking the words is sufficient to twist reality or make unspeakable horrors appear.

This is the Black Speech, the default mode of communication for inhuman villains, and Sound-Coded for Your Convenience. Where the elves and humans will speak in a pleasing, song-like language, and dwarves may (read: always) have a charming Scottish burr or Welsh brogue note , the Evil Minions using Black Speech can shatter glass and eardrums and sanity with a simple "pass the salt".

On a more meta level, this is a direct emotional appeal to the viewer, invoking the "otherness" felt when hearing a foreign language crossed with the Scare Chord to make the good guys seem like downright saints compared to the bad guys. The effect is sometimes doubled by having Aliens Natives Speaking English.

Once upon a time, Nazis speaking German were considered to be using Black Speech (likely, the actors were hamming it up to sound scarier). Nowadays, German is just another language alongside French (indeed, if anything, it's a bit camp).

Using real but obscure languages as models for a fictional Black Speech because they sound very peculiar to native speakers of your language can get you into trouble. This seems to happen to Native American languages quite a bit.

Although the villains may speak among themselves in black speech, their dialogue may provide important details for the audience to understand the plot. In this case, the dialogue may have normal subtitles.

Works using this trope will often discuss The Power of Language. Not to be confused with Ebonics (although it literally means "black speech"), or with black Color-Coded Speech or Rainbow Text.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

  • South-African comedian Trevor Noah does a routine on how South Africans, and especially South African accents, are viewed in the rest of the world. He admits that being mixed-race, he gets a free pass, but it has to be hard for white people who, the moment they open their mouths, are by default assumed to be pining for the good old days. Trevor riffed on speaking German as in his case it was his fifth or sixth language (he claims to have lost count). The unfortunate consequence of learning German, for somebody whose first language is Afrikaans, is that inevitably their spoken German is accented, to the point where German listeners hear a strong perceived-Austrian accent and cadences, reminds them of a certain demagogic politician making a speech at a rally attended by hundreds of thousands of people... even if all you're doing is asking somebody to pass the salt.

    Comic Books 
  • The wicked rat creatures in Bone have a secret language called Nessen that sounds mysteriously like broken German. Mind you, Nessen is closer to a military cypher than actual black speech: Ratmen speak in human language normally and only switch to it when they're discussing sensitive subjects and are afraid to be overheard. Several humans listen in to it without any worse effects than "cannot understand any of it", and some of the characters like Lucius can also understand it.
  • The Invisibles has a section where Miss Dwyer, a servant of the Conspiracy who's pretty much out of options, is about to let loose a string of hyperdimensional language that can give those it's directed at cancer. As the narration describes it, "Miss Dwyer is saying her prayers."
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: The Primal Vernacular (the oldest Cybertronian language) sounds like this, especially when sung loudly in a Tetrahexian accent, which sounds like someone being violently murdered. The only beings known to still speak it are Cyclonus (the aforementioned singer) and Vos, who considers himself a "linguistic purist" and can only manage a few guttural syllables of modern NeoCybex at a time.
  • The Ultimates (2002): When they are among themselves, the Chitauri talk with an unintelligible font. There are subtitles for the reader's convenience.

    Fan Works 
  • It's Always The Quiet Ones: Luna performs a terrifying chant in an an alien language that makes the Wrackspurts visible to everyone.
  • In Live a Hero (MHA), when Izuku's Quirk is turned on others, his speech is rendered as barely legible text covered in intense amounts of random symbols and static. The sound of his voice is grating to the ears of everyone who hears it, amplifying or twisting their senses and feelings of pain and filling their minds with static that makes it nearly impossible for them to form coherent thoughts. A few sentences spoken in this way was enough to get the Sludge Villain, an unrepentant, psychopathic murderer, to beg for his life moments after he was in the middle of Evil Gloating because of the excruciating pain Izuku's voice brought him.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: Whenever Norlock casts magic, he's described as speaking in a language no one else present understands. A snippet of this is presented in Episode 16 when he's summoning up an army of monsters from the underworld; Word of God is that it's just random gibberish the author typed out while writing the chapter.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • Kyril and his apprentices (except Soren) have advanced through Rad, killing everything in their way to hunt down Shamuhaza. Upon reaching a courtyard, a maddening drone drowns out the silence, "in a language so incomprehensible that lesser men would have torn their own throats to escape it". Kyril, of course, is unfazed, but not so much for the other three. Sanakan mutters that everything sounds wrong, Hugh shakes his head in a grimace, and Lily turns paler than usual.
    • The tongue of Garan that the dark elves speak merely comes across as this. This language is described as "sibilant" or "spiteful", "like the whisperings of a murderer at the bedside of a dead man", but it is not inherently evil, just as how the dark elves are not depicted as Always Chaotic Evil. There's also no Brown Note involved, obviously.
  • Starry Eyes: The language spoken by Taylor's friends is this.
    Vista: The mouths opened, and from them issued a hellish chorus of gibberish.
    The same gibberish from another voice cut through the chorus. The new voice was, at its core, recognizably female, but it was hollow and echoing, as if its owner were speaking in a crypt. Countless resonating tones accompanied the voice, some high, others so low Vista heard them not with her ears but with her bones, all gnawing at the back of her mind, feeding the fear that had taken root.

    Films — Animation 
  • Beowulf has Grendel speak Old English (the language in which the poem was originally written) while everyone else speaks modern English, probably to emphasize how old and monstrous he is. His mother speaks both old and current English, since she's been re-imagined as a sexy sorceress.
  • The Vikings talk like this in The Secret of Kells, emphasizing how monstrous and incomprehensible they are to the people of Ireland as they pillage and raze everything they come across. The only understandable word they speak is something that sounds like "gold", which is what they're after.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 10,000 BC has the slavers speaking an incomprehensible, guttural language, and certain characters have their voices digitally distorted to make them sound inhumanly guttural.
  • All but one of the vampires in 30 Days of Night speak like they tore out their own windpipes. (In fact, the filmmakers took the sound of an Amazonian language and mixed in animal noises.) This is not true of the comic in which they spoke English, albeit in colored Speech Bubbles.
  • Pathfinder (1987): The heroic Saami speak Saami and the evil, invading Tshud speak influenza.
  • Pathfinder (2007) has the good guys speaking English and the invading Vikings speaking Icelandic, but in a very guttural fashion.
  • Played for Laughs in Little Nicky, wherein the titular character is the youngest Spawn of Satan. Although he normally speaks in a nonthreatening nasally voice, he talks in his sleep, inevitably demonically. Listening to it induces manic paranoia in his roommate and drives animals crazy. Seemed to be pleasant to a pair of stoner death metal fans, however ...
  • Used humorously in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) when the Vogon commander switches effortlessly from a charming Received Pronunciation accent to one of these in under a second. (In the book, Vogon speech is: "like a man trying to gargle whilst fighting off a pack of wolves".)
  • Constantine (2005) briefly gives us an example of "Hell-speak".
  • There's a Filipino movie where two devils speak in their native tongues. The subtitles apologize to the viewer for the lack of translation because they don't know anyone who's been in Hell before.
  • The Engineers in Prometheus were supposed to speak in a tone like this.
  • The predators in the Predator franchise sound like this when trying to mimic English. They may, however, just have a respiratory system set up the opposite way from a mammal one (i.e. it defaults to inhaling rather than exhaling), and thus talk while inhaling (try it). Birds' respiration works like that, which is part of why parrots and ravens squawk when they speak.
  • In the German/Israeli film Walk on Water, German was this during Eyal's childhood - his German Jewish family survived the Holocaust, and only spoke Hebrew after they came to Israel (when they thought he wasn't listening, that is).
  • The hillfolk in the Wrong Turn series understand English, but most of them forgo speaking it in favor of a bizarre gibberish.
  • Star Wars:
    • Death Troopers in Rogue One communicate in a choppy, sinister noise that has this effect. It combines with their size and black armour to make them appear as sinister as possible. Even the sounds they make when falling aren't really all that human.
    • The Sith language in The Rise of Skywalker is treated this way. The heroes need to translate information written in Sith runes, and C-3PO informs them that while he can understand them, he's programmed not to translate them in accordance with Old Republic law - and the information can only be accessed by black market hacking.
  • Doing the voice work for The Necromancer/Sauron in The Hobbit made Benedict Cumberbatch feel a bit dirty. He said in an interview that afterwards he wanted to "speak The Queen's English and have a cup of tea."
  • Captive State: Legislator language consists of guttural clicks, shrieks, and angry howling.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring has Gandalf read the inscription on the One Ring in Black Speech. His voice becomes inhumanely deep, resonant and guttural, and the light seems to recede as he speaks. Frodo and the elven nobility recoil in pain as they hear it.
  • The Whisperer in Darkness. Nathaniel Ward quickly switches off the phonograph when Wilmarth says he's been listening to the wax cylinder recording of the cultist ceremony throughout the night. In a Missing Trailer Scene, Wilmarth listens to the cylinder while a cat sits impassively nearby. Suddenly ANOTHER voice cuts in on the recording, and the cat startles and hisses.

  • Lone Wolf
    • The Giak tongue, spoken by the Darklords and all of their minions in the Darklands, as well as the evil humans, the Drakkarim. Certainly looks harsh-sounding when transcribed, and is described as such. Complete with a full fictionary. Funnily, Giak seems to be the only tongue Joe Dever ever developed for his world. So if you want to immerse yourself linguistically into Magnamund, you're forced to do so with the ugly tongue (crude grammar, nasty vocabulary) of the Bad Ones' cannon fodder. Too bad.
    • And then there's the Dark Tongue, which humans aren't even able to speak. The only ones who ever speak it in the series are the Darklords themselves. The Darklords use the Dark Tongue to summon nasties to fight Lone Wolf.

  • Named for the language of Mordor in The Lord of the Rings (books and movies). "The Black Speech" is a brutal-sounding language full of guttural throat-growls and spits and snarls, extremely unpleasant and alien to the more pleasant languages. Moreover, like many things created by Sauron it seems to incorporate some of his power and malice: at the Council of Elrond, when Gandalf repeats the Ring-inscription in the original Black Speech, his voice becomes harsh and cruel, while the sky grows dark and the Earth trembles. A fan once gave Tolkien a goblet with the Ring-inscription in Black Speech as a gift, but he found the message in those words so ugly and ominous that he couldn't bring himself to drink out of it. He wound up using it as an ashtray. note 
    • Notably, it's an in-universe example of a Conlang that Sauron invented so that his servants could all understand one another. It didn't pan out, as after his defeat by the Last Alliance the language fell into obscurity, leaving behind only a handful of loanwords in various Orcish dialects, and only the Nazgûl retained full comprehension of the language.
  • A classic example (might possibly be the Ur-Example) are two lines that show up during the Inferno part of The Divine Comedy, the first is a threat/curse yelled by the demon Pluto: "Papé Satàn, papé Satàn aleppe". The second line is spoken by the giant Nimrod: "Raphèl maí amèche zabí almi". The meaning of both lines are left ambiguous, and like everything else in the book, they have been hotly debated for centuries, with linguists and scholars making connections with everything from Hebraic to Greek. The general consensus is that they have no concrete meaning outside of conjecture.
  • The demons in The First Dwarf King speak in a language that is incredibly difficult for mortals to pronounce (though possible with enough effort and practice).
  • Awoken starts with Andi waking up on the shores of an Eldritch Abomination's Fisher Kingdom with Identity Amnesia, surrounded by a sea unleashing violent waves, plunging hills, ruins of great, majestic towers and grey mist... then, as if this wasn't creepy enough, amid the mist, out of nowhere, starts an ominous chanting in this sort of language... and being a Cloudcuckoolander, Andi reacts in a way that could be summed up best by simply quoting:
    Mysterious voice: Gharsh S'gn Wahl O'rre Sgn'!
    Andi: [narrating] It sang to my ears, a song full of freedom, deliverance and individuality. It was like the proudest of whalesongs come to life. It sounded like the voice of an angel.
    Mysterious voice actually coming from the stones themselves: THROD ! SGN'WAHL ! O'RRE CTHULHU GHARSH !
  • Second Apocalypse:
    • The monstrous Sranc (a species genetically-engineered for rape and sadism, who serve as the Mooks) speak Aghurzoi, which means "cut tongue." The Sranc were once called Tongueless Howlers, apparently due to their tongueless speech.
    • When the Inchoroi first crash-landed on Earwa, they spoke only the indecipherable language that the Nonmen called Cincûlic, "the Gasping of Many Reeds," apparently due to the Inchoroi's bizarre alien anatomy. After the Inchoroi "birthed mouths," they were able to converse with the Nonmen in their own language.
  • In Ella Enchanted, the Prince's reaction to Ella's simple farewell in troll language is, "It sounds evil." Ella replies that it is.
  • H. P. Lovecraft:
    • "The Call of Cthulhu" has several languages spoken by cultists which sound and look disturbing, thanks to being adaptations of Starfish Language to human vocal apparatus. It contains arguably the most famous snatch of this trope outside of Tolkien: Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
    • In "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", the voices of Innsmouth's mutant inhabitants is described as a "bestial babel of croaking, baying and barking without the least suggestion of human speech" and a "hateful guttural patois."
  • Terry Pratchett steered clear of this one in Discworld: Dwarfish is very difficult "if you haven't eaten gravel all your life", but isn't evil as such. Likewise, the Troll language, which seems to consist of tonal grunting. The words of certain spells, however, can make you feel distinctly ill. And a language called Black Oroogu mentioned in The Colour of Magic has "no nouns and only one adjective, which is obscene."
    • Having a discussion with a troll in Troll language could very well lead to receiving a bonk on the head, though. You see, Trollish is in large part a body language, and trolls like to shout...
      • Also, in many Troll dialects, extending one's hand is a very rude comment about their mother. It is amazing how long it took for trolls and humans to understand this.
  • The Molvanian language as described in Molvanîa, A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry is supposed to have a highly irregular grammar and difficult pronunciation, often requiring crude gestures to make simple phrases intelligible. Readers are advised: "Due to the abundance of guttural phonetic sounds found in the spoken language, non-native Molvanian speakers are warned about the risk of laryngeal damage that can arise from attempting anything more than a few short phrases."
    • The real-life source is likely the Georgian languages. Try the words starting with eight consonants.
      • But the proper way to pronounce Georgian is very lightly, so even eight consonants should not be so troublesome.
  • Diana Wynne Jones's The Tough Guide to Fantasyland contains a similar warning about pronouncing ominous-sounding placenames such as Gna'ash if you have "insecurely mounted tonsils".
  • While the Black Speech in Bentley Little's The Vanishing sounds normal to a character who discovers he can read it (thanks to unknowingly being a descendent of the race of monsters who originated it), when he finishes reading it aloud, the people around him inform him he's been screaming like a wild animal. Even trying to read in a whisper isn't enough to lessen the language's cacophonous effect. Also, speaking it makes plants grow.
  • In Larry Niven's Known Space series, the Kzinti Hero's Tongue is reputed to sound like an epic catfight. Thoroughly appropriate for a race of felinoid slave-takers. Two speaking normally are described as a catfight in an echo chamber, four arguing among themselves as "A major feline war, with atomics". In his first novel "The World of Ptavvs", humans attempting to utter Overspeak, the language of the ancient Slavers, tend to choke violently.
  • Although not inherently evil, Parseltongue in Harry Potter definitely sounds creepy, seeing as it's the language of snakes and consists entirely of inhuman hissing. It doesn't help that certain infamous practitioners of The Dark Arts (including Herpo the Foul, Salazar Slytherin, and Slytherin's descendant Lord Voldemort) could speak the language. As such, in the Potterverse, Sealed Evil in a Can often requires a Parseltongue password to unlock.
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, re-animated dead Italian soldiers initially speak one of the dialects of the Language of Hell (they were all Papists, so of course they were all damned), which is described as "...having a much higher percentage of screams than any language known to the onlookers." (Wellington approves of their having mastered it after having been dead for only three days.)
  • In Arthur Machen's novella The Three Imposters - not surprisingly, a favorite of H. P. Lovecraft - a boy from the country begins speaking in a strange tongue of his ancestors: "He seemed to pour forth an infamous jargon, with words, or what seemed words, that might have belonged to a tongue dead since untold ages and buried deep beneath Nilotic mud, or in the inmost recesses of the Mexican forest. For a moment the thought passed through my mind, as my ears were still revolted with that infernal clamour, 'Surely this is the very speech of hell.'"
    • Amusingly, the language is initially assumed to be an obscure local dialect of Welsh.
  • The Redemption of Althalus, by David Eddings: the Book of Daeva is effectively written in this.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 novel Ravenor Returned, the language "Ennuncia" contains words (or rather, "unwords") which, when read, can disorientate and, when spoken, tend to damage the lips and teeth of the speaker. The effect of a single word on the targeted listener is worse. A lesser word, or fragment of one:
    It wasn't a word. It wasn't even so much a proper sound. Just giving voice to it made her mouth hurt.
    But it did a lot more to Suldon. He instantly, explosively vomited, then fell onto his knees, clutching at his belly, violently retching up his stomach contents.
  • In Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros novels, the language of the Auphe is impossible for humans to speak and almost impossible for supernatural beings to speak. Hearing it "feels like someone shoving ground glass in your ear." It is described as damaging the air and the universe itself whenever it is spoken.
  • Charles Stross' The Laundry Files, based partly on the Cthulhu mythos, has the old Enochian languages, mainly used for writing magical "computer code" in order to, say, command zombies. It is described as a "dead tongue, for which to command dead things", completely unsuitable for the human larynx. Don't even think about making an experienced magician swear in that language.
  • In The Shadowspawn, the lingua demonica, Mhabrogast, spoken by the vampiric-shapeshifting-sorcerer Shadowspawn race, is either the language of Hell or the operating code of the universe (maybe both).
  • In the New Jedi Order, the Yuuzhan Vong language is extremely harsh, alternately guttural and sibilant, and bears a passing resemblance to the Trope Namer. One character (who recognizes the language, but doesn't speak it) thinks it sounds like it's composed entirely of curses. Interestingly, the direct translations given show it to be a surprisingly poetic language, one rich in imagery and metaphor, albeit one that is often used, owing to the nature of its speakers, to talk about horrible things.
  • Some examples from A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The language of the ice demons known as the Others is unpronounceable for humans and sounds like scratching of ice.
    • The Asshai'i language is heavily associated with dark magics. It sounds only twice in the series and is described as "shrill and ululating".
    • The ancient Ghiscari language was spoken in the local sandy despot land a long time ago; at the time of the books, it was reduced to merely an accent bleeding through Valyrian spoken by the Ghiscari. Even in this reduced form it still sounds harsh and barking, and people joke that you have to put a bee into your nose to speak like a Ghiscari. Rudiments of the old language survive in Ghiscari names, all of which sound like influenza.
  • In Jack Chalker's The Rings of the Master series, a character is gender bent, captured by a space pirate and used as a sex slave. The language of the evil pirate is described as sounding evil, glutteral and disgusting. It turns out to be English (the captured character was asian and not an English speaker).
  • In C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength, the villains are forced to worship a demonic severed head, a ceremony which involves the chant, "Ouroborindra! Ouroborindra! Ouroborindra, ba-ba-hee!"
  • In Dark One's Mistress, both the soul-stealing and Brainwashed spell come out as a guttural, garbled mess that pulls at those who hear it.
  • In "Bandits in Your Grocer's Freezer", Pete has no idea what language the bandits speaks and describes it as being guttural and "generic villain"; having no idea if they're speaking something mundane like Mongolian, or fantastic like Orcish or Klingon.
  • Homerooms & Hall Passes has a mildly parodic take on such languages, two of which are used in the story's resident Tome of Eldritch Lore:
  • In The Locked Tomb resurrection beasts have their own tongue. Supernatural omniglot Nona reveals its existence when she comments she didn't understand what a person speaking it was talking about, surprising the others who had not realized there was any meaning behind their screaming. It's unhealthy to speak or hear.
  • Once: Several inadvertently conjured phantom witches, said never to have been "of human breed" taunt their summoner in "an unknown language."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The language of the Goa'uld of Stargate SG-1 isn't technically an evil language, considering townspeople and Jaffa speak it, and it's supposed to be based on Ancient Egyptian... but when spoken by a Goa'uld with their flanged voices and glowy eyes? Running seems a good option. Considering how often O'Neill pointed out mistakes in their grammar, maybe they just felt safer that way. Also, English as spoken by snakeheads is pretty damn Black, too. That language has way too many expressions that translate as "Surrender or die!". And about half the language consists of the word "kree!" Since "Kree!" is a word that equates to "Attention!", "Mach Schnell!" and/or "Make It So!" depending on context, it makes sense that it gets said often by tyrants barking orders.
  • In Lucifer, South African languages are used by demons (technically, just by Mazikeen but aimed to her siblings); for the most part, it's Afrikaans, native for Lesley-Ann Brandt and used by her in several occasions, once also a phrase in Zulu for which actress had to consult with a friend.
  • In Torchwood, Owen speaks in this while The Grim Reaper passes through him. Ironically, the magic words Owen repeats in that demonic voice are taken from Stephen Donaldson's The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, in which they are the "Seven Words", a blessing.
  • Minor example but in Doctor Who, the Weeping Angel that pursue the Doctor and co. begin emitting horrible, hellish shrieks not dissimilar to the sound of an animal being maimed. The sound is enough to rattle the usually confident River Song. It turns out this is the sound of their laughter.
  • Star Trek:
    • If you're going to speak Klingon, have a glass of water handy. Your throat will thank you. Though its stint as a more-or-less purely evil language was a short one (the Klingons didn't stop speaking Klingon just because they allied with the Federation. If anything, it meant that our Federation main characters spoke more Klingon, sometimes even as part of recreational activities!)
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • The Breen speak an electronic-sounding, guttural tongue.
      • Gul Dukat summons a Pah-wraith to take possession of him by chanting in ancient Bajoran while breaking an ancient Bajoran artifact.
    • When Tholians are shown in Enterprise (their ships were seen in the Original Series, but not the occupants), their untranslated speech sounds like lava flowing and cracking. Apropos, since their bodies are quartz-like and they find the melting point of lead pleasantly warm.
  • The Kamen Rider series has a few examples, such as the languages of the Grongi and Undead. Additionally, we see the Imagin language written but not voiced, and the Fangire tongue is long-forgotten and only spoken by Sagarc, Kamen Rider Saga's high-voiced, living Transformation Trinket, which makes it sound less than imposing. Ordinarily, the Overlords talk in an incomprehensible language, too, but they're also perfectly capable of speaking Japanese later.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the Orcs speak several words in the Black Speech.
    Orcs: Nampak uglursha!
  • Babylon 5:
    • The language of an ancient sinister race of Shadows consists of barely comprehensible rustle, chirps, and humming, and, in case of their living battleships, eardrum-puncturing shrieks. Although the human emissaries of Shadows can understand them (probably due to some implants), they cannot speak in Shadowish themselves. It's stated that, for example, the true name of the race is about 10,000 sounds long and is completely unutterable.
    • Similarly, the Shadows' nemesis, the Vorlons' natural "voice" is heard as an odd combination of chimes, wind, and other electronic effects. The Shadows' servants, the Drakh, have an alien language as well, which is spoken in a whispered (and sinister) manner, much like Ralph Fiennes' rendition of Voldemort (and when they do speak English, they whisper it too).
  • Enochian in Supernatural. Partly subverted in that it's used in just about equal measure by both good guys and bad guys (chiefly for spells and exorcisms).
  • The Woodsmen from the revival of Twin Peaks are a weird example, in that they're speaking regular English (kind of), but their voices are so crackly and distorted it sounds like Tom Waits doing an impression of the Death Troopers, and it still seems to have this trope's typically painful effect on those who appear it.
  • German, Japanese and Russian on The X-Files had mostly dark implications of post WWII and post-Cold War world.
  • The Scarrans in Farscape have one of the few alien languages that's not translated by the translator microbes—i.e. it's one of the only alien languages that we hear in all its gutteral glory.
  • Sleepy Hollow: Moloch speaks in a guttural, inhuman language.
  • Salem: What the Elders of the witches speak, though they seem to know English as well.
  • The only way to break Jasmine's Glamour spell on Angel was to speak her true name. When the Fang Gang gets ahold of the head of a demon whose mouth is sewn shut, they cut it open. What sounds like a mere exhale was Jas' true name, but sounded like something humans (or vampires) wouldn't even be able to pronounce.
  • Penny Dreadful has the Verbis Diablo, the language spoken by the witches and the demonic entities they serve. It is said to be a corrupted version of the angelic language spoken in the Garden of Eden before the fall of man.
  • On World's Dumbest..., Kevin McCaffrey describes German as this.
    "You could say 'I love you; here are these flowers' in German, and I would [BLEEP] myself."
  • Reservation Dogs: In a flashback to an Indian residential school, the abusive English-speaking nuns and teachers have their words dubbed with meaningless gibberish. This shows the boarding school experience from the point of view of Native children who do not speak English. Their tone is always very harsh, which serves to make them sound guttural and quite menacing, even monstrous, appropriately enough.

  • Magma a band who from their first gigs onwards sang mostly in an invented tongue called Kobaïan, a teutonic-sounding sci-fi proto-language that went perfectly with the music, a kind of prog version of Stravinsky and Carl Orff's most paroxystic traits. They had such a natural supervillain-effect with their stage costumes and album covers that director Jodoroswky planned to have them make the background music for the Harkonnen's planet in his never-finished film version of Dune. H.R. Giger, who was to design the whole planet on screen, was later hired to make the beast and settings in Alien... Sadly, Ridley Scott didn't hire Magma.
  • Death Metal and Black Metal vocals often sound like Orcs' Black Speech. Although most bands sing in English and other natural languages, it is usually distortednote  to the point of being unintelligible.
  • Many viking/folk metal bands from Scandinavia use their native languages, unintelligible to most of their audience (if they build up a fanbase abroad, that is), for authenticity.
  • Parodied by Martin Pearson in his The Lord of the Rings-themed folk-comedy show The Unfinished Spelling Errors of Bolkien, in which he sings the One Ring's inscription to the tune of "King of the Road" in a voice that borders on an Elvis impression.
    • Similarly parodied in Eben Brooks' "Hey There Cthulhu", where the above quote from "The Call of Cthulhu" is sung to the tune of "Hey There Delilah" by the Plain White Ts.
    • "Cthulhu fhtagn" has also been filked to the tune of "Hakuna Matata".
  • Norwegian Black Metal band Burzum's name comes from the actual Black Speech. It means "Darkness".
    • Other metal bands with a name in a Tolkien language include Gorgoroth (the plateau around Mount Doom), Amon Amarth (the Sindarin name for Mount Doom itself), and Cirith Ungol (the mountain pass to Mordor and home of the spider Shelob), though Cirith Ungol mispronounce the name, using a soft c sound instead of a hard one.
  • tool has a song called "Die Eier von Satan" that plays on the preconceived notions of the German language. The song consists of the singer growling German over clanging industrial beats, punctuated with apocalyptic cries that are greeted by a roaring crowd. The overall effect is somewhere between a Black Mass and a Nazi rally, but the translated lyrics show that the speaker is reciting a recipe for egg-shaped hash brownies. His rallying cry, "Und keine Eier!" means, "And no eggs!", since there are no actual eggs in the recipe. "Eggs" are also an informal term in German for testicles, giving the hash brownies a rather silly, scatological name: "Satan's Balls."
  • Norwegian Folk Metal band Trollfest write their lyrics in a constructed language they call Trollspråk, a mix of German and Norwegian which, when combined with the band's growly Black Metal vocals, can sound very evil.
    • They intended it to sound evil, that's why they used German. But nobody of them actually speaks German, so they mixed it with their mother tongue, Norwegian. Because of their overall theme it sounds more silly than evil, especially if you understand German or Norwegian.
  • Finnish experimental metal band Aarni doesn't make ancient Egyptian sound nice.
  • Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds The New Generation: At the beginning of "Horsell Common and the Heat Ray, there's an unsettling sample of some Martian dialect.
  • Parodied in "Hey There Cthulhu" by Eben Brooks, who sings a line of Black Speech to the tune of "Hey There Delilah".
  • Someone edited "Wrecking Ball," by Miley Cyrus, to be this. Here it is.
  • In classical music, Hector Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust contains a chorus comprised of chanting in a demonic language, as does the original version of Modest Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain.
  • "Honey I'm Home" by the Vocaloid composer GHOST features sections that sound like this, along with a sizeable dose of Religious Horror and God Is Evil.

  • In Old Harry's Game, Andy Hamilton's Satan reflects that if God had wanted people to like South Africans, then He would not have designed them to speak like that. Which is why they all end up here.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has a few examples:
    • The Book of Vile Darkness has the Dark Speech, which is the language of pure evil and destruction. Speaking it can cause pain to the good and neutral creatures. By contrast, the Words of Creation are the direct opposite, and can help create things as well as bind evil power.
    • The Warlock in 3.5 has the invocation Baleful Utterance, which duplicates the spell Shatter and can potentially deafen opponents. And yes, he does it with Dark Speech. More specifically, he does it by uttering a random syllable — the 'invocation' itself is basically a safety device that keeps the Warlock's brain from realizing what the mouth just said.
    • Infernal and Abyssal are the native tongues of devils and demons, respectively. They have no special properties, but probably include an impressive array of curse words.
    • In the first edition of the game, alignments had their own languages understandable only to creatures of the same alignment. When played at all, the evil alignment languages tended to get played like Black Speech.
    • The various Eldritch Abominations have their own languages, most of which can't be spoken by the normal people due to sheer physiological difference. Take the Aboleth-ese for example: if a human wanted to speak it, they would require extra larynxes, which can be emulated by speaking while playing pipe organs. For extra creepiness: the language can be written as glyphs, which hurts one's head just by looking at it.
    • Undercommon, a language composed of pidgin Common mixed with loaner words from languages like Deep Speech and unique jargon and slang, is the bastard brother of Common in 5e and a more mundane form of this trope. It is almost exclusively spoken by Underdark dwelling races like the Drow, Duregar, and certain other sentient races down there, but aside from its grating qualities to the ears it doesn't have the mind-blasting qualities that Abyssal, Infernal, and Deep Speech can have.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Aklo, taken from Arthur Machen and H. P. Lovecraft, appears as the preferred tongue of various horrible creatures and Eldritch Abominations.
    • Necril in First Edition was a mundane language often spoken in undead societies, but in Second Edition was upgraded to the true tongue of undeath. All undead creatures rise knowing it, and even mindless undead respond to commands given in the language. While living creatures are capable of learning it, doing so exposes them to the same negative influences that tend to drive even well-intentioned undead to evil over time.
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000
    • The Dark Tongue of Chaos, which is generally the language of daemons and sorcerers in both Fantasy and 40K.
    • The various languages used by the Chaos-worshiping human tribes — Norse, Kurgan and Hung — also tend to be influenced by Dark Tongue to a certain extent, though they remain their own distinct languages with their own grammatical structures and so forth. The influence of Dark Tongue on these languages is mostly seen via loan-words and etymology. Norscan runic-script is also influenced by written Dark Tongue.
    • Enuncia is a pre-human language that appears in books written by Dan Abnett for Warhammer 40 000. It can be used to control daemons and heretic engines, and damage opponents but can have terrible effects on those that speak it as well, with outcomes from bleeding from the mouth to cranial rupturing.
    • 40K also has scrapcode, which is the Black Speech as a programming language. The Dark Mechanicus can speak it, too; it makes the already mechanical binary cant of the Adeptus Mechanicus sound so much worse.
  • Exalted:
    • Parodied with the Abyssals, who, when enacting their darkest rituals, ritually atoning for misbehavior, or otherwise communing with their Neverborn masters, will often speak in a disturbing, nigh-unpronouncably ominous tongue that seems to have all the traits of the Black Speech... until the Abyssals splatbook reveals that it's complete gibberish that doesn't actually mean anything.
    • The demons of Malfeas (who aren't evil so much as alien, albeit in a manner that is implicitly dangerous to other beings) speak Old Realm, the same native language used by the gods and The Fair Folk, albeit apparently with a distinctive accent and somewhat offputting vocabulary.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, the language of the Phyrexians is this. A guttural-sounding tongue where harsh, unbroken strings of consonants are common, Phyrexian incorporates clanking and slashing noises into its vocabulary, making it impossible to speak properly without the extensive body modifications that Phyrexians undergo.
  • The Darkness aligned princesses in Bleak World can ONLY use the black speech, using it to communicate with each other or the Darkness itself.
  • The New World of Darkness has the supernatural language of demons, the Dragon's Tongue. The "tortured glossolalia" is perceived differently by everyone and can only be learned through direct tutelage, though some people are unlucky enough to be born fluent. Knowing the language can be an advantage in bargaining for a pact.
  • Wicked Ones: Most monsters speak a language simply referred to as the Dark Tongue. Descriptions of what this sounds like are never given, but seeing as this is a game all about playing archetypal fantasy monsters the name is almost certainly meant as a reference to this trope.

    Video Games 
  • Bug Fables: In the Forsaken Lands is an abandoned town that was once a temporary settlement for Elizant I and her ant settlers. The place is currently inhabited by strange bugs wearing masks and cloaks whose speech bubble text is made of pulsating, scribble-like blotches. Given that the False Monarch "ruling" these bugs is actually a cluster of Mothflies, it's left ambiguous if they were ever speaking anything comprehensible in the first place.
  • Dragon Age: While it never shows up outside of cutscenes, the appearance of the Darkspawn is frequently heralded by an ominous whispering. Possibly this is meant to indicate that the Warden is sensing them.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online features the One Ring inscription (as given in the page quote) performed as a kind of faux-Gregorian chant by a choir as background music in some regions of the game (most notably in certain parts of Moria). In contrast to the normal expectations of Black Speech sounding harsh and guttural, it's much softer and gentler than the occasional scrap of Dwarven one hears in the game (usually "Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!").
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor features The One Ring inscription sung as Ominous Latin Chanting. Meanwhile, the sequel features actual Black Speech being spoken by some characters (without translation, to the consternation of some who no longer understand it.) Amusingly the game suggests that Black Speech ia a major hassle to learn. Ratbag can't speak a word and even as one of the smarter denizens of Mordor Bruz off-handedly mentions he can't speak a word, calling the language a pain in the ass.
    • A Balrog named Tar-Goroth speaks in a very guttural language separate from black speech (which doesn't have subtitles) so nobody (except maybe Celebrimbor) have any idea what the hell he's saying, Talion even asks what Tar-Goroth is saying to which Celebrimbor replies "Does it matter?"
  • Eredun (often referred to as simply "Demonic"), and its written form, Eredic, in Warcraft games. Lots of Xs and Zs here too. As an added bonus, reading demonic scriptures places your sanity at risk. Presumably, the language of the Draenei, which is based on the uncorrupted version of Eredic and sounds quite similar, doesn't have that effect.
    • Additionally, it seems that speaking demonic has a negative effect on one's ability to cast spells for non-demons. Evidenced by the fact that Warlocks can curse an opponent into being able to speak nothing else, which slows the speed at which they can cast spells.
    • In World of Warcraft, demonology-spec warlocks had a spell called Metamorphosis, which temporarily transformed them into a demon. While under the influence of this spell they are affected by demon-targeting spells (such as Banish) and speak only in Demonic.
    • Kalimag, the language of the Elementals. Considering it's in use by the Twilight's Hammer cult, it counts. Listen for yourself.
    • There's also the language of the Old Gods, Shath'yar, spoken in-game only by them, their servants, and those unfortunate mortals who have been driven insane by prolonged contact. You can view a good sampling of it here. It sounds much like a Shout-Out to the Cthulhu Mythos, as all things related to the Old Gods are.
    • The Scourge has its own language, referred to in the game as the 'language of death'. It appears that only a current or former member of the Scourge can speak or translate it. Amusing if one's character is a Death Knight, but still has to take a Scourge tome to an NPC Death Knight to have it translated.
    • As a Shout-Out, one of the Nathrezim's warcries is "Ash nazg kimpatul!"
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Late in the main quest you acquire the true names of several creatures called Shadow Reavers that were created by the Big Bad from the corpses of mages that had been working for him. However, the scrolls are written in a fiendish language that only your party members Zhjaeve (a planewalking scholar and cleric) and Ammon Jerro (a warlock who has trafficked extensively with demons and devils) can read.
  • Parodied in Fable II with the hollow man, who guards the Stone of Myr'Bregothill. They want to do the hollow dance of Ur'Cyrandoandor upon your bones...if only they could reliably remember what it's called.
  • Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica's Corrupted Pastalia certainly sounds like this, and the context in which it's used doesn't help.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Darth Nihilus speaks in a ridiculous, over-the-top evil sounding language that is completely undecipherable, and the player is never given a translation to see what he's actually saying, though it's almost certainly the ancient Sith language. Explained in-universe as the Exile's translator module not having a setting for it.
  • Bayonetta has Enochian, the language of angels. The Angels of Paradiso and Infernal Demons use it as their preferred tongue, while Umbra Witches and Lumen Sages use it for their magic. When the Cardinal Virtues speak it, it's creepy.
  • The cultists of the Blood series speak a language which is a mixture of Latin and Sanskrit words and grammar. By Blood II: The Chosen, only Zealots and, occasionally, Ishmael still speak it, though some of the Fallen in Shogo: Mobile Armor Division also use it.
  • Baten Kaitos Origins: Your companion, Guillo, who is some sort of androgynous puppet/robot, speaks in two voices simultaneously. One is female and one is male, just to confuse you a little bit more. Additionally (and a better example), when angry, Guillo's voice becomes intensely more demonic.
  • Some of the ghosts in Ghostbusters: The Video Game, such as Possessors and Cultists, engage in this.
  • The evil White Legs tribe in Fallout: New Vegas: Honest Hearts speak a barbaric pidgin language.
  • The language of the DomZ in Beyond Good & Evil. There's even an entire song in the soundtrack with lyrics entirely in the DomZ language that plays whenever there's a full-on DomZ invasion.
  • NieR deconstructs it. Although it seems like Black Speech on the first playthrough, on the second playthrough it turns out to be a real language, and you have the ability to understand it, leading to the game becoming a deconstruction of RPGs.
  • In Five Nights at Freddy's, Freddy will taunt you over the phone using Black Speech exactly 24 hours after he kills the Phone Guy. Spoilers
  • Satan from The Binding of Isaac talks in some deep, guttural, incomprehensible growling. Turns out it's actually voice clips from Mom, but pitched down, distorted and played backwards.
  • Mentioned in RuneScape with the note dropped after defeating one of the early Dungeoneering bosses.
    "One such unique example calls itself 'Plane-freezer Lakhrahnaz' in our tongue. I regret asking it to state its name in its own tongue, as the resultant combination of both audible and inaudible sound from its many lipless mouths gave me a huge headache and caused blood to cascade from my nose, which Lakhrahnaz then froze."
    • During a quest, the player is tasked with retrieving a magic artefact known as the "Frostenhorn". Azzanadra clarifies that the Fremennik gave it that name because they assumed it had powers over ice (it didn't); when asked what his race calls it, Azzanadra politely declines to answer and replies that speaking its true name would make the player's ears melt from the sides of their head.
  • Every single one of the Elder Powers from Nexus Clash has a cultic language spoken by their followers, full of concepts that only make sense in that language. Most of them count as this trope for various reasons.
  • In Sundered, the Shining Trapezohedron speaks in a harsh and guttural language that the player can only understand through the magic of subtitles. The written form of it, which shows up in the names of major bosses and certain areas, has a lot of apostrophes, X's, and Z's. For instance, the word "Hysteria" is translated as "X'zea'shia".
  • The Secret World features numerous cases of this, most prominently the demonic tongue and languages touched by the Filth. Not only do they sound immensely disturbing, but they often have potentially dangerous consequences for mortals who make the mistake of listening too closely: the demonic tongue can't even be spoken by humans without first ritualistically mutilating your tongue, and translating some of the nastier threats into English runs the risk of boiling the bowels of anyone in earshot; meanwhile, people infected by the Filth can sing hymns that kill small birds and other animals in range, and a few can even reproduce the Filth as graffiti capable of infecting humans by sight alone.
    • Subverted in the case of the Draug; their language might sound threatening and unearthly, especially given that it's being spoken by a horde of semi-decayed Fish People, all of whom have extremely deep, guttural voices. However, according to Dr Bannerman's notes, it's just Old Icelandic - a relic of the original Viking heroes who were enslaved by the Dreamers and made into the first Draug.
  • FAITH has a monster in the woods named Michael who shrieks jumbled phrases when warded off.
  • Destiny and its sequel have Rasputin the Warmind, who speaks in heavily-distorted Russian. It's not so bad in the first game, but by the time of the second, he sounds like this.
    • Fallen Speak sounds pretty Black Speech-y, too.
  • The Ascians' speech in Final Fantasy XIV is an incomprehensible, guttural tongue presented in sinister black text boxes, although it's subtitled normally thanks to the Echo. Subverted when Shadowbringers reveals it's just the language of their ancient civilization; while the text boxes are still black and spooky, it's much less terrifying when they're asking if you need help getting home rather than threatening to kill you.
  • Ozkavosh in Dota 2, a language mainly spoken by demons and those affiliated to them.
  • The Devil in Cuphead speaks in some otherly language when casting spells for certain attacks.
  • Gift: Little Darks and Little Clears tend to mumble something like that.
  • You'd better have the subtitles on when playing the Hirschfelden Halloween missions in theHunter: Call of the Wild, because the Roe Devil talks like this.
  • Nioh 2 gives the player the ability to hear Yokai speech (justified, as the main protagonist is a half-human, half-Yokai hybrid). However, the player is unable to understand anything at the beginning of the game, as their speech is so incomprehensible that the subtitles only display red runes instead of text. It's only when you start completing missions and increasing your Astral Wisdom that the runes are slowly replaced by text.
  • Genshin Impact has the magic scrolls, dropped by Samachurls on death. Depending on the rarity of the scrolls, they also have their own descriptive texts. The most common ones "exude an inexplicable but ominous warmth", while the rarer ones are said to be indecipherable; the few who could understand it "have all went mad".
  • Dungeonmans: The dreaded Purpleonians and those awful outsiders and cultists related to them have Purple Language. It's not usually relevant to your character, but a Southern Gentlemans that's maxed out the Fire and Brimstone skill tree can use it for the most destructive Foreign-Language Tirade you can imagine: The capstone skill Blasphemous Tirade does enormous damage and knocks both enemies and items around in a huge radius, usually reducing an entire surrounding horde to a heap of corrupted meat-paste in a single move. Just be careful of overdoing it, they can hear you.
  • Warframe:
    • Fitting their brutish and industrial aesthetic, the Grineer's language sounds very rough and harsh on the ears, and may even sound like gibberish at first - though it's actually modified, heavily corrupted English, leading to almost unrecognizable phrases like "Gredoarhung" ('Reloading'), or "Kley'gre reger" ('they're here') to what sounds basically like English with a speech impediment, like "No aktuvhutee to gregort." (No activity to report). Justified, as the Grineer are a race of clones who suffer from severe Clone Degradation, it's a miracle most of them are able to speak at all.
    • Corpus language was initially technological and mechanical sounding gibberish, but were given a proper language early in the game’s life cycle. Said language is heavy on the consonants, with interchangeable syllables in spoken language when translated from English, leading to gibberish like "Je yette pke Yotkuy. Je ate pke Yotkuy." (We serve the Corpus. We are the Corpus.) or "Jatttasey!" (Warframes!), as well as slight dialect changes depending on region. Intriguingly, Corpus capture targets, Eximus units, and bosses also speak English, with the implication that Corpus language is normal speech filtered through their helmets to keep enemies from overhearing them.
    • The eldritch avatar of the Void of Warframe, The Man in The Wall, speaks a bizarre language of harsh consonants and guttural sounds referred to as the "Voidtongue" by Albrecht Entrati. The good professor was worried it was meaningless, but was even moreso that there was meaning to it, especially since the Requiem Mods Tenno use to kill Grineer Kuva Liches and the Corpus' Sisters of Parvos use Voidtongue words and said words do have translations.note  On top of that, the first spoken instance of the Voidtongue - which occurs at the end of the "The New War" quest - is so utterly deep and distorted that for literal years players misheard it as a recitation of several of those Requiem Mod words.note  Below is the actual transcript of the Voidtongue recitation at the end of "The New War", given with the "Whispers in the Walls" quest tied to The Man in The Wall:

  • Death in A.P.O.C speaks in a language that seems otherworldly, and tied to it's existence as Death. No-one can understand it, but readers may be able to decipher it with a pen and paper handy.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures: the Insectis race. Apparently, they're bad enough when they're actually speaking English, and then you get to their actual language. According to the author, it's not evil sounding, but it is painful to listen to, like trying to form vowels with the sounds of an angle grinder.
  • The radio in chapter 3 of Stand Still, Stay Silent utters some, written as white, scribbled letters on black background. It's gibberish mixed with Swedish "who am (I)", "please", "beware" and "no no no". The earliest sign that Tuuri did indeed get infected with the rash was that she started to hear it without a radio.
  • Subverted by Luna in Dominic Deegan, who has a couple outbursts in an ancient, guttural language (represented by black word bubbles filled with nothing but punctuation and non-letter symbols) during the too-long March Across Maltak saga. The Shintula and Bikta orcs view her using this language as horrible blasphemy, despite the fact that each outburst makes beautiful greenery appear all around her in an otherwise completely dead landscape.
    • We later learn that, like the Words of Creation discussed in the "Book of Vile Darkness" entry under Tabletop Games, the language is actually the polar opposite of Black Speech - it is a holy language, and the orcs' offense comes from the fact that an unworthy human has dared to speak it.
  • Irregular Webcomic!: the several personifications of death talk in ALL CAPS when talking to mortals. They talk normal among peers though, because they don't have to act ominous then.
  • Parhelion: Basilisk speaks in jagged, glitched static that gets more distorted when they're agitated. No translator is necessary.
  • The Pixel Dogs in Paranatural talk in skulls. (It's a cipher language — the skull's features can be counted up to match an English word spoken on a previous page of the comic). Forge also speaks a single word of it. This is significant, because Cursetongue is learned at the rate of one word per evil act committed by a spirit.
  • The Inferni characters talk with this trope in mind in My Best Friend Marneao. It doesn't seem to have any side effect for the humans, they just think is a weird language. Marneao convinces the kids at school they are speaking canadian.
  • In The Zombie Hunters, the evil-looking black Speech Bubbles and glowing white lettering of Night of the Living Mooks contains a frightening cacophany of various gutteral grunts and moans, but to half-zombie Charlie, they increasingly begin to resolve themselves into broken, rasping English, the implications of which leave the character profoundly disturbed.
  • Last Res0rt plays with this; the Tone language of the Celeste uses this as a vehicle for their Compelling Voice, but...Tone itself is completely silent, only audible to the Celeste themselves and any individuals with the appropriate level of resistance.
  • Homestuck: after going grimdark, Rose appears to be incapable of talking outside of this. This naturally leads to a language barrier when she runs into John.
    • Becsprite seems to have a similar problem, though since his speech is only denoted with scribbles, it could just be a case of You Cannot Grasp the True Form.
  • Minnie and Grim Jr. of Grim Tales from Down Below can communicate this way.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Darkness Clan language appears as jagged grey text on a black background, or as jagged markings if the perspective character doesn't understand it. It's described as sounding screechy and hurts the throats of those not used to speaking it. It's also the language of curses.
  • Invoked in Draconia Chronicles. To a dragon, the tiger language is "hideous" and "full of phlegm." Of course, they hate each other.
  • Demons in Kill Six Billion Demons speak a language known as "Black Speech" amongst themselves. When it's translated to English via Translation Convention it resembles a temporal mish-mash of English mixing modern and antiquated terms, alongside slipping into words that look like they came from Nadsat and a lot of invective. Translation notes translates it further into comprehensible English.
  • Debugging Destiny presents Osborne's speech this way. His Speech Bubbles have the darkest background, blood-red text, little to no punctuation, and avoid capital letters.

    Web Original 
  • Dice Funk: Austin explicitly refers to the Abyssal language as "the Black Speech" when it is revealed that Anne understands it.
  • Zalgo is a memetic Eldritch Abomination whose influence can cause very distorted text in web browsers.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Vagineer's speech is guttural and unintelligible. It's the real Engineer's lines, albeit reversed. Numerous abominations in similar vein, known as TF2 Freaks, are often given reversed or warped versions of their real lines.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Eppaljeck sounds like someone talking sped up, backwards, and possibly in G-major. Alternately, her 'jitter' effect that causes Applejack to explode sounds like a primitive Atari-era video game, sped up to the point of uncomfortable auditory dissoance.
  • Inglip: Lord Inglip's speech is naturally distorted — being captcha and all.
  • There's a meme on YouTube called "G-Major" (mentioned briefly above) where an uploader takes a normal video and inverts the colours and edits the audio to create a strange harmony (usually in G-Major, hence the name) to cause this effect.
  • Pokémon World Tour: United: In episode 21, Rose is using her Togepi, Scramble, in a Contest. Every round she has Scramble use Metronome. When Scramble does so, it's described as summoning the aura of the Pokemon using the move Togepi's Metronome causes. All goes mostly well until the final round of the contest, when Scramble channels a move belonging to Mewtwo. Togepi's voice changes ("Togepriiii!) and people close by hear a deep, dark voice say "Psycho Cut".
  • SCP Foundation: The Antimemetics Division, written primarily by qntm, frequently encounter antagonists which speak in meaningless syllables and phrases, interspersed with normal speech. This having been said, the syllables may be meaningless, but they're just close enough to meaning as we know it that the human mind tries to decipher them. And that's how they get you.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: One of the show's favorite gags is the depiction of Russian and German languages as guttural and hostile to English speakers. In every instance, the subtitles reveal that the speaker is actually saying something pleasant or benign.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Lord Pain can speak in a strange tongue which is forbidden for mortal ears. Despite sounding like silly and uncomprehensible gibberish, it causes a canary to lose its feathers, a fish to die and its tank to rotten up and Billy to ooze some kind of weird green goo from his ear, then fall unconscious.


Video Example(s):


"One Ring to Rule Them All"

In the extended version, Gandalf recites the Ring Verse from memory when Boromir reaches to take it, causing the sky to grow dark and thunderous. "Ash nazg durbatuluk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatuluk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul."

How well does it match the trope?

4.93 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / BlackSpeech

Media sources: