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Thought Bubble Speech

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Animals can't talk, but they can think, so lines that look like dialog appear in thought bubbles. Sometimes animals can communicate with each other and reply to each other's thought balloons. This means that either the thought balloons are effectively translations of Animal Talk, or all animals are telepathic.

Related to Speech-Impaired Animal, Nearly Normal Animal and Animal Talk.

This is a comic trope — the film equivalent would be to sub-title an animal.



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    Comic Books 
  • Scooby-Doo does this throughout his comic book career from the earliest period (Dec. 1969) up to around the time Marvel assumed the Hanna-Barbera line. At that point he was given regular word balloons with the speech impediment prevalent on his TV series.
  • Snowy from Tintin does this using ordinary speech bubbles, though it's clear that Tintin and other humans can't hear them.

    Comic Strips 
  • Big Nate has Sherman, Nate's classroom hamster who manages to be one of the biggest Deadpan Snarker in the series despite his lack of actual voice.
  • Snoopy and his relatives from Peanuts. Snoopy's friend Woodstock doesn't do this, but appears able to hear Snoopy's thought bubbles.
  • The animals from Garfield, apart from Odie.
  • The animal cast of Footrot Flats.
  • In the BBXX Baby Blues book, it reveals that Rick and Jerry's first rule in the series was to not let Zoe communicate through thought bubbles, but broke it in the first comic. In the early comics, instead of words, they use objects (ex: a lollipop) to show what Zoe is thinking. One comic had Zoe remembering what Wanda said to her about locking the door. A few comics feature Wren talking through thought bubbles, but not directly to the viewer. Throughout the series, the "Wren talking through thought bubbles" concept was rarely seen and communication was rarely seen in the series.
  • Boot and other dogs from The Perishers, but not the crabs or insects.
  • In Marvin, this is how babies and animals communicate.
  • Animals in Mother Goose and Grimm use thought bubbles sometimes and Speech Bubbles other times.

  • Played with in Stanley Bagshaw and the Short-Sighted Football Trainer:
    Grandma: (thinks) He's a boy of simple pleasures.
    Cat: (thinks) Yes, that's just what I thought.
    Cat: (thinks) Stone me: I'm a mind-reading cat!

    Web Comics 
  • Used in Two Lumps. In fact, in this example, thought bubbles are used for conversation, while internal monologue is handled by Thought Captions.
  • Zane the cat in Kurami communicates like this. The titular infant can understand him; it's unclear whether Ana and Bree can as well.
  • Used by fish in Amazing Superpowers here.
  • Tally-Ho! implies (and has corroboration from Word of God) that the animals do make sounds when they communicate, but the fox claims that a phone wouldn't transmit "dog thoughts." It does anyway.
  • Leif & Thorn: Thorn's cat, Tiernan. Not clear whether this applies to all animals, or just magical/soulbonded ones.
  • Sam in Melonpool is an interesting example in that his speech is always depicted in thought bubbles, but other people can hear and understand him because he communicates telepathically. He can't use telephones, however, as telepathic thoughts can't be recorded.

    Western Animation 
  • The Loud House: All the family pets communicate in picture thought balloons when they agree.