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Translation by Volume

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"Oh yes! Picard's fluent in yelling at people. This is the time honoured method of speaking your own language loudly and somewhat slowly to people who don't speak it, in the hopes that they will suddenly understand you."
SF Debris, reviewing the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Darmok"

A person attempts to overcome a Language Barrier by simply speaking loudly and slowly or even shouting, believing that it will somehow work. As if they watched a movie or show where the Translation Convention was in effect and took it too literally, note  (e.g. the work that introduced them to Language Barriers was Happy Feet, 'Allo 'Allo!, Battlefield Earth or something else guaranteed to give someone a wrong idea of what a Language Barrier is if they aren't already familiar with them).

It often involves speaking in conjunction with national stereotypes, frequently utilising some version of Eagle Land of the boorish category to portray an ignorant tourist, bumbling his way around a foreign country. Characters sometimes just meet a person who doesn't speak the same language, not necessarily a tourist. It's a fairly universal approach, not limited to one nation or one language.

Another variant of this trope happens when characters are nice to each other and they genuinely try to understand and communicate, never realizing that it's hopeless. People may mean to be helpful and improve communication, but it can come across as condescending.

In all fairness, there is logic behind this strategy, if the other party has some knowledge of your language. Someone learning a second language is more likely to understand if it's spoken slowly and distinctly. And even if they have only a passing familiarity, enunciating each word separately raises the odds that they'll pick up enough to follow your meaning. It's only useless if the languages involved are entirely unknown. It's also a good strategy when teaching each other your languages in order to develop the ability to communicate.

This trope is very often Played for Laughs as a means of mocking communication and poor foreign language skills. Generally, it will be accompanied by El Spanish "-o" and a lot of Body Language tropes, both in fiction and in Real Life, since this is Truth in Television. But what else do you do When All You Have Is a Hammer…?

Examples from media

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  • A radio advert had a tourist going into a travel agency in Hong Kong and trying to arrange a complicated flight while the agent just kept saying, "Yes...Yes...Yes..." in response to this trope. At the end it's obvious the agent hasn't understood a word. Unless you went to the advertised travel agency, of course, where all their travel planners spoke fluent English.

  • Eddie Izzard, a British comedian, did a bit about it, where Brits in France would try to order the same foods from home, but speak with greater volume and enunciation. Which could work depending on the food, given a bunch of dishes have their name borrowed from French.
  • Howie Mandel (back before he did game shows) used this concept in his stand-up routine, asking how we would like it if people did it to us. The punch line being that, when someone did it to him, it worked.
  • Henry Cho:
    • Henry Cho talks about his mother-in-law speaking loudly in English to his father, a man of Korean descent who however speaks perfect English. She says "HELLO, IT'S GOOD TO MEET YOU" loudly and slowly, and his dad turns to him and asks, "What is she doing?" — "She thinks she's speaking Korean, Dad!"
    • When he himself visited Korea, he was approached by an American tourist who spoke with him in loud English and combined it with Korean-like El Spanish "-o" (keep in mind Cho not only speaks English natively, but also has a Tennessee accent).
      Henry Cho: All the Korean people she could pull out of the crowd, she pulls me out of the crowd and goes "IS THIS BUSEY THAT GOESEY DOWNEY TOWNEY?" I looked at her and said "I reckon so."

    Comic Books 
  • In Bone, Phoney Bone tries this on the Great Red Dragon when he doesn't respond to Phoney's questions about his cousin Fone Bone. "HAVE-YOU-SEEN-FONE-BONE-A-ROUND?" Fortunately, Ted the bug intervenes before the Dragon loses his temper.

    Fan Works 
  • A Good Omens fic by A.A. Pessimal set in pre-WW1 Austria raises the idea of upper-class boorish British visitors demanding to know where this Wien place is, is it easy to get to from Vienna? The demon Crowley speculates this hypothetical visitor has just arrived from Italy, where nobdy seemed to know where Florence was and kept trying to direct them to some damn place called Fiorenze.

    Films — Animation 
  • Tarzan: Clayton tries to get Tarzan to understand the word "gorilla" by shouting it at him. All it results in is Tarzan yelling it right back at him.
    Clayton: GO-RIL-LAS!
    Tarzan: GO-RIL-LAS!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Better Off Dead, Lane's father tries to communicate with Monique the exchange student from France:
  • Rush Hour: Carter, an English speaker, is speaking to Lee for the first time, and Lee pretends not to speak English. This was allegedly inspired by the actual first meeting between Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
  • In Shanghai Noon when Chon Wang (who speaks English) is trying to get directions from a couple Indians (who don't):
    Jackie: WHERE. IS. CARSON. CITY?!
    Indian: (in subtitles) Now he's saying it slower; like that's going to help!
  • Along Came Polly: When Reuben and Polly first meet Reuben's parents, they ask a Middle-Eastern waiter in a rather condescending fashion: "Hi, need big table please - four people - many thanks" with the waiter responding in a bewildered fashion (and American accent) "okay".
  • From Back to the Future franchise: In script Number Two, Marty and Jennifer visit a store clerk in the year 2015. Marty asks for the Grays Sports Almanac, but the clerk asks, "On what?" After asking a few more times, Marty goes for the direct approach.
    Marty: (very slowly, deliberately) Look, I just want to know how much money the Sports Almanac costs.
    Clerk: (just as deliberately) And I just want to know what format you want? ROM-Cart, ROM-D, Standard-C, Mini-C or Micro-C? Rental, Lease or download? What's your memcap and baud rate? Interface with me, kid. You'll never get by in this world if you can't interface.
    Marty: Uh, right — good advice.
  • Vicky tries to speak loudly and slowly in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, as she's initially not very good at speaking Spanish or Catala.
  • In Bollywood film English Vinglish, Shashi calls up the English class, and the lady there recites the different classes they have at high speed. Shashi asks her to speak slowly. The lady repeats what she said, more slowly and more loudly. Shashi understands it this time.
  • Played With in Pulp Fiction: When the hitman Jules psychologically tortures his future victim Brett, he plays with this concept. He's half-infuriated, half-amused that the confused boy answers him several times with only "what?", which leads to an iconic exchange. Jules screams at Brett as if Brett didn't understand English.
    Jules: What does Marcellus Wallace look like?
    Brett: What?
    Jules: (tosses table) What country you from?
    Brett: W-what?
    Jules: What ain't no country I ever heard of! They speak English in What?
    Brett: ...what?!
  • Jungle 2 Jungle: Jan Kempster speaks loudly when meeting Mimi-Siku (who actually can speak some English). Lampshaded by Mimi's father, Michael Cromwell: "He's foreign, not deaf."
  • Water. Corrupt Corporate Executive Rob Waring encounters the Cascaran Liberation Front, which consists of Delgado Fitzhugh (who only communicates through song) and Garfield Cooper.
    Rob: (with exaggerated hand movements) DO-YOU-SPEAK-EN-GL-ISH?
    Garfield: I do, but my comrade will not speak until he can say Cascara is free.
    Rob: Is that a political posture or a speech impediment?
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. After Laureline is kidnapped she tries this trope with the alien holding her, who's more interested in having her try out dresses. After failing to make the alien Take Me to Your Leader or at least fetch a translator, she loses her temper and tries to intimidate the alien with a loud roar. The alien responds with a longer and louder roar which leaves Laureline Covered in Gunge.
  • Murder on the Orient Express (2017): Dr. Arbuthnot starts to speak too clearly by telling the non-anglophone sailors that he can help with their engine before catching himself, then taking off his jacket to help.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu: Pikachu talks loudly and slowly before he realizes that Tim can understand him.
    Pikachu: [sotto voce] Aw, jeez. Here we go. [talking slowly and loudly while miming his words] I know you can't understand me, but put down the stapler or I... will [Points to his tail] electrocute... you!
  • Now You See Me 2: When the Horsemen are stranded in China, they try to get the materials they need for their heist from a famous magic shop, but the elderly woman running it doesn't speak English. Daniel tries this trope when explaining what they need, even throwing some sound effects in for good measure. The woman stares at him for a moment before snapping at him, and her English-speaking grandson translates that "speaking slowly and making noises won't suddenly make her understand him" before translating their shopping list for her. Hilariously the woman is actually fluent in English, and was just trolling him; indeed, they both turn out to be Eye members.

  • Gor: In Savages of Gor, where a Red Savage (Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Native American) of the Dust Leg tribe talks slowly and loudly in his native language to a Beautiful Slave Girl who only speaks Gorean.
    "He was speaking to her in Dust Leg, slowly and clearly. "Yes, Master," she whimpered, in Gorean. "Yes, Master." It amused me that the youth, like so many individuals to whom only one language is familiar, so familiar that it seems that all humans must, in one way or another, be conversant with it, seemed to think that the girl must surely understand him if only he would speak slowly enough and with sufficient distinctness."
  • Discworld:
    • This is Granny Weatherwax's default form of communication when dealing with foreigners during the witches' travels in Witches Abroad.
    • In the Discworld Mapp, this was the standard modus operandi of the great explorer Sir Roderick Purdeigh, who was of the firm opinion that people in distant lands that no-one wearing proper trousers had ever seen before were refusing to speak Morporkian out of stubbornness.
  • America (The Book): America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide To Democracy Inaction is a Satire/Parody/Pastiche of high-school textbooks about the history of American democracy and politics. It references this concept. "Do... you... speak... English?"
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Umbridge maliciously speaks to Hagrid in this unpleasant manner in order to make him look dumb and oafish, setting him up so she can fire him later. Hagrid responds in the same manner while trying to communicate what thestrals are, albeit in a confused and would-be helpful manner rather than a malicious one.
  • Appears in one of The Destroyer novels. Remo does understand Chinese, but can't keep up with the rapid-fire delivery he's being confronted with so he asks Chuin to translate. Chuin, not amused, instead yells at the Chinese guy to speak slower so that his stupid white companion can understand.
  • Sweet Valley High:
    • This trope is lampshaded when Elizabeth speaks loudly and slowly to a waiter in a Sweet Valley University book. She cringes as she does it, knowing full well how insulting it is—but it works. The waiter is able to pick up on the few English words that he does understand and help her out.
    • In a High book, Bruce Patman takes his deaf girlfriend Regina to dinner at his parents house and cringes as his mother insists on talking to her very loudly and slowly, despite Bruce repeatedly telling her that it isn't necessary—Regina won't hear her no matter how loudly she talks, and she's a good enough lip reader that it isn't necessary to talk slowly. Of course, the clueless woman blasts Bruce for being insensitive.
    • When Ken Matthews returns to school following a car accident that left him blind, he embarrasses his teacher who is practically shouting at him, informing him, "My ears are fine, sir."
  • In My Ántonia, Jim remarks that his grandmother tended to speak loudly with new settlers that came to their neighbourhood in Nebraska. She's a good soul and tries to be helpful.
    "My grandmother always spoke in a very loud tone to foreigners, as if they were deaf."
  • This trope is implied to be Older Than Radio as the protagonist of Erewhon, published 1872, muses:
    "I resolved to continue upon the same path as hitherto - namely, to behave just as though I were in England until I saw I was making a blunder."
  • One volume of Gerald Durrell's memoirs mentions that his mother was in the habit of doing so when not consumed by the belief that she speaks the language better than the natives do. This leads to her trying and failing to explain what "grilled tomatoes" means to a Greek kitchen hand with limited English, followed by said kitchen hand putting tomatoes on a piece of bread, wrapping them in a napkin, and placing it on an open flame, with predictable and amusing results.
  • In one of Dave Barry's columns describing a visit to New York, he says that he and his companion made sure to speak in capital letters so their taxi driver, who was required to speak very little English, would understand them.
  • The Terror by Dan Simmons. Sir John Franklin (portrayed as generally affable but incompetent) tries to do this to a wounded Esquimaux who's been brought on board the ship.
  • Mutiny on the Bounty: How Alexander Smith communicated with the Tahitians.
    "Smith, nevertheless, was of the opinion that if English were spoken slowly and in a loud voice, it must be a stupid foreigner indeed who could fail to understand."
  • The definition of 'Yarmouth' in The Meaning of Liff:
    "To shout at foreigners in the belief that the louder you speak, the better they'll understand you"
  • Tried out by Hal in Brotherband, when he's trying to get a Gallican note  captain to understand his instructions for saving their ship.
    Hal: Can you tether it? Tether? Tether-o? Why don't these dopey Gallicans speak the common tongue?
    Captain: Actually, I speak it just fine.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Scrubs, Marco lampshades how absurd it is to Turk, who thinks Marco only speaks Spanish.
    Turk: I'm sorry. But I CAN'T UNDERSTAND YOU.
    Marco: Yeah, well that talking slower and louder thing is not as helpful as you might think.
  • On Arrested Development this tends to be how the Bluths attempt to communicate with the various Spanish-speaking characters.
  • An episode of The Facts of Life had the girls attempting to speak to a Spanish speaking woman very loudly. She does the exact same thing to them, in Spanish.
  • Joey: In "Joey and the Fancy Sister", Joey's sister Mary-Theresa comes to visit and mistakes Alex for a maid. She tells her loudly and slowly, "Hola! We are out of towels!"
  • Midsomer Murders: Tom Barnaby once mentions that it used to be all you had to do to be understood by a foreigner. To speak loudly.
  • Played With in Samantha Who?: The main character has amnesia and when she meets up with her friend, the friend starts using this trope, speaking loudly and unnaturally clearly. Another friend quickly berates her, letting her know that Samantha has amnesia but isn't deaf. She is also obviously not a foreigner.
  • QI: When discussing the differences between British and American cuisine, Stephen jokingly asked American guest Rich Hall: "WHAT... DO YOUR PEOPLE... EAT?"
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine, episode "Fugitive": Both approaches appear when detectives try to understand a witness who doesn't speak English. However, they try to find out where she's from so that they can get an interpreter.
    • Captain Holt tries speaking slowly and ultra-clearly with miming.
      Captain Holt: [speaks slowly] Where — were — you — booorn?
      Detective Diaz: What are you miming there, sir?
      Captain Holt: A child tying his tie. Uh-huh. I'm trying to do a simple half-Windsor so she knows I'm a baby. Look at this. See how basic this knot is?
    • Scully and Hitchcock, as useful as ever, try screaming at her.
      Captain Holt: It really sounds Slavic. Does anyone here know any Slavic languages?
      Hitchcock: Oh, I'm great at languages. Watch this. [starts yelling] HELLO! I AM HITCHCOCK!
      Scully: [yelling] THANK YOU FOR THE COOKIE-PIZZA IDEA!
  • In Fawlty Towers, Basil often addresses Manuel, the Spanish waiter and bellboy, by shouting at him, along with lots of Gratuitous Spanish (which is as often as not French, Italian or As Long as It Sounds Foreign) and slapstick violence. See this clip.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation,
  • Lampshaded in an episode of M*A*S*H, when Hawkeye tends to a wounded Korean.
    Hawkeye: Bet-ter? Bet-ter? I've been here all this time, and I still can't speak the language.
    B.J.: (Jokingly) Well, you Americans figure everybody can understand English, lest-you-speak-it-slow-ly-e-nough.
    Hawkeye: Huh?
  • In an episode of Red Dwarf, Lister and the Cat find themselves on a parallel Earth and for some reason believe they are in Bulgaria (it's actually England, but time runs backwards here, so they can't understand anyone). They attempt to get by by speaking slowly and clearly and appending "-ski" to all their words, combining it with Bulgarian flavoured El Spanish "-o".
  • On Friends, Rachel went to meet Ross at the airport. He was returning from a business trip to China and apparently brought back a new Asian girlfriend. Rachel WELCOMES HER TO AMERICA, trying to be cordial and not confused, since Ross was in love with her. Ross's girlfriend Julie actually COMES FROM NEW YORK as well.
  • In The Nanny, when Fran, a Jewish American woman, gets a French boyfriend, her mother speaks loudly and slowly with him.
  • Both referenced and then actually used in the Blackadder the Third episode "Nob and Nobility".
    • When Blackadder meets Frenchman Frou-Frou, the following exchange occurs:
      Blackadder: Do you speak English?
      Frou-Frou: (thick French accent) A little.
      Blackadder: Yes, when you say "a little", what exactly do you mean? I mean, can we talk, or are we going to spend the rest of the afternoon asking each other the way to the beach in very loud voices?
    • Later on, Blackadder meets another Frenchman, which is where the trope is actually used (though combined with sign language).
      Blackadder: Ah, good evening, my man. Do you speak English?
      Frenchman: Little.
      Blackadder: Oh good, then just take me to the ambassador then, would you?
      Frenchman: Pardon?note 
      Blackadder: (sighs, then speaks slowly and clearly) I have rescued (mimes grabbing something) an aristocrat (turns his head to the side and pushes his nose up with one finger) from the clutches (makes "claws" with his hands) of the evil revolutionaries (does the claw hands again). Please take us to the ambassador.
      Frenchman: (equally slowly and clearly) No I won't. I AM an evil revolutionary (claw hands) and I have murdered (draws his finger across his throat) the ambassadeur (pushes his nose up) and have turned him into (mimes squashing something between his hands and tasting it) paté.
  • In Adam-12, the only person at a residence who is available to tell the officers why they were called speaks very little English. They manage limited communication using pantomime, but Malloy, for some reason, also tries repeating his questions VERY LOUDLY.
  • Lucy tries this approach on I Love Lucy when she meets some of Ricky's friends from Cuba. Finally, Ricky tells her, "Honey, they aren't hard of hearing!"
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • In "Inca Mummy Girl", Cordelia keeps bossing around a Swedish exchange student like a pet with curt, simple phrases and the occasional foreign word. ("Momento! Stay! No!") He's later seen chatting with a member of her Girl Posse in perfectly understandable English. ("Momento this, stay that... does Cordelia not speak English?")
    • In "Bad Eggs", Buffy, tired from patrolling all night (or rather, snogging Angel when she should be patrolling), is giving curt answers to Giles.
      Xander: Apparently Buffy has decided the problem with the English language is all those pesky words. (looks at her) You... Angel... big... smoochies?
      Buffy: Shut... up.
  • On General Hospital, when Rich Bitch Tracy returns home and encounters her nephew Jason (who suffered a brain injury that erased his memory in the interim that she was away), she speaks to him like this. Jason's contempt for his former life and family ratchets up with this.
  • In Downton Abbey, this is how Violet guesses that Rosamund's given excuse to visit Switzerland — to improve her French — is bunk.
    Violet: If Rosamund wants to be understood, she shouts.
  • Cheers. When greeting a German man, Rebecca shouts at him, "I wanted to take German in high school", then acts shocked that he doesn't understand her.
  • Empty Nest: Carol shouts at the blind man she's just met, annoy him and embarrassing her sister Barbara.
  • One Life to Live: Andrew shouts at his wheelchair bound father in law, who's stricken with ALS and can't talk, but still manages to snark, via keyboard, "I can hear perfectly fine."
  • Star Trek: Voyager. In "Virtuoso", the Emergency Medical Hologram is attempting to treat some highly-advanced yet arrogant aliens, who regard Voyager's technology as so primitive they start addressing him this way. Then they get indignant when the EMH starts using this trope back at them.
  • Parodied in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Acquisition" when four Ferengi board Enterprise looking for a vault of goodies. (The fact that no such vault exists on board is irrelevant.) During their search, two of them end up in Captain Archer's cabin, and encounter the captain's pet beagle.
    Ferengi: Where-is-the-vault? Do-you-understand-me?
    Porthos: (barks)
    Ferengi: (holds up translator) I can't lock on to its language.
  • In Rush (1974), Dr. Woods attempts while trying to ask a tribe of indigenous Australians for directions.
  • The Nutt House: Reginald, realizing the twins who came in with Charles are Swedish, starts to speak loudly and slowly to them. Lampshaded: their response is "This guy thinks we're deaf."
  • In Frasier, when Roz has been dating a French guy despite not speaking French, and asks Frasier to break up with him for her, she yells at Jean-Pierre "WE'RE HAVING COFF-EE! SIT DOWN!" Frasier snarks "I can't imagine why this isn't working."

  • The Paul and Storm song "International Language" uses this trope. "LOVE IS LOUDER THAN WORDS."

  • The Unbelievable Truth: When Henning Wehn, who speaks English with a thick German accent (on account of being German), gets buzzed at one point by Sally Phillips because she's having trouble understanding him (which causes David Mitchell to claim being hard to understand is key to Henning's strategy in the game), he briefly engages in doing this as revenge. Later on, he buzzes Sally during her lecture to claim he can't understand her.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dragon Magazine's April 1983 issue, #72, the humor section had "Spells for everyone", including Tongues 1/2.
    The caster simply speaks his piece in his normal tongue, in a loud voice and with much emphasis and much waving of arms.
  • The GURPS-based Discworld Roleplaying Game has a skill called "Shouting At Foreigners", which essentially turns translation by volume into a character ability.
    Many people think that they can get by in any language by speaking loudly, slowly and clearly in their own, or by dredging up a few half-remembered words from old stories and books. On the Disc, this sometimes works.

  • Drood has John Jasper and Reverend Crisparkle attempt this approach to Helena and Neville Landless (unaware they actually speak English), with Crisparkle adding gestures.
  • In The Matchmaker, Vandergelder gets manipulated into hosting a dinner at a fancy restaurant. When he tries to order, he gets confused and irritated by the fact that most of the waiter's responses are foreign cuisine terminology, and resorts increasingly to volume.
    Vandergelder: And with the chicken I want a bottle of wine.
    Waiter: Moselle? Chablis? Vouvray?
    Malachi: He doesn't understand you, Mr. Vandergelder. You'd better speak louder.
    Vandergelder: W. I. N. E.
    Waiter: Wine.
    Vandergelder: Wine!
  • In the National Theatre's 2014 production of Treasure Island, Jim attempts to explain something to Hands, a South American pirate who apparently speaks no English. Jim makes several attempts, each one louder, slower, with more simplified syntax and more hand gestures.

    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed III when Haytham slowly enunciates his English to Ziio, a native, she is confused as to why he's doing it in excellent English.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: Lord Withermore speaks loudly and slowly to a Lizard player character until reminded that the Common Tongue has been spoken in the Lizard Empire for centuries. In his defense, he's spent those centuries entombed underground as an undead, yet still apologizes for the misstep.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance has a scene where one of the Hawk Tribe is trying to talk to the Heron princess, who only speaks an ancient language, by talking loudly and slowly as he helps her pack for a trip. Then he tries to find out why she screamed right before the Black Knight kills him.
  • In one of the Freddi Fish games, Freddi and Luther must ask a foreign fish if they can borrow something of his. The first time they speak to the fish, it's clear he can't understand them at all. Should the player try speaking to the fish again without using the proper item (a translation book), Luther will attempt this trope. It's lampshaded by Freddi, who points out that speaking slower and louder won't do them any good.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, Edgar Ross loudly asks the Native American Nastas if he can speak English, only for Fordham to quickly state that he can indeed.
  • Sonic speaks in this way in Sonic Colors the first time he tries to communicate with Yacker. ("WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOUR PEOPLE?") This is a Justified Trope as his words are being translated into Yacker's language by Tails's computer, so he's speaking slowly and clearly so the computer can understand him, not so Yacker can. After that, he just speaks normally when talking to Yacker or the Wisps (or "aliens" as he prefers to call them).
  • in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, a certain substory has the protagonist try to talk to a tourist who doesn't speak a lick of the native language asking for directions. In the Japanese version, the tourist spoke fluent English, but in the English dub, he still speaks English, but loudly and slowly.

    Web Animation 
  • Played for Laughs frequently in Red vs. Blue concerning Lopez, the Red Team's robot, can only speak Spanish.
    • The Red Team, who never understand him, try to communicate with him this way. Interestingly, Lopez can understand English perfectly. His voice unit is simply incapable of speaking it. It's eventually lampshaded by Grif in Season 1:
      Sarge: Lopez. How. Do. We. Fix. Your. Speech. U. Nit.
      Grif: Why are you talking so slowly, Sarge? He can understand us just fine. Maybe you should try listening slower.
    • When Church possesses Lopez in Season 1, and finds that he can only speak Spanish, he speaks slowly, still in Spanish, to try and warn the Reds that Tex is coming to attack them in a tank. They, of course, can't understand him anyway.
    • Played With in Season 3 with this exchange after Church leaves to find a translator for the alien:
      Tucker: (speaking slowly) Okay. Church is trying to get a translator. So that we can talk to each other.
      Church: Tucker, the enormous alien doesn't speak our language, speaking slowly is not gonna help.
      Tucker: What? (camera pans to show Caboose standing behind him) I'm talking to Caboose!
      Church: Oh.
      Caboose: I don't understand. Are-are-are you hungry? Tucker, are you hungry? Are you cold?
    • Subverted in Season 9. Lopez impersonates Simmons by painting his armour maroon, but can still only speak Spanish. However, by speaking slowly, Sarge and Grif are somehow able to understand his Spanish, leaving them clueless to the switch.

    Web Comics 
  • Parodied in Basic Instructions by Scott Meyer in "How to Talk to Someone who Speaks a Foreign Language". To sum up, be patient and remember that people might stereotype. Read it here.
  • Doubly useless in That Deaf Guy, where a random guy asks Desmond a question - but, being the titular deaf guy, he can't hear. He tries to explain this by miming, the random guy realises his mistake and repeats the question. Louder.
    Desmond (thinking): Nope... still can't hear you, but... can clearly see your tonsils.

    Web Original 
  • In The Autobiography of Jane Eyre episode "Cleaning House", Grace Poole tries speaking ultra-clearly and somewhat loudly using just words and not forming a full sentence and adding one gratuitous "por favor" when she instructs two maids not to clean Jane's room. Little does she know that Susanna-Maria Ramirez Gonzalez and the other maid understand and speak perfect English. The girls just deliberately mess with her because this way, she will bug them less. See it here.
  • The Onion:
    New App For Americans Travelling Abroad Translates English Phrases Into Much Louder English Phrases
  • The Monona Rag blog reports that the Governor of Wisconsin is not only changing all foreign language classes to 'Talking Slowly' classes but that the new curriculum also includes expressive hand gestures and sprinklings of vaguely foreign words and authentic names such as Paddy, Paco, Limey and Frog, perhaps as a compromise. Having mastered the basics, they might continue in advanced classes of 'Nodding Condescendingly' and 'Swearing in Exasperation'.
  • SF Debris: Conversed in his opinionated episode guide for the episode "Darmok" from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He comments on desperate attempts of the Enterprise crew and Captain Picard to communicate with incomprehensible aliens whose language their Universal Translator couldn't crack.
    SF Debris: I'll check [Picard's] academy records. His language course was 203. Let me cross-check that. Oh yes! He's fluent in yelling at people. This is the time honoured method of speaking your own language loudly and somewhat slowly to people who don't speak it, in the hopes that they will suddenly understand you. (Beat) The others just laugh at him.
  • Parodied in a Irregular Podcast episode (as a pastiche of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy), with an alien race who spend so much of their time as tourists that they end up speaking only this way, until the language devolves so much it just becomes the word "Lardil" repeated with varying volumes and stress patterns.
  • Not Always Working records an employee of a café attempting shouting to a deaf person.
    "You know I could sign. Why didn't you come grab me?"
    "I thought he'd understand if I shouted loud enough!"
  • The Wikivoyage article on conversation while traveling (appropriately enough labeled "talk") links to this page, discussing a common pitfall when there is no shared language.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The meow of the domestic cat is essentially this trope. In wild and feral cats, the meow is how kittens call to their mother and is essentially phased out once they're old enough to care for themselves. Adult cats only meow if they've grown up around humans — it's purely used as their way of talking to us.