Follow TV Tropes


You No Take Candle / Live-Action TV

Go To

  • Lucille's adopted Korean son in Arrested Development starts out saying nothing but "Annyong" (the Korean word for "hello"; the Bluths assume it's his name), but gradually learns English over the course of the series, talking in stilted phrases at first but with better grammar in later appearances.
    • Played with in an exchange between the three kids.
      Annyong: He no have father? (about George Michael)
      Maeby: No, he have father. Father no love him.
      George Michael: Wait, he love me... loves me.
  • Subverted in Babylon 5, where Zathras spoke in a primitive manner (actually based on creator JMS's Polish grandmother's way of speaking English, the syntax is unmistakably Slavic) but was, besides being capable with very advanced technology such as time travel devices, in a way, clear headed and philosophical, often seeing the big picture far better than most of the regular cast. This juxtaposition made for some classic lines, like:
    "Zathras is used to being beast of burden to other people's needs. Very sad life... probably have very sad death. But at least there is symmetry."
    "But only, Zathras have no one to talk to. No one manages poor Zathras, you see. So Zathras talks to dirt. Sometimes, talks to walls, or talks to ceilings. But dirt is closer. Dirt is used to everyone walking on it. Just like Zathras. But we have come to like it. It is our role. It is our destiny in the universe. So you see, sometimes dirt has insects in it. And Zathras likes insects. Not so good for conversation, but much protein for diet."
    "Cannot run out of time. Is infinite time! You are finite, Zathras is finite, this... is wrong tool. No..., never use this."
    • This also how Drazi speak. Ivanova hang lampshade in episode "The Geometry of Shadows":
      "Just my luck. I get stuck with a race that speaks only in macros."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a variation of this. Cordelia talks this way to Sven, the exchange student she's hosting in "Inca Mummy Girl". "Punch-y! Fruit drink-y!" But after she's out of earshot, Sven complains about it.
    • In "Bad Eggs", Buffy comes in exhausted after a night of making out with Angel... I mean patrolling for the notorious Gorch brothers.
      Giles: How did the, um... hunt go last night, Buffy?
      Buffy: No go.
      Giles: Uh, 'no', 'no' you didn't go, or, or, or you were unsuccessful?
      Buffy: No Gorches.
      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.
  • Advertisement:
  • In Day Break, Hopper's neighbor/housekeeper Mr. Zeitoun demonstrates this trope perfectly when identifying Buchalter and Fencik as the plumbers at LAPD.
    Mr. Zeitoun: They're the ones who put Mr. Jarvik in tub. They did not fix leak.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "An Unearthly Child", the cavemen talk like this, which is particularly odd, since what we're hearing is actually the TARDIS translation.
    • The Ogrons, in "Day of the Daleks" and "Frontier in Space".
    • Tommy from "Planet of the Spiders" has an unspecified learning disability and is initially only able to talk in simple sentences. However, when the Metebelis Crystal increases his IQ, he begins to speak much more fluently.
    • Condo from the Fourth Doctor story "The Brain of Morbius" is another example.
    • As is Control from the Seventh Doctor story "Ghost Light". At least until towards the end, when she and Josiah Smith have their minds switched.
    • Advertisement:
    • "It Takes You Away": Ribbons, the mysterious being the Doctor, Graham and Yaz encounter in the antizone, talks mostly like this. He does have some more eloquent moments, though.
  • On Eli Stone, Eli's acupuncturist/guru Frank talks this way when he's in his "Dr. Chen" persona, which he adopts when dealing with customers who don't want to take their mystical wisdom from a guy with an American accent.
  • Fawlty Towers: "He's from Barcelona."
    • Qué?
      • "You're telling me the manager's a Mr C K Watt, aged 40?"
  • Game of Thrones: Grey Worm. Missandei is teaching him the Common Tongue, though he has a ways to go.
  • Heroes: Nerdy, childish Hiro speaks broken English with a Japanese accent. Badass, sword-wielding Future Hiro speaks perfect English with an American accent.
  • Subverted in an episode of Jack-of-All-Trades when Lewis and Clark, lost in the South Pacific, need help getting back to the Oregon Territory. Jack Styles hooks them up with an Indian guide, Sacagawea (yes, in the South Pacific), who orders them around in stereotypical Hollywood Indian. Once L&C are out of earshot, she tells Jack that dropping her articles and using other ungrammatical language increases her authority through intimidation.
  • Advertisement:
  • Comically subverted in Jeeves and Wooster. Wooster blackens his face and poses as an African tribal chief using Hulk Speak. But suddenly the real African chief shows up (wearing the same costume!) and, as he is actually college educated in England, starts speaking in a perfectly normal, and somewhat high-class, English.
  • The first two movies of Lexx include Giggerota the Wicked, who has a very unusual manner of speaking, which sometimes follows this trope. In her case, however, it is unclear if she doesn't really know how to speak properly or if she's just affecting this as part of her outlandishly savage and feral persona.
  • The Lone Ranger: Why you no mention Tonto, Kemo Sabe?
    • Kind of ironic when you consider Tonto's character was created for the radio show, so the Lone Ranger would have someone to discuss his plans with.
      • This speech pattern would be imitated by Gene Rayburn for Tonto Match Game questions.
        Tonto says, "Me very upset. Woke up early in morning, caught Lone Ranger ________ing Silver."
    • Don't forget his two friends, Tarzan and Frankenstein. And their hit soap opera, As World Turn.
    • Word of God is that English is something like a fifth language to Tonto and he doesn't get the grammar.
  • Parodied in the "Indian in the Theatre" sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus. "Me heap big fan Cecily Courtenage!"
  • Phil of the Future's Curtis, being a caveman, speaks in the primitive tone. Oddly, the Diffys, being from the future, do not speak high English; they just throw enough phlebotinum words in to appear from the future.
  • Power Rangers Dino Charge features a Fish out of Temporal Water caveman named Koda as the Blue Ranger. It's not meant to portray him as stupid (an early episode even emphasizes that he's as smart and resourceful as the rest of the Rangers), he's just still adjusting to English as a second language.
  • Sesame Street: Cookie Monster talks like this, usually saying "me" instead of "I", "no can" instead of "can't", "no" instead of "don't" and ommitting words like "a", "an", "is", and "the" (although he sometimes says 'the').
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation has the Pakleds, who speak in extremely basic sentences (though the grammar is correct). "We look for things. Things to make us go." (Their ship's navigation system has broken down. But not really — it's a trap for Geordi.) Although the Pakleds' ship is probably stolen, it's questionable whether they're as stupid as they sound — ever try to fly an airplane? Or to kidnap a military officer?
  • An early Star Trek: Enterprise episode features a lost colony of humans whose language has "devolved" into a primitive form after 70 years of non-contact with Earth. Everyone except for the very youngest children had died off all at once several generations back; so everyone living there now learned to speak from people who had barely learned to speak themselves, having no adults to teach them better.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • There's the the epically cheesy "Brain and Brain, what is brain!" brought to us by the... questionable episode fittingly titled "Spock's Brain".
    • Or "The Omega Glory" where warfare reduced two nations to "tribes" speaking a mangled, devolved English.
    • Who could forget "Devil in the Dark", featuring the Horta, which at one point carves the words "NO KILL I" in the cavern floor using its searing-hot flesh? Although that's more of a cast of a Starfish Alien trying to write in a language it just learned.
  • Star Trek: Overly literal translations of Klingon can come across this way, as the language lacks several things considered important to English grammar (like verb tenses). And the verb "to be". Also, the language structure is backward from English.
    Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam. "die-someone-for be.good day-this" = "It is a good day to die."
  • Eleven from Stranger Things grew up as a test subject in a research laboratory, and thus never learned proper English. The start of season one sees her speak only in loose words, followed by short sentences as her vocabulary expands in season 2. Her grip on grammar remains loose, however.
    Eleven: School. Where is school?


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: