Pokémon-Speak

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When the Verbal Tic sufferer is pushed well past Smurfing all the way to its logical conclusion and practically becomes The Unintelligible, this is the result. A speech disorder suffered by some types of monsters.

The symptom is repeating its own name or a part thereof over and over. It's especially strange when one considers that dogs don't go around saying "Dog! Dog!" et cetera.[1] Sometimes it's part of an attack or an affirmative of master's commands. Often it's the only thing the monster ever says, which may require Repeating So the Audience Can Hear.

Can be a Justified Trope if the monsters in question made their sounds before people named them, and decided to name them that—which happens once in a while in real life. For example, the Chinese word for cat is Mao. In Egyptian, it's called Mau.

According to the style of writing PoKéMoN in the Pokémon games, Leet Speak and UnrEaDaBLe INTerNet wr1tINg are called "Pokémon Speech" in Poland.

Compare with Smurfing, Speaking Simlish, Planet of Steves, Speech-Impaired Animal, Verbal Tic Name, and A Dog Named "Dog".

Examples of Pokémon-Speak include:

Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Aflac duck.


Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • Shanghai from some of Morino Hon's Touhou Omoito doujinshi series does this well, not necessarily when she is autonomous.
  • Almost all Pokémon in the Pokémon anime, who can say only their names or parts thereof, hence the name. For example, Bulbasaur might be named Bulbasaur simply because the sound it makes is "Bulbasaur," or a variation thereof.[2][3] With a little careful listening to regular cast members (such as Pikachu) in the original Japanese, though, it's possible to make out patterns. Ash (Satoshi) is "Pikapi" while Togepi, during the seasons that Misty was with them, was "Pipipi." Likewise, Misty (Kasumi) herself is "Pikachupi" and after Team Rocket finishes their motto it says "Pi-Pikachu."
    • Here is a collection of what's been discerned with fair certainty.
    • Chikorita had one for Ash before she evolved into Bayleef ("Chikori~").
    • Lampooned (of course) in Pokethulhu, which basically says that this is either because the titular Eldritch Abomination Mons communicate with a Starfish Language, or because they're just not very bright.
    • In "Island of the Giant Pokémon," Ash's and Team Rocket's Pokémon were all separated from their trainers and spoke in Pokémon Speak. Subtitles were provided, but no real pattern was existent for Pokémon other than Pikachu.
    • Notably, the cuter or more humanoid a Pokémon was, generally the more it used Pokémon-Speak. Certain Pokémon (especially legendaries) could speak telepathically. Beastly and monstrous Pokémon simply roar, screech, trill or bellow. A few Pokémon are in-between; they make animal-like cries that sound vaguely like their names,[4] just like some real animals.
    • Results in a somewhat disturbing Accidental Innuendo for speakers of Icelandic, as Pikachu runs around shouting "Píka, píka!" which translates to "Cunt, cunt!" There was even a t-shirt with Pikachu and a speech bubble with "Píka, píka!" in it.
      • And, in brazilian portuguese, "Pica" is a slang for "dick". Yeah...
    • Played with in Shaymin's case; it speaks in regular Pokémon-Speak, but can communicate telepathically in Japanese/English/the viewer's language. One presumes that this is the case with Zorua and Zoroark too, though we've only seen Zorua use telepathy and Zoroark use Pokémon-Speak (provided by Romi Park, no less).
    • There's a strange incidence regarding Pidgeotto and Pidgeot in the series, as Pidgeotto seems to scream "PIDGEOOOOOOT" where Pidgeot screams "PIDGEOT-TOOOOOOOO". They're saying their Japanese names.
    • While played straight in the anime and most other adaptations, the original Pocket Monsters manga subverts this, with the exception of Red's Pikachu who plays it straight.
  • Zakennas in Futari wa Pretty Cure suffer from this, as do Uzainas, Kowainas and Hoshinas. An exception is the butler zakennas which speak human language, only saying "-zakenna" to end their sentences.
  • Chao also do this, at least in the Sonic X series.
  • An inversion: Chii in Chobits was named after the only word she could say at the time.
  • Chibi-Chibi from Sailor Moon was named the same way. It should be noted that, in the manga, she got THAT because of Ikuko. Ikuko didn't remember Chibi-Usa anymore, but found a teacup with her name on it which seemed to jog her memory. When she heard the doorbell ring, she ran to it thinking it was Chibi-Usa and muttered "Chibi... chibi..." in confusion when she saw the little red-haired girl instead. So she basically took the first word(s?) she heard and made it her name, since she was named by the time we saw her next. In the anime, however, she just says "chibi" for no particular reason.
  • Lucy in Elfen Lied was named Nyu when Kouta and Yuka found her at the start of the series for the same reason as the above two examples. Gradually she learns to speak properly, and after a 4 month time skip she is shown to be able to hold normal conversations.
  • Baby level Digimon, in most seasons. (Digimon Adventure 02 and Digimon Frontier had perfectly articulate Baby Digimon.) Various characters and season have had their share of Verbal Tics, however.
    • The first Frigimon encountered in the series had a fondness for yelling his own name, but could speak just fine besides (especially after getting un-Brainwashed.)
    • Meramon, when under the control of a Black Gear, shouted "Burning!" a lot, which in Japanese would have been "Mera," making it Pokespeak there. (In English, yelling "Burning! BURNING!" made him sound Ax Crazy... which he was at the time, driven mad by his own flame burning him and being a bit scary.)
  • Chu-chu, the monkey-mouse type creature in Revolutionary Girl Utena. In this case, though it's a matter of being named after the sound he makes, as "chu" is the traditional Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound made by a mouse or other small creature.
  • Several Zonders in GaoGaiGar can only say "ZONDAAAAA!!"
  • The dog Potato in AIR, which can only say "piko" over and over and occasionally "pikori" (not his name, but same idea).
  • In Full Metal Panic!? Fumoffu!, Sōsuke's Bonta-kun mascot-mecha can only produce the catchphrase "Fumoffu!". In the episode "The Hard-Sell Fetish", they catch a pervert with a mechanized horsehead mask in the park. The ensuing conversation goes like this:

Pervert: Pony? Pony pony pony pony. Pony... pony, pony, pony, pony.
Bonta-kun: Fumoffu, fumoffu.
Pervert: Pony!
Bonta-kun: Fumo!

    • This is all done only to be interrupted by Chidori with an Armor-Piercing Slap from her Paper Fan of Doom to "Stop acting like you can understand each other!" In later episodes, she becomes Bonta-kun's translator.
  • In S-Cry-ed after the Hammer is caught, and subsequently Mind Raped by the mainlanders all he ever says is "Hammer," "Ham," and he even once merely said "mer."
  • Boota in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has a vocabulary of four words most of the time: "Boota," "Boo," "Ta" and "Oink."
  • Gainax is at it again: Chuck the dog... zipper... thing from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt can only say "Chakku" (the Japanese pronunciation of "Chuck"). Fastener, his Evil Counterpart, just makes growling noises.
  • The two year old boy Ikura Namino in Sazae-san can only say three words.
  • Bistro Recipe/Fighting Foodons, known to many as that Widget Series where chefs turn food dishes into Mons, was rather odd about this. Some Foodons could only say their names, some could say their names and a series of stereotypical phrases (I.E. a british dumpling speaking only in "pip pips" and "tally-hos"), and some were able to speak a full lingual range.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Yusuke's spirit beast, Puu, is named after the only sound he can make before transforming into a giant blue eagle.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga Volumes 6-7, the Monster World characters Pau and Pokii say their own names.
  • Parodied in Toradora!, where Ryuji gets so excited whenever it sounds like Inko-chan, his parakeet, is going to say her name. Inko-chan always stutters, then blurts out a word that is much more difficult to pronounce than "Inko".
  • Kabaji in Prince of Tennis has never been heard saying anything other than "Usu" (Yeah)
  • Similar to Pokémon, Fighting Foodons also contains this trope. The Foodons only say their names.
  • In Hamtaro, the youngest hamster, Penelope, is known for only saying the word, "Ookyu", but later in the series, it became, "Ookwee".
  • Ichika's pet/living spaceship controller in Waiting in the Summer only communicates with various intonations of "Na." That's right: its whole language is one syllable.
  • Domo! is all Domo-Kun says.
  • Another reverse example in Ao no Exorcist - Shiemi's Familiar, a Green Man Sprout, can only make the sound 'Niiii!', so she names him 'Nii-chan'. (Which is, of course, also a common contraction of the japanese term for 'Big brother', making it a bit of an Ironic Nickname too, given his tiny size.)
  • Mone from Yumeria can only say her name and its component syllables despite being an otherwise normal-seeming early-teen girl who understands spoken Japanese just fine, thank you. (And it appears everyone but the main character understands her just fine, too.)

Comics[edit | hide]

  • In an amusing "Civil War" (Marvel Comics) parody, Wolverine speaks only in "Snikt" and "Bub." Almost everyone is able to understand him, anyway. Example here.
    • "Dammit, where's my Logan-to-English dictionary?"
  • WEN-DI-GO!
  • Rover, the heroic Sentinel in the X-Men storyline "Here Comes Tomorrow" only says the word "Destroy!" Tom Skylark understands him perfectly.
    • Rover also has a couple of appearances in Wolverine and the X-Men, including an entire episode revolving around his relationship with Marrow, who spends most of her time with him trying to teach him more words...with absolutely no success.
  • I am Groot! In the Marvel comic Guardians of the Galaxy, the tree-alien Groot is only capable of saying the phrase "I am Groot!" (and occasionally very simplistic sentences like "Groot am ow"). Apparently he's very smart and if you're capable of hearing the slight nuances, he can provide very detailed explanation. When saying "I am Groot!".
  • Grog in the comic strip BC can only say his name.
  • Kvack the duck in Hagar the Horrible only goes "Kvack!" (It's a Viking duck).
  • In the original French version of Asterix and the Great Crossing, Obelix calls the turkeys "glubglubs" (in English, he calls them "gobblers").

Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

  • From the Disney film The Three Caballeros -- The Aracuan.
  • A few of the robots in WALL-E, namely WALL-E himself, EVE, and M-O could only say a couple of words, one of which was their name.
  • Finding Nemo's seagulls.

Mine! Mine! Mine-Mine-Mine! Miiiiine! Mine! Mine? Mine!

  • About half the dialogue for Steve the monkey in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is just "Steve."
    • Correction. It's "STEEEEVE."
  • The rather vicious looking dog in Over the Hedge was only able to say "Play?" when chasing R.J. and his wagon of food.


Films -- Live Action[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Hodor, the gentle-if-limited giant from A Song of Ice and Fire says nothing but his own name. It's eventually revealed to be the other way around; his real name is Walder, but everyone started calling him "Hodor" because that's all he says.
  • The World According To Garp: After significant brain damage in World War Two, Technical Sargent Garp requires constant care at a hospital and can only say "Garp." As time goes on, this is shortened to "Arp" and eventually, "Arrrrr."
  • Asmodeusssss and Balisssss in the Redwall booksssss.
  • In The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Gollum got his name from the swallowing sound he makes in the back of his throat.
  • In the Myth Adventures series, Gleep the dragon is named after the one sound he makes, "Gleep!" Subverted in that it just sounds like "Gleep" to the untrained ears of the other characters, in fact he's quite erudite as is seen when an adventure is narrated from his POV.
    • A lot of the time, though, "Gleep!" just means "Gleep!" - it seems a dragon's vocal cords are the last thing to develop. And that dragons, like Trolls in the series, tend towards Obfuscating Stupidity when dealing with outsiders.
  • Canadian children's show The Polka Dot Door had a character called the "Polkaroo" who just said "Polkaroo!" in varying tones.
  • The Marcats in Christopher Anvil's short story "Experts in the Field" baffle the humans by behaving as if they are having a conversation, but all the humans can hear is each one repeating its own name.
  • Where's Wally? (or Where's Waldo? if you prefer) has Woof the dog.
  • Oy the billy-bumbler from The Dark Tower actually does have the ability to speak, or at least to parrot human words. He's still named for his most common exclamation, however.
  • In the children book Dinosaur with an Attitude the main character's pet Compsognathus can only say portions of its name right after hatching,[5] but it acquires fluency in its owner's language very soon. It reverts to Pokémon-Speak when it is annoyed, however (which is quite often, actually).
  • Eriond in The Belgariad. When he's first introduced, all he knows how to say is "Errand" in different tones of voice. The rest starts calling him Errand because they can't keep calling him "boy". Later on in The Mallorean he learns to speak properly.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Daikenjin Zuban of GoGo Sentai Boukenger
  • Annyong of Arrested Development is called this because he keeps saying "Annyong!" (which is Korean for hello) to everybody. His real name is Hel-Loh.
  • Boston Legal: DENNY CRANE!
    • And his not actually his son, DONNY CRANE!
  • Gadget the robot from the Doctor Who special "The Waters of Mars".
  • The British preschool series In the Night Garden... has every character (except for Igglepiggle and the Pontipines, as well as the non-speaking characters) doing this.
  • JUPITER!
  • Brazilian show TV Pirata had Barbosa, who could only repeat his name or the last word said to him.
  • Binyah Binyah Polliwog from Gullah Gullah Island.


New Media[edit | hide]

  • Many software development libraries will fall into this as an anti-pattern. For instance, take this line from the config file for the "awesome" window manager on Debian:

{ "Debian," debian.menu.Debian_menu.Debian }


Puppet Shows[edit | hide]

  • In Team America: World Police, Matt Damon never says anything other than his own name. This is allegedly because the creators thought the puppet they made looked too stupid to be able to say anything else.
  • Sesame Street: the alien Yip-Yips.

Yip yip yip yip yip yip yip yip uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.... nope nope nope nope nope nope book book book book....

  • Mahna Mahna and Hugga Wugga of The Muppet Show, each of them originating from a specific sketch where they would Troll various other Muppets while singing/scatting/rhythmically speaking the syllables of their names.


Theater[edit | hide]


Toys[edit | hide]

  • The international versions of the large electronic toys from the Transformers movieverse toyline are like this, in order to avoid language barriers. Instead of saying full phrases, the toys only say their names and non-language-specific terms (such as faction names).
  • Many Incredible Hulk toys say simply "HULK SMASH!"


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • A different version of Pokémon Speak happens in the Pokémon games where Pokémon talk in animal-like "cries." A few of these cries sound like the Pokémon's name, either fast, normal, (a part, or all of it) repeated, or shortened.
    • Zig-Zagging Trope in the Pokémon games. While Pokémon do notably not sound like this in the games, their dialogue text can both play this straight and avert it by either spelling out the sounds of their cries as their names, as garbled letters, or as random grunts/roars/squeaks/utterances (such as "Tralalalala" for Petilil).
    • This trope only applies to the TV series, because for all the games for Pokemon only Pokemon Yellow and very slightly Ranger 3 has Pokemon speak to a very small degree.
      • Their Japanese names, at least, sometimes and Pikachu has said "Pikachu" in some games. In Super Smash Bros., the Pokémon all say their names (except Lucario, who can pronounce English, presumably having something to do with Aura; Charizard, who merely roars and growls; and Mewtwo, who speaks in the Japanese version and doesn't say anything at all beyond grunts and other wordless vocalizations provided by the Japanese seiyuu in the English version).
    • In the Spanish translations of the games, all Pokémon have Pokémon-Speak. Whether this counts as Woolseyism or They Just Didn't Care is up to you.
    • Used for Voice Grunting in Poke Park Wii, but all of the Pokémon in the game can speak (possibly Translation Convention).
  • In the computer game Diablo 2, various fallen repeatedly call the names of some of their greatest heroes (boss critters). Especially said bosses themselves, Rakanishu, Bishibosh, and Colenzo. Notably when the PC approaches the Fallen to attack, they usually scream something like "Back off!"
  • In Neverhood, Bill the Robot says only two words that sound like "Me/Big Bill."
  • Yoshi stereotypically fits in this trope, despite 1) making other unintelligible noises and 2) there being several games where he is capable of full speech. Super Mario World, Tetris Attack, Super Mario 64, Paper Mario, Mario Party 3, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 are just some examples of this aversion.
    • A possible explanation for everything except Paper Mario: According to the end of Yoshi's Island DS, one green Yoshi was born as a Star Child. He may therefore be the only one who speaks normally, implying that he's the main one you find in Super Mario World and Galaxy 2 and the one who translates for you in Super Mario RPG.
  • Mone-chan in Yumeria only says "Mone" or parts thereof. (It is unknown whether or not "Mone" is her real name; it was (unsurprisingly) the only thing she said when asked what her name was.)
  • Fallout 3 has the "Gary" clones from Vault 108: "GARRRRRY!" "Gary?" "Evening, Gary." "Haha! GARRRRY!"
  • Domingo in the GBA remake of Shining Force.
  • Not quite but almost, the Cobra Squad of Metal Gear Solid 3 love calling out their own names. Especially The Fear... THE FEAR!
  • In Soul Calibur III, which marked Amy Sorel's debut as a playable character, all of her speech (in one of Raphael's endings, and when she is selected by the player) simply consists of her saying her own name. She was given proper speech in the sequel.
  • In the Katamari series, most of the cousins' dialogue when rolled up by the player simply consists of them repeating their own names over and over again.
  • A Touhou meme attributes a mantra of this nature to Parsee Mizuhashi in fanart and comics. "Paru paru paru..."
  • Dragon Quest VIII has a scene after you beat a moleman boss of his subordinates speaking in nothing but "dig" and "dug." You can understand them just fine in the dialog box text, despite this.
  • Bugaboo! Bug! Bug! Boo! Jimenez!
  • In Skies of Arcadia, Vyse's loyal dog... um, "huskra" is named Pow.[7]
  • In the English version of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, the Minish merely speak bits of the word "Picori". After acquiring the Jabber Nut, they appear to speak normally.
  • The Elite Mooks in Gears of War sometimes speak only their own name "BOOM" "GRIND" and the like.
  • In League of Legends, when Skarner stands idle in a bush, he does this. "Skar, Skar, Skarner!"


Web Animation[edit | hide]


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The aliens in Red vs. Blue speak in a language made up entirely of the words "honk" and "blarg."
  • Bloge Salming's portrayal of hockey player Phil Kessel is a moron who can speaking nothing but his name. Later episodes have expanded Kessel's vocabulary but for the most part retain the rest of the personality.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd: "Shit Pickle"
  • The Impossible Man has Kaijumon, a parody of Pokémon, that says their names. Then there's Ely the Chupacabra who says "Chupa. Chupa."
  • Blue, usually known as "Amy" or "Sailor Mercury", in the SMA Remix episode.
  • This trope is actually averted in Box of Danger's Pokémon the Abridged Series, though Ash takes a while to realize that.
  • On Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series, Mokuba goes through "Japanese Puberty." Which is? Thinking you're a Pokémon and speaking like one too. It was a Crowning Moment of Funny.
    • There is also Zombie Boy who only ever says the word Brains over and over (don't worry, he comes with subtitles). He starts speaking normally in episode 37.
  • Sailor Moon Abridged uses it in the remix episode with Remix!Amy only being able to say her name, Blue.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

Coco: (picks up a telephone)
Wilt: A telephone? Who ya gonna call?
Coco: Co-coco!
Wilt: Nah, they went out of business years ago.

    • They were able to get get crap past the radar with Coco's lines now and then too. In one episode, everyone was wondering what they were going to do about keeping Cheese under control.

Coco: (while talking in a clearly sinister tone of voice) Co-co Cocooo.. >_>
Mac: "Um, Coco.. I'm pretty sure if we did that, we'd go to jail."

    • Even her diary reads "Coco coco coco cococococo." Bonus Pokémon Write?
  • The Tick (animation) included the space alien races of the "Hey"s and the "What"s, each of whom had a language consisting of that said word. However, one of the What's was able to learn Earth languages perfectly, and the Heys had enough linguistic complexity to manage the four term fallacy.
  • In Mucha Lucha! the wrestler Snowpea usually only repeats his (or her) name. Except at the end of one episode, where he said the name of his MMORPG Author Avatar, "Rutabega."
  • The Tookie bird in George of the Jungle, both in the cartoon and the movie (where he becomes a toucan to further justify the name, yet still says "Tookie tookie!").
  • The title characters in the short-lived Cartoon Network series Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto! could only say their own name each, with different inflections to indicate their emotions.
  • This trope is parodied in a Robot Chicken skit where Pikachu and Squirtle are talking to each other.

Pikachu: Pika! Pika Pika Pikachu! Pika Pikachu!
Squirtle: Squirtle! Squirtle Squirt! Squirtle! Squir-- WHAT THE FUCK AM I SAYING!? No, I mean it! This shit makes no sense at all!
Pikachu: (whispering) Just say the line, Earl, or you'll get the gas!
Squirtle: For the love of Christ, kids, go read a book or something!

  • Parodied in Re Boot, since no Pokémon parody would be complete without this. When the hero's reboot in the Pokémon-style game Frisket becomes a Pikachu expy, instead of barking he would say "frisket."
  • Bjornbot, Bjorn Bjornson's robot double from Robotboy can only say "Bjorn!!" (usually with as much pathos as TIMMMEH) - And "Ja!!". Since his only purpose is to be the world's greatest fighting robot, it is possible that Bjornson just didn't bother to program him to say anything else.
  • In-universe example: Guano from Kappa Mikey engages in Pokémon-Speak on Lily-mu.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: Something similar happened to Dexter in the episode, "The Big Cheese", when he attempted to use science to cheat on a French test by uploading his vocabulary phrases straight into his brain. The audiobook he was using became stuck on "Omelette du Fromage", and when he awoke in the morning he could only say "Omelette du Fromage" for the remainder of the episode. At first those around him were swayed by his apparent class and sophistication, landing him popularity, money, and sponsorship deals, but it also rendered him unable to speak the password to access his lab, which caused it to blow up.
  • Moe and Spewter in Mutant League. Of course, they are so dumb that all Moe can say is "Eat dirt," and all Spewter can say is "Dead meat."
  • Shnitzel from Chowder, can only say "Radda." When he drew a card in a board game and read it, the card contained the text; "Radda radda radda."
  • The coffee bean from Regular Show only said "coffee", and he had Mordecai and Rigby sign a contract written in Pokémon-Speak. Possibly lampshaded by the fact that his translator is Japanese.
  • Snarf in ThunderCats (2011) can only say his name and make animal noises, as a Casting Gag (his voice actress plays Togepi and Pichu in Pokémon), and a Mythology Gag to the original's Verbal Tic.
  • Secret from Young Justice speaks this way. Apparently, it's due to the circumstances surrounding her death: the last thing she saw before being murdered was the word "secret" on a neon sign.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  1. Amusingly, the English word "dog" comes from the Old English "dodga," an onomatopoeia of the sound of a dog's deep bark. That said, dogs don't go around saying "Canis! Canis!"
  2. Which leads to Fridge Logic: So these creatures consistently make sounds that just happen to be puns on their nature in a human language, even though many of them have been around longer than humanity? What are the odds?
  3. Fridge Brilliance: Humans based their understanding of nature on the Pokémon around them (e.g. naming bulbs after Bulbasaur)
  4. Japanese or non-Japanese; in some cases, the Japanese cry is retained in dubbed versions
  5. "Omps" is an affirmation, "Comps!" is surprise, "O?" is a question, and "Gnathus!" is that it is annoyed
  6. Pidgey's Japanese name is "Poppo", an onomatopoeia for a pigeon cooing
  7. Huskra vocalizations are rendered a little Smeerpy as well - "Pow!" for "Bark!", "Pururururu" for howling, etc.