Speaking Simlish

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Raltríolío haprúné raltríolío!!"

Your empire's mission controller, Spore

*giggle* "Kasusu!"

—Opening video, The Sims/My Sims games

The language of NPCs and other AI constructs in simulation games and some RPGs, made up of nonsense sounds strung together like actual words. It's not a cypher, normal speech spoken backwards or anything like that, it is quite simply gibberish or "Simlish" as The Sims manual says.

This became especially popular in cartridge and floppy-based releases once fully voiced CD-ROM releases began showing up, as something of a compromise between the expression provided by voice acting and the enormous amount of storage required for it (not to mention that it can save quite a bit on both the budget and the audience's immersion.)

This is probably meant to suggest the NPCs are speaking in any and all languages at once, and save recording multiple voice tracks. The net effect of this isn't one of confusion but charm, as the tone comes to convey more than the words and they avoid the tedium or repeating the same lines over and over. Some games even have different voice sets for the Simlish, serving as audible Speech Bubbles (or tags to actual Speech Bubbles) to distinguish speakers.

Occasionally the developers will take the time to implement distinct English-sounding gibberish, Spanish-sounding gibberish, and so forth.

Compare Voice Grunting, which is somewhat similar, but not nearly as elaborate.

Examples of Speaking Simlish include:

Video Game Examples


  • The Banjo-Kazooie games. Some call this trope "Banjo-speak." The first game even has questions in its Pop Quiz asking the player what character makes which sound. However, the narrator for Nuts & Bolts does, briefly, talk in English.
  • The earliest versions of Rayman 2: The Great Escape included "Raymanian" as the default speech setting, and other versions, even with full multilanguage voiceovers, still let players switch back to the original voices. For all the simlish, the game does contain one actual word: Rayman yells "STOP!" in frustration at the bickering Teensies from the end of the first level. He also tends to say "Yeah!" and "Yahoo!" quite a bit when gaining new powers and the like.
  • Kingsley's Adventure has all the characters talking in nonsense babble.
  • The original Star Fox did this by chopping up the "wing damage" sample. Later, although Star Fox 64 ditched this, the European version Lylat Wars offered the original "language" as an option in addition to English.
    • In Star Fox Command, you can actually record your own voice for the game to distort into the gibberish that is spoken.
  • The Game Cube game Chibi-Robo!!
  • Super Mario Sunshine, at least outside of cutscenes. Those had full voice acting.
  • Done in Okami. Though of course it's based around Japanese.
  • The Cultists and Fanatics in Blood speak a made-up language based on Latin and Sanskrit. It even has its own dictionary. Complete with formal and colloquial distinction.
  • The Legend of Zelda games have used Voice Grunting in console releases since Ocarina of Time (except for a certain Fairy Companion), until Twilight Princess rolled around. That game introduced Midna, the first character in Zelda history to actually be fully voice acted... by speaking Simlish. All other characters still use the old Voice Grunting style. No CDI games are part of Zelda history, so don't bring them up.
    • Unlike other examples, the lines she "speaks" are chosen at random from a pool so no specific text box goes with any specific line of simlish.
    • It's worth noting, however, that Shad, in the same game, has a very brief instance of Speaking Simlish, during which he chants at a statue in the ancient Sky Language of the Oocca.
    • Additionally, Wind Waker featured a few short lines in English from the Shop Guru.
      • Link gets a couple of English line when controlling one of the partner NPCs during the two Temples. The rest of his sound bytes are either Simlish or grunts.
    • Fi in Skyward Sword also speaks Japanese-sounding Simlish. AutoTuned Simlish, to be precise. Zelda also sings the game's theme tune in Simlish. Zelda's singing is actually fully voice acted, it's just that her actress is singing gibberish in imitation of Simlish.
  • Klonoa for the PlayStation and its PS2 sequel. Amazingly, the voice acting is quite good for utter gibberish, and each role is played by a different actor.
    • Not only that, but there definitely seems to be a structure to the different languages that everyone uses. For example, Klonoa always pronounces his name "Klo'øa" (for those who can't recognize ø, imagine a vowel halfway between O and U with a hint of E) and a lot of his sentences are based off of Japanese, while Popka's speech appears to be various growls and barks.
    • The Wiimake of the first game even allows you to choose between coherent Japanese or English voice acting or Simlish voices. This might be due to Klonoa Heroes and the character's appearance in Namco x Capcom averting this trope in a break of tradition.
  • Q* Bert was an interesting example: although the arcade game made use of a speech synthesizer chip that was capable of pronouncing English words, the synthesized speech that was used in the game was pure Simlish. According to this anecdote by one of the developers, they initially tried to make the synthesizer produce actual words, but the result was so unintelligible (e.g., "bonus" came out sounding more like "bogus") that they finally just resorted to alien-sounding gibberish.
  • The singing Yoshis in Yoshi's Story for the Nintendo 64 sing in an indecipherable baby-talk-ish manner.
  • de Blob for Wii does this; you can occasionally make out important words like character and place names, but everything else is just nonsense that vaguely sounds like the on-screen subtitles.
  • This shows up in a few Sega games, such as Jet Set Radio Future and Sonic Unleashed, where most of the characters communicate in moans, laughter, and one-word sentences when not participating in cutscenes.
  • Beyond Good and Evil - Most of the lyrics to the vocal songs are Simlish-esque nonsense. According to the composer, he drew inspiration from languages such as English, Hungarian, and French for his "Simlish." Exceptions are the song "Spanish Bar/Fun and Mini-Games" is in actual Spanish, and "Akuda Bar Propaganda" uses Bulgarian ([1]).
  • The characters in Mushroom Men use this kind of speech. While different character types have distinct voices, they are somewhat affected by what they're saying: A character saying "Welcome!" and a character with the same voice saying "Thank you!" will sound different.
  • Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure, with amusingly over-the-top British mannerisms.
  • Super Monkey Ball 2 has this in the (often puzzling and always insane) Story Mode. The monkeys speak in variations of "Uki" (which I guess is Japanese monkey onomotapoetia), and the bad guy Dr. Bad-Boon speaks in a backward masked voice, except oddly enough when saying his own name or the names of the monkeys.
  • The Mondo games (Mondo Medicals and Mondo Agency) feature support characters who talk in gibberish, with captions that are only slightly closer to real English.
  • Battlefield Heroes has the Royal and National soldier characters speaking in a few mangled words ("Hullo ! / Haloo !") and various grunts, all with a National Stereotypes Funetik Aksent
  • The Croc series on the original Playstation is another nostalgic example. The first game had little to no dialogue, but still used grunts and random gibberish when applicable. The sequel went full on Banjo-style and had a proper script complete with simlish readings for most characters, apart from Swap Meet Pete who just rambles the same five or so syllables drunkenly.
  • Any and all LEGO Adaptation Games. This is the standard whenever LEGO folks talk though.
    • However, if this is the case, how can they manage to sing?
  • Done entirely for laughs in Magicka. Every line is recorded individually, but spoken in a combination of English, Swedish, and Gibberish. The result sounds something like the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show, with lines like "Beware the forest's guardian, Jormungandr!" becoming "Hoop-a-doop-a-derpity-derp-a-Yoor-moon-gon-derrrrrr!"
  • In Twinsen's Odyssey, the residents of the planet Zeelich have a Simlish language. It is even subtitled, although the subtitles sometimes don't match the spoken text. During the game you are forced into picking up a "translator" item that will turn their speech into English.
  • The vocals in "After The Drop" from Medal of Honor: Frontline appear to be in pseudo-Dutch Simlish, as opposed to "Arnhem", which has real Dutch lyrics.
  • The Mumble Badge from A Hat in Time does this to all dialogue when equipped.
  • Yooka-Laylee has this. What did you expect from a Successor to Banjo-Kazooie?


  • While in the show Pokémon use Pokémon-Speak, the games have each Pokemon have a cry that does not sound anything like their name.
  • Many older Japanese RPGs, as well as newer ones that eschew voice acting, use beeps of varying tones to convey the voices of characters while their dialog appeared in the text box. A little girl would get a high pitched tone while an older man would get a low pitched tone. This happened in pretty much every game that uses any sort of "text sound". Regular examples of this are too common to note, and the value of "older" gets stretched when talking about games for portable systems.
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga used vaguely Italian gibberish this with the titular brothers, though there were a few one-word exceptions, mostly when they call each other by name. In the first game, this is a running gag.
  • While Galactic Basic was fully voiced, all other languages in both Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 were done this way. While it was extremely expressive, it was also often quite a bit too long winded.
    • They sound impressively coherent and similar to the languages used in the Star Wars movies, but there's no actual meaning to the words being spoken. They also clearly didn't record a lot of it, as certain phrases are repeated often enough that, certainly by midway through either game, you could clearly tell that the same sounds are used for different words and phrases.
    • "Jata bata wanna needy bo." -every male twi'lek in existence
  • Subverted, kind of, in Jade Empire, where the Asian-sounding gibberish Tho Fan is actually a real constructed language. However, every line of Tho Fan in the game is actually some form of cow joke, with no bearing to what's actually being said in the subtitles.
  • Dark variant in Neverwinter Nights 2 Mask of the Betrayer, One of Many talks like this (every other character is voiced or silent, depending on the camera in conversation), it is apparently a "call of the dead" that any mortal creature can hear if they want.
  • While the Dudbear race in Legend of Mana probably has a bigger vocabulary than what is taught to you, you still manage to complete That One Sidequest with something like seven words.
  • MMORPG Wizard 101 uses this with any cards that talk - the leprechaun, the imp, etc.
  • Little King's Story combines words and fragments from multiple languages to create its own odd language of nonsense, with one or two words actually used in context in English. Not surprisingly, these words are "King" and..."Moo."
  • In World of Warcraft, languages that the listener doesn't understand are obfuscated into Simlish by semi-randomly replacing words with words taken from that language's (very limited) dictionary.
  • Golden Sun... Sort of. The text-clicking has different pitches depending on the character, so woman and children get higher-pithed "clicking".
    • Golden Sun actually takes it a little farther: if you listen closely, there's changes in timing and inflection to mimic speech patterns, though it's still only tweaked Gameboy beeps.
    • Ditto Mother 3.
  • Hamtaro Hamham Heartbreak and its sequel is a partial example: the Hamtaros converse in English, but they also have several cutsey-sounding keywords (and your quest is to find them all).


  • LEGO Racers 2 also had this, this also allowed them to put player's name in the dialogue without any problems.
    • It gets even funnier when you hold down the fast forward button, increasing the speed and pitch.

Simulation and Strategy

  • The Sims, of course, is the Trope Namer. It became so famous the Pussycat Dolls actually re-recorded one of their songs in Simlish!
    • And it wasn't just the Pussycat Dolls either, with artists such as Barenaked Ladies, Paramore, Lily Allen, Gaelic Storm, The Flaming Lips, Depeche Mode and Anthrax have recorded Simlish versions of one of their songs. The Ting Tings went one further and actually recorded one of their songs on their debut album entirely in Simlish.
      • For Urbz: Sims in the City, the Black Eyed Peas released the Simlish songs "Ga Ra Ta Da" ("Let's Get Retarded"/"Let's Get It Started") and "Friddy Dope" (I have no idea what song this is supposed to be).
    • Little bits of Simlish are taken from real languages, to make it sound universal. Will Wright has said that if you think you hear your Sim saying something that sounds like your native language, it probably is.
      • However, all the sounds found in Simlish (with the exception of perhaps an alveolar trill, the rolled R of Spanish) are also found in English. This is especially true of the Simlish vowel system, which has the five bajillion vowel sounds (complete with diphthongization!) of American English, a number which is rather uncommon.
      • there's also consonant palatalization (think French "l" vs English "l" ), although it's difficult to tell if it's phonemic.
    • An older than Sim example: the Cocteau Twins' songs were mostly Simlish/gibberish, with a few English or Gaelic words thrown in.
  • SimCopter featured a variety of Simlish that sounded like English being spoken with teeth clenched and through the nose. If you listen to the intonations carefully, you can hear what they're trying to say.

"Nng hmm?! HMM!" ("Oh yeah?! Yeah!")

  • Similarly, the races of Spore speak like this from Tribal Stage and beyond, the voice clips in Civilization Stage and Space Stage reflecting their ethos - a military faction in Civ stage will sound like Americans. An economic faction will sound like snooty women, and a religious nation will sound like monks or priests. This continues into the space stage, where there are several dialects of simlish depending on archetype.
    • There are solid Simlish dialects for other races Described here, but Your race speaks 3 randomly selected simlish accents for each colony
  • Later games in the series used real languages, but the original Age of Empires I used Simlish in the early ages, possibly because for some of the civilizations featured, we only have a vague idea what the language would actually have sounded like. Thus your generics would utter "phrases" such as "roggan", "wollolo", "ovuss", "yuri", "almouze", "aractus", "somus", wheregus" ...
  • Animal Crossing uses this, with the added bonus that it's created by using samples from FM synthesizers distorting the words in the text box. In the options, you can leave them speaking this "language" ("Animalese"), switch it to "Bebebese", which is the standard RPG blips, or just make it silent.
    • Each of the three games also has its own varient on this synthesizer. The Game Cube game uses a slower-paced synthesizer that's actually fairy comprehensible (your Gyroid assistant is almost understandable, as is mail-lady Pelly). The Wii game, City Folk/Let's Go to the City, uses a faster-paced one that scrambles the sounds more, so it sounds more Simlish-esque and is less understandable. But the DS game is pure gibberish.
    • Playing the game in Spanish makes Animalese fairly understandable.
  • Sid Meier's Pirates!: Hearing your crew sing sea-chanties in Pirate Simlish is pretty amusing.
      • There's also a slight variation between the accents of characters belonging to different nations. It's subtle, but you can tell when you're speaking to a Frenchman or a Spaniard just by listening to their Simlish.
  • The freeware games Mondo Medicals and Mondo Agency also do this. It's backward English.
  • Startopia, with one set of nonsense for each alien race. There's a recognizable "yes", "no" and "maybe", as well as a longer string that plays under any multi-word dialog.
  • Evil Genius, with the exception of P.A.T.R.I.O.T. agents, your henchmen, your Diabolical Mastermind, and his "MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!".
  • Sacrifice creates incantations when spells are cast by stringing random Latin and pseudo-Latin words together.
  • Averted in Sid Meier's Civilization IV, in which units speak in their native language. (This required 18 sets of unit sounds, rising to 34 with the expansions.)
    • Or rather, their native language, or its modern equivalent, or (in some cases), what the people of that country speak now. This led to the amusing case of the Egyptians (who are supposed to represent Ancient Egypt) speaking Modern Egyptian Arabic, which is only distantly related to actual Egyptian. (Coptic is its direct descendant; however, very few people speak fluent Coptic these days, and most of them are monks and priests who have Arabic as their first language.)
  • The NPCs in Civilization Revolution speak Simlish. The leaders' Simlish actually sounds a great like their actual language. Bismarck speaks German-sounding gibberish, Caesar speaks faux-Latin, and so on. Alexander the Great sounds (and looks) like a Southern California surfer dude. The advisors speak in more of a generic Simlish.
    • The Science Advisor goes "Hooray, hooray, hooray!" though.
  • The Creatures series of computer games use a variation of this, with each typed word converted into a spoken Nornish word. There's actually a sort of mini-language in it when it's typed... but most of what you hear is, in fact, gibberish.
  • All spoken dialogue in Pikmin 2 (though the President and Olimar and Louie's spaceship are the only ones that say anything other than their own names) is in Simlish. Olimar and Louie's names are still intelligible when said, though.
  • Republic : The Revolution, despite ostensibly being a politics game (in reality, an involved version of Rock/Scissors/Paper) has all characters speaking a form of Simlish that still manages to sound Slavic.
  • The Movies uses it for all film dialogue, but its is repetitive to the point of annoyance. In post-production, it was possible to either remove it, subtitle it, or overdub it yourself, and the game would make a half-attempt to lip-sync the characters for you.
  • Worms 4. During Campaign Mode, all worms would talk Simlish. Actually, it's just a set of "Me!"'s. During battles, however, the worms' voices were defined by their team's speechbank. On a side note, there IS a speechbank that has them speak the "Me!"'s.
  • Ghost Master, with the exception of the word "artifacts" (in certain locations, "artifacts and weapons") coming up from time to time.
    • Polish dub (sic!) used nonsense Polish phrases instead. Apart from "Artifacts and weapons" mentioned above, there are some hysterically funny ones, like "Attack the beaver?!", "I eat a sneaker", a very affectionate "Move, bull!", "Shut ya clapper!" or "This is farce!".
  • In Age of Mythology, the characters speak… something. Each civilization has their own "language" ; this troper isn't sure whether or not it is actually bits of the languages or just gibberish that sounds Greek/Egyptian/Norse.

Other Games

  • Guitar Hero III hardly has any dialogue, but what dialogue there is is in simlish.
    • Guitar Hero II, however, had audible calls for an encore, and the final level has the crowd explicitly calling for Freebird.
  • Everyone who is dead in Killer7 speaks in an Engrish language with a computerized tone of voice. At some points in the game, you can tell what gibberish is supposed to mean what (In The Name of Harman...).
    • This is because in Japan, ghosts speak straight-up Engrish. For the English version, the voices were run through distortion filters.
  • LocoRocos sing cheerful nonsense to the level's background music.
  • This goes back as far as a Trivial Pursuit game for Amstrad CPC, where a little character asked you the question in Simlish (and for those who found him annoying, he could be disabled).
  • All residents of Chulip (except for the Silent Protagonist) speak vaguely Japanese-sounding Simlish.
  • While the cutscenes are fully voiced, in normal gameplay, the characters in Insecticide sound like this.
  • The inhabitants of the World of Goo cutscenes speak in Simlish, with captions overhead.
  • The Ace Attorney characters use the standard RPG blips mentioned above. In the fully voiced ad for "Rise From the Ashes", Maya and Phoenix mutter under their breath using these blips about Edgeworth's pink GBA, to which he indignantly shouts at them to stop it.
  • The adorable walking eyeballs in the Rhythm Game / Widget Series Patapon speak in vague-sounding syllables and sing the names of the drums you acquire over the course of the game as you play them.
    • The Patapon themselves speak in Japanese (for instance, if you make a mistake, they'll mutter "Konoya ro!" which means "Idiot!"), but it's hard to get the gist of it.
  • The series of three PC adventure games called Gobliiins is an interesting example. In close-ups of the characters and some cutscenes, real English is used, but until one of the characters or cutscenes translates it for the gamers, all that's heard is Simlish, or whatever weird language the Goblins speak.
    • Each character seems to have a vocabulary limited to one or two words, which are epeated over and over again in different intervals, or simply a couple of fixed syllables whose order is constantly rearranged. Examples include "Oyma toyma! Oy-ma! Ma toy!" and "Tobor. Tob-tobor tobor."
  • LittleBigPlanet has this for a lot of the voices you can assign to "Magic Mouths", the things used to generate speech bubbles. An example being the mad scientist voice.
  • The shopkeeper in An Untitled Story speaks in a language that can best be transcribed as "bleh blehbleh blaab blab."
  • Overlord Badman in Holy Invasion of Privacy Badman (and its sequels) speaks in randomly stringed syllables that vary with his mood.
  • The Maestro in Wii Music speaks some kind of musical gibberish
    • Ditto with Wii Party's MC.

Non-Video Game Examples


  • In The Court Jester, when Danny Kaye has to show his skill with languages, he recites strings of gibberish that manage to sound exactly like French, Italian and German.
  • Charlie Chaplin's fake German in The Great Dictator.
  • In Modern Times, Chaplin's character forgets the lyrics to a song he's singing, so he simply makes up random gibberish to substitute. It's the only time that Chaplin's Tramp character speaks audibly, and Chaplin didn't want it to be limited to one language.

Live Action Television

  • The Swedish Chef, of The Muppet Show.
  • All dialog spoken by the off-screen adults in any Peanuts cartoon sounds like a trombone with a mute.
  • When the cast plays "Foreign Film Dub" on Whose Line Is It Anyway? Though sometimes this is averted.
  • In The League of Gentlemen, Papa Lazarou speaks to his "wife" in a foreign language. She later reveals that she has been kidnapped, and she has no idea what he is saying, and can only respond with gibberish. Papa Lazarou doesn't seem to notice.


Web Comics

  • In Fite!, most of the speech bubbles are filled with made-up symbols. If you pay attention, there's more than one language of "Simlish" (Lucco's is more angular, while Guz's is more squiggly), and you can recognize a few symbols (like the characters' names).

Western Animation

  • The Adorable Evil Minions in Despicable Me and its sequels speak mostly in their own gibberish -- but this is an aversion, because Minionese is actually made up of pieces of a dozen or more languages with a semiconsistent grammar and a consistent dictionary, making it possible after repeated watchings to start to understand them.
  • In Family Guy, Peter Griffin grows a mustache and subsequently believes he can speak Italian because of it. However, he only produces a series of "beepity boppities" strung together like a child's attempt at a made-up language.
    • The butcher, who can actually speak Italian has no problem understanding him and the two have a conversation.
  • In the Aladdin sequel Return of Jafar, Abis Mal ends up undergoing this trope when Jafar, in his Genie form attempts to demand to return him to Agrabah at once (namely due to being intimidated by Jafar's Genie form), thus forcing Jafar to assume his human form so Abis Mal could at least give a coherent response to his demand.

Real Life

  • In his autobiography, Nobel-winning physicist and all-around oddball Richard Feynman relates his adventures speaking nonsense that sounded like Italian, including reading imaginary poetry at his daughter's school. This is actually one of the less-weird amusements he devised.


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