Talking Pokémon are Pokémon who can speak a human language. The human language itself is not clearly depicted and all people in the Pokémon world seem to speak one common language, which is always referred to just as human language (however, in Generation IV games it is possible to collect foreign Pokédex entries, and there are NPCs in Generation IV and Generation V that speak foreign languages). While it appears that all Pokémon can understand human speech, very few can communicate with humans except via body language. There are exceptions to this, however, depending on the version of the Pokémon world being depicted.
Talking Pokémon in video games
In Red, Blue, and Yellow Versions and their Generation III remakes, Copycat's Doduo is able to speak a line of human language when approached. Also, Bill, when transformed into a Pokémon, can speak human language from his house on Cerulean Cape. In addition, the Marowak's ghost can talk.
In Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald Versions, Mr. Stone wants to be able to communicate with Pokémon, so he started a project for Devon Corporation intending to build a translation device for Pokémon; however, not much progress has been made. Dr. Kaminko developed a device prior to XD that was meant to accomplish this, but it failed and was scrapped. A major post-ending quest details the player's efforts to undo its effects when it is accidentally released by Chobin.
In Hey You, Pikachu!, the game centers around using a special device called a PokéHelper that translates certain human-language words into something wild Pikachu can understand. In this game's spiritual successor, Pokémon Channel, various Pokémon appear as hosts and stars of TV shows, with their speech subtitled into the local human language.
Certain Pokémon are also capable of using telepathy, such as the Regigigas in Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia.
It may not be known if all Pokémon, wild or not, are able to understand everyday human speech in the games, as said in Lapras' Pokédex entry, where it describes its ability of human speech comprehension. Latias also is said in its Pokédex entries that it is able to understand Human speech and is said it can also telepathically speak with Humans.
In the Mystery Dungeon games and special anime episodes, all Pokémon can talk. This includes the player, who was transformed into a Pokémon. However, since there are no human characters in the Mystery Dungeon games, it is entirely possible that these Pokémon are not, in fact, speaking human language, but rather their own Pokémon language, which the player can understand as a result of being a Pokémon himself/herself.
Talking Pokémon in the anime
Understanding of human language
As mentioned above, all Pokémon in the Pokémon anime, with no exceptions, can understand human speech. Moreover, judging, for instance, from Phanpy in Hatch Me If You Can, they are able to do this immediately after hatching, without having to learn.
The anime generally does not focus on language problems, so as a result there is some confusion about Pokémon language and the ability of Pokémon to understand humans. Although it is obvious that all Pokémon can understand each other, Meowth in the episode Go West Young Meowth once mentions Meowth language and Jessie in Who's Flying Now? mentions Chimecho language, so it is not clear whether there is a common Pokémon language or every species has its own.
As far as human language is concerned, Meowth in the same episode was shown learning pronunciation, not the language itself, what implies that all Pokémon have innate knowledge of human language, so they can understand human speech and only have to learn how to pronounce its sounds or be able to establish telepathic contacts to speak. Despite this, Misty in Whichever Way the Wind Blows once asked Meowth to translate her words to other Pokémon and May taught her Bulbasaur the meaning of the word town in Grass Hysteria. Therefore, this ability of Pokémon is not well-defined in anime canon.
Although every Pokémon in the anime can understand human speech, very few can talk, although many legendary Pokémon can. In most cases though, talking Pokémon speak through telepathy.
- Meowth is the most famous talking Pokémon, and the one that makes the most appearances. His clone in Mewtwo Strikes Back and Mewtwo Returns, however, cannot speak, the reason being Meowth wasn't born knowing how to speak human language: he learned how to speak human language.
- In Island of the Giant Pokémon, Ash's and Team Rocket's Pokémon can speak due to most of the episode focusing at them (although this is done through subtitles in the Japanese version and several of the dub versions). This prevents the difficulty of understanding Pokémon saying only the syllables of their names.
- A Tentacool in the episode Tentacool and Tentacruel speaks through Meowth via telepathy.
- A Gastly in The Ghost of Maiden's Peak has the ability to talk.
- A Lapras in Holiday Hi-Jynx has the ability to talk telepathically.
- Mewtwo can talk via telepathy.
- The Gastly and Haunter in the episode A Shipful of Shivers speak through Meowth via telepathy.
- The Lugia in The Power of One also speaks via telepathy.
- A Slowking in The Power of One can also talk without telepathy. Presumably this is because of its wisdom.
- Entei can talk in Spell of the Unown. However, this Pokémon is the embodiment of Molly's wishes, so therefore it is not currently known if Entei itself can speak.
- Ash's Larvitar in Address Unown was speaking when Ash and his friends entered its mind.
- Max's Ralts in Do I Hear a Ralts? talked to Max as it teleported away.
- Deoxys from Pokémon Ranger - Deoxys' Crisis! (Part 1) and (Part 2) spoke through Meowth telepathically.
- Jirachi can talk via telepathy in Jirachi: Wish Maker.
- Lucario can talk in Lucario and the Mystery of Mew via telepathy.
- Manaphy can talk without using telepathy in Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, although it can only say a few words (such as "happy" and "I love you") as it is still a baby.
- Chatot can repeat human words.
- Darkrai occasionally speaks in The Rise of Darkrai.
- Shaymin can speak telepathically in Giratina and the Sky Warrior.
- Arceus is able to speak human language in Arceus and the Jewel of Life.
- A Snover from the Ice Palace can mysteriously talk in Pikachu's Ice Adventure.
- Zorua can speak telepathically in Zoroark: Master of Illusions.
- A Yamask speaks through Cilan in A Night in the Nacrene City Museum! while possessing him with its mask.
- Zekrom and Reshiram are able to speak telepathically in White—Victini and Zekrom and Black—Victini and Reshiram.
- Kyurem is able to speak via telepathy in Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice.
- The Swords of Justice are each able to speak via telepathy in Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice.
Talking Pokémon in manga
In the Magical Pokémon Journey manga, Clefairy and Squirtle can speak human language, however most Poké-speak is translated for the reader's ease (indicated by a different font in the word bubbles). They are easily understood by humans just the same.