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Pokémon language is the medium by which Pokémon communicate.
- Main article: Cry
In the games
For a vast majority of Pokémon in the games, the only sound they are capable of making is their cry.
When a Pokémon is brought into battle, regardless of if it is found in the wild or summoned by a trainer, an audio cry can be heard. Pokémon also use their cry when using certain sound moves, such as [[growl]. Another way to hear the cry of a Pokémon is by looking that Pokémon up in the Pokédex.
Every Pokémon has their own cry, with the exception of Charizard and Rhyhorn who have identical cries. Unlike in the anime, Pokémon generally do not use their cry as a means of communication.
In the Anime
Typically, Pokémon will have a cry that is identical to their name. For example, a Charmander will only be able to say the actual word "Charmander."
Despite speaking in seemingly different languages, Pokémon seem to be able to communicate with each other without issue. in Island of the Giant Pokémon, there are subtitles of what the Pokémon are saying, and evidently the Pokémon seemed to perfectly understand each other. Communication between Pokémon has become especially crucial in double battles, triple battles, and tag battles. An example of this can be seen between Ash's Pikachu and Dawn's Piplup in Arceus and the Jewel of Life. Communication between those two Pokémon was vital in saving their owners.
While it was originally assumed that all cries by Pokémon were the same dedicated fans appear to have found patterns, such as Ash's Pikachu saying 'Piiika-Chuuuuuuuu' when using Thunderbolt or 'Pika-Pikachu' when referring to itself. Dawn's Piplup also shows patterns, such as 'Piplup-lup-lup' when using BubbleBeam, or 'Pipluurrrp' when using Whirlpool, with the 'lup' becoming distinctly watery.
- Main article: Talking Pokémon
In the games
There are a few Pokémon that are able to speak the human language, such as Copycat's Doduo in FireRed and LeafGreen Versions and a Murkrow in Generation II games and their Generation IV remakes. However, there has not been a Pokémon to this point which has had a fluent conversation with a human- there speech has been limited to only one or two sentences.
It is unknown to what extent Pokémon understand the human language. Lapras's Pokédex entry cites its ability to comprehend the human language, possibly implying that Pokémon do not fully understand the language. While it is commonly assumed that the player tells the Pokémon which move to use, there is no actual way to confirm this, as each time the player's Pokémon attacks, it simply says, "(The Pokémon) used (the attack)," thus never directly stating that the player has given the command. However, there have been a few specific examples of other trainers commanding their Pokémon, such as Lance telling his Dragonite to use Hyper Beam on a Team Rocket Grunt in the Generation II games and their remakes.
In the anime
Unlike the games, there are a few Pokémon that can have fluent conversations with humans. The most well-known talking Pokémon is Team Rocket's Meowth, who relentlessly learned English to impress his love, Meowzie. This has made him a common interpreter between humans and Pokémon.
Other major Pokémon that could have a fluent conversation with humans include the Slowking in The Power of One, Arceus in Arceus and the Jewel of Life, a Snover in Pikachu's Ice Adventure., and a Gastly in The Ghost of Maiden's Peak
When Pokémon are out of their Pokéballs, they have a distinct body language that sometimes can be their primary way of communicating with humans.
In the games
In Pokémon Yellow Version, the player's starting Pikachu will be out of the Pokéball and follow the player around, much like Ash's Pikachu does in the anime. If the player turns around and talks to the Pikachu, an image will pop up showing Pikachu's expression. Its expression will change dependent on its mood. For example, when the player starts the game, Pikachu will be unhappy to be stuck with the trainer, but as its happiness increases, its emotions will be more positive.
In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, the trainer's first Pokémon will follow the trainer around for a majority of the game. If the trainer turns around to talk to the Pokémon, unlike in Yellow Version, an image will not show up. Rather, the text at the bottom of the screen will give a description of what the Pokémon is doing.
In the anime
Ash's Pikachu is the most notable for using dramatic body language to communicate with Ash. Several Pokémon appear to use motions and body language, essentially playing a game of charades with their trainers. This has created for many humorous moments throughout the Pokémon anime.
Other means of communication
Many Pokémon, mainly Psychic-type Pokémon, interact with humans via telepathy. For instance, in Do I Hear a Ralts?, a Ralts telepathically called Max to help her; however, she may have been crying out for anyone, but Max was the only one that heard it. Most talking Pokémon speak telepathically, such as the Zorua in Zoroark: Master of Illusions. Many legendary Pokémon are able to do this as well.
It seems that an experienced or empathic Trainer is able to communicate quite fluently with their Pokémon, if only intuitively. In Saving the World From Ruins!, Ash understood that Pikachu wanted to use Thunderbolt to help Riley's Lucario.
Some Pokémon have been able to speak telepathically through a person or another Pokémon. It is wondered why some Pokémon do this, instead of just speaking directly. In A Shipful of Shivers, a Gastly and Haunter spoke through Meowth as well as in Pokémon Ranger - Deoxys' Crisis! Part 1 and 2, when a Deoxys spoke though him as well.
The Latias in Pokémon Heroes was able to shape-shift into Bianca, a girl that she had befriended. She was able to communicate as Bianca, or at least seems to be human.
In Just Waiting On a Friend, a Ninetales created an illusion called Lokoko that it spoke through.