Talking Pokémon

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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, since Generation IV, it is possible to collect foreign Pokédex entries, and there are NPCs who 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.

In the games

In Red, Blue, and Yellow 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 Generation II and their Generation IV remakes, a Murkrow owned by Team Rocket tells the player the password to the generator room in Mahogany Town.

In Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald and their Generation VI remakes, 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.

Generation IV introduced Chatot, a Pokémon mentioned as being able to speak the human language through the use of its Chatter move.

Darkrai is not able to speak directly, but it is presumed that the man inside the Harbor Inn is an illusion created by Darkrai, through which it is able to communicate with the player.

In Black 2 and White 2, if the player visits Lostlorn Forest, a Zoroark is disguised as a backpacker who talks to the player before dispelling its illusion and leaving. Also, in Pokéstar Studios, the final film of the Love and Battles Series has a talking Smeargle, and the Timegate Traveler Series features a talking Ledian.

In Sun and Moon, the most notable Pokémon that speaks is Rotom. However, Rotom is only able to speak when inside the Rotom Pokédex. Tapu Koko also speaks to the player through their Z-Ring before challenging them to a battle at the end of the game. A Mimikyu at the Aether House tells the player it will curse them when spoken to as well.

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's Pokédex entry, where it describes its ability of human speech comprehension. The Pokédex entries for Latias state that it is able to understand human speech, and it is also said that it can telepathically speak with humans.

In the Mystery Dungeon games and special anime episodes, all Pokémon can talk (minus Jynx). 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.

In Great Detective Pikachu ~Birth of a New Duo~, the player character, Tim Goodman, is partners with a talking detective Pikachu. However, only the player seems to be able to hear Pikachu's talking voice.

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 Larvitar 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.

Talking Pokémon

Although every Pokémon in the anime can understand human speech, very few can talk, although many Legendary and Mythical 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 only learned it through hard work.

Although Ash's Pikachu does not speak in the regular anime, he has talked once in Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You, when Ash seemed to die from taking the attack from various Pokémon late in the movie.

Pokémon Method of communication Featured episode
Meowth Meowth Human speech Featured in most episodes
Pikachu Ash's and Team Rocket's Pokémon Subtitles* Island of the Giant Pokémon
Meowth Tentacruel Telepathy Tentacool and Tentacruel
Gastly Gastly Human speech The Ghost of Maiden's Peak
Lapras Santa Claus's Lapras Telepathy Holiday Hi-Jynx
Mewtwo Mewtwo Telepathy Pokémon: The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back
Mewtwo Returns
Gastly
Haunter
Gastly
Haunter
Telepathy A Shipful of Shivers
Lugia Lugia Telepathy The Power of One
Slowking Slowking Human speech The Power of One
Entei Entei* Human speech* Spell of the Unown: Entei
Larvitar Larvitar Human speech (while in the Unown Dimension) Address Unown
Ralts Max's Ralts Telepathy Do I Hear a Ralts?
Deoxys Deoxys Telepathy Pokémon Ranger - Deoxys' Crisis! (Part 1) and (Part 2)
Jirachi Jirachi Telepathy Jirachi: Wish Maker
Lucario Lucario Telepathy Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
Manaphy Manaphy Able to say a few words such as "happy" and "I love you" Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea
Chatot Chatot Repeats human language Several episodes
Darkrai Darkrai Human speech The Rise of Darkrai
Shaymin Shaymin Telepathy Giratina and the Sky Warrior
Arceus Arceus Human speech Arceus and the Jewel of Life
Snover Snover Human speech Pikachu's Ice Adventure
Zorua Zorua Telepathy Zoroark: Master of Illusions
Yamask Yamask Spoke through Cilan while possessing him with its mask A Night in the Nacrene City Museum!
Zekrom
Reshiram
Zekrom
Reshiram
Telepathy White—Victini and Zekrom
Black—Victini and Reshiram
Kyurem
Keldeo
Kyurem
Swords of Justice
including Keldeo
Telepathy Kyurem VS. The Sword of Justice
Genesect
Mewtwo
Genesect Army
Mewtwo
Telepathy Genesect and the Legend Awakened
Zoroark Zoroark Spoke by changing its form into a Nurse Joy The Island of Illusions!
Beheeyem Beheeyem Spoke through hypnotized Meowth Capacia Island UFO!
Diancie
Carbink
Xerneas
Diancie
Carbink servants
Xerneas
Telepathy Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction
Meowth Mirror World counterpart of Meowth Human speech The Cave of Mirrors!
Hoopa Hoopa Telepathy, human speech Hoopa and the Clash of Ages
Volcanion Volcanion Telepathy Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel
Diggersby
Pangoro
Delphox
Froakie
Chesnaught
Diggersby
Pangoro
Delphox
Froakie
Chesnaught
Human speech during Pikachu and Meowth's dream created by Darkrai Dream a Little Dream from Me!
Zygarde Zygarde Cores Squishy and Z2 Telepathy Throughout Pokémon the Series: XYZ
Rotom Rotom Pokédex Human speech Throughout the Sun & Moon series
Pikachu Ash's Pikachu Human speech I Choose You!

In the 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.

In the Pokémon Adventures manga, when Bill is accidentally transformed into a mutated Rattata in ...But Fearow Itself!, he asks Red to aid him from the transformation. In the FireRed & LeafGreen chapter, Mewtwo reveals to Red that it gained the ability to talk via telepathy after leaving Blaine. In the Emerald chapter, it is revealed that Latios and Latias are also able to speak via telepathy. In the X & Y chapter, Xerneas is shown to be able to use telepathy to talk as well.

In the Pokémon Gotta Catch 'Em All manga, Shu can understand his Pokémon's language by using a special headset device called an Income.

In the Pokémon Pocket Monsters manga, all the Pokémon can talk except for Red's Pikachu.

In the Pokémon Zensho manga, Sabrina has a unique telepathic Lapras that can communicate with humans. She eventually gives Lapras to Satoshi.