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 the core series
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 at 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 the Team Rocket HQ.
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.
Generation IV introduced Chatot, a Pokémon mentioned as being able to speak the human language through the use of its Chatter move.
In Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, while Darkrai is not able to speak directly, 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 during the Member Card event.
In Black 2 and White 2, if the player visits Lostlorn Forest, a Zoroark is disguised as a Backpacker who talks to the player and gives them TM95 (Snarl) 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 and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the most notable Pokémon that speaks is Rotom. However, Rotom is only able to speak when inside the Rotom Pokédex. In Sun and Moon only, 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. An Oranguru in the Konikoni City apparel shop also tells the player to "Gu do it!"
In Sword and Shield, a Honedge in the Rose of the Rondelands hotel will bid the player welcome if approached.
In Sword and Shield's The Crown Tundra Expansion Pass, Calyrex is revealed to have the ability to speak through humans. It frequently takes over Peony in order to communicate with the player.
Latias's Pokédex entries state that it can telepathically speak with humans.
The Pokédex entries for Lapras, Latias, Latios, and Magearna mention their ability to understand human speech, leaving it unclear as to whether other Pokémon can understand it as well.
In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Arceus speaks the human language. The lake guardians also telepathically speak to the player during the game's climax. Dialga and Palkia are also capable of telepathy, although they only speak to Adaman and Irida respectively.
In the side series
Prior to the events of Pokémon XD, Dr. Kaminko developed a device that was meant to translate a Pokémon's speech, but it failed and was scrapped. A major post-game quest details the player's efforts to undo its effects when it is accidentally released by Chobin and causes Pokémon around Orre to lose their voice.
In spin-off games
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.
In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, certain Pokémon are capable of using telepathy, such as Regigigas.
In the Mystery Dungeon games, 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 now understand as a result of becoming a Pokémon themselves.
In the PokéPark games, all Pokémon can talk. However, like in the Mystery Dungeon games, there are no human characters in the game, suggesting that the Pokémon are simply speaking Pokémon language in between each other, which the player character is able to understand due to being a Pokémon as well. This is further supported by all the Pokémon having their voices from the anime and their speech only appearing in text boxes.
In Detective Pikachu, 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 addition, the game also features a Mewtwo, which is able to talk via telepathy.
In Pokémon Masters EX, Leon's Ice Rider Calyrex briefly takes over Sawyer's body during the Winter Wishes event to talk to Leon through him.
In the anime
Understanding of human language
Although The Poké Spokesman states that Pokémon cannot directly understand human speech, this is contradicted by many other episodes before and since in the anime. 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 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, which 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.
While 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 I Choose You!, when Ash seemed to die from taking the attack from various Pokémon late in the movie.
In the manga
Magical Pokémon Journey
Clefairy and Squirtle can speak human language, although most Pokémon language 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.
Red, Green & Blue chapter
In ...But Fearow Itself!, when Bill was accidentally fused with a Rattata, he was still able to talk and ask Red to aid him in reversing the transformation.
In The Might of... Metapod?!, Yellow was able to use her powers to read the mind of Lance's Dragonite and hear its thoughts.
FireRed & LeafGreen chapter
In Red, Green, Blue and Mewtwo Too, Mewtwo revealed to Red that it had gained the ability to talk via telepathy after leaving Blaine in Heckled by Hitmontop, although it usually only lets its voice be heard by people whom it trusts.
In Distant Relation Deoxys, Organism No. 2 was revealed to be able to use its Psychic powers to make its words appear on electronic screens, such as those on Pokédexes.
In Gotcha Where I Wantcha, Glalie, it was revealed that Latios and Latias are also able to speak via telepathy.
Black & White chapter
In The Shadow Triad, the Swords of Justice and Keldeo were revealed to be able to speak telepathically, although it was later revealed that humans can only hear this speech under certain conditions, such as by being at the Abyssal Ruins.
Black 2 & White 2 chapter
In Dream World, Black's Reshiram was able to speak telepathically while inside the Pokémon Dream World.
X & Y chapter
In PS577, Xerneas was revealed to be able to use telepathy to communicate with humans as well.
Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon chapter
In The Final Match and a Surprising Finale!, the Rotom that Moon had brought with her to Alola was revealed to have entered her new Pokédex and become the Rotom Pokédex. Through the Pokédex, Rotom had gained the ability to speak human language.
Pokémon Gold & Silver: The Golden Boys
In The Truth About The Mysterious Whirl Islands!!, Gold and Chris encountered a talking Slowking living at the Whirl Islands. In the same chapter, they also encountered Lugia, which could talk via telepathy.
Pokémon Gotta Catch 'Em All
Shu can understand his Pokémon's language by using a special headset device called an Income.
Pokémon Pocket Monsters
All the Pokémon in Pokémon Pocket Monsters can talk, except for Red's Pikachu.
In Vermilion City, Satoshi encountered and caught a talking Nidoran♂, who soon turned out to be Bill, who had accidentally gotten himself fused with a Nidoran♂ during an experiment. Afterwards, Satoshi helped Bill to become normal again.
In Saffron City, Sabrina was revealed to own a unique telepathic Lapras that could communicate with humans. After Satoshi had helped her save Lapras from Team Rocket, she entrusted Lapras to him as a sign of gratitude.
Pokémon Newspaper Strip
In the Pokémon Newspaper Strip, several strips are centered around Pokémon talking to each other. However, humans only hear Pokémon repeating their names (such as "Pika Pikachu!") and can't understand their speech.
- The move Mirror Move, named Parrot Mimicry in Japanese, is based on ability of these birds to repeat human speech.
- In an interview with NintendoLife, Junichi Masuda mentions that a Pokémon cry translation machine was considered for Pokémon X & Y. However, it was scrapped due to the amount of text that would be needed to support the over 600 species of Pokémon at the time.
- ↑ NintendoLife Interview
Junichi Masuda: Well… Now I have to think of something that, you know, won’t be used by competitors! [laughs] But one thing that I wanted to put in that didn’t quite make it was a translating machine for Pokémon cries, to find out what they’re saying. So you have this machine, and when a Pokémon cries out something, text would appear telling you exactly what that Pokémon is saying.
Hironobu Yoshida: Really? I never knew!
Junichi Masuda: Yes, I really wanted to put that in, but then thinking about the amount of text that we would have to include, with now over 600 Pokémon, it would be a really big task. This could be something that might appear in future games, but it sadly didn’t make X and Y.