Homunculus Servant's stat block reads:

Languages understands the languages you speak

It doesn't seem like it can actually talk back, though, because of the verb "understands" being used here - if a servant could talk, I might expect to read "speaks the languages you speak". But a DM could rule that "understanding a language" is sufficient to speak it.

As a counterexample, Giant Owl's Languages section specifically calls out that it cannot speak its understood languages (emphasis mine):

Languages Giant Owl, understands Common, Elvish, and Sylvan but can’t speak them


1 Answer 1



The Monster Manual explains how the "Languages" section of a stat block works:

The languages that a monster can speak are listed in alphabetical order. Sometimes a monster can understand a language but can’t speak it, and this is noted in its entry.

The languages a creature can speak are those listed first with no qualifiers. When this section of the stat block specifies that a creature can understand a language (with or without stating that it cannot speak it), it means that creature can only understand that language, not speak it.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I recommend adding the following to reinforce your answer: "A monster that lacks the ability to speak might still understand a language." - DMG page 279 \$\endgroup\$
    – Journer
    Sep 5, 2023 at 17:07

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