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Can a druid still talk to the rest of the party while in wild shape? Or can he/she only make animal sounds?

If the latter, how does it interact with Speak With Animals?

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According to the description of Wild Shape in the PHB,

You can’t cast spells, and your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form. (p. 67)

A DM may rule that a high-level druid has some capacity for speech in beast form based on being able to perform verbal spell components with the 18th level class feature Beast Spells.

Beginning at 18th level [...] You can perform the somatic and verbal components of a druid spell while in a beast shape ... (id.)

But, this would be a houserule and likely not intended by RAW since Beast Spells specifically limits the verbal aspect to druid spells (not all spells).

The inability to form words (i.e., communicate in a language) in beast form would not prevent you from "gain[ing] the ability to comprehend and verbally communicate with beasts for the duration" pursuant to Speak With Animals (PHB, p. 277).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! I was scanning too quickly, and I thought that paragraph was just about spell casting, so I missed the "and your ability to speak" part of it. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Dec 29 '14 at 5:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you Wild Shaped into a beast that had the mimicry feature then the DM could allow speech. Ravens (MM p335) can mimic a person whispering for instance. While parrots are not listed in the MM, they will exist as a tiny beast and clearly have the ability to speak. \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Nov 15 '16 at 14:59

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