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Background: We wanted to scout an island. To do that we thought about using the Conjure Animals spell to summon a bird that could speak, and using Tongues to communicate with the bird after it had returned from scouting. The only bird with a language we could find was the Giant Eagle.

My question is: since Conjure Animals doesn't actually conjure the beast, but a fey, do the fey creatures also inherit the beast's language?

I know this question (Communicating with Conjured Creatures) asks about communicating with beasts already, but I couldn't find an answer to whether, if a beast does know a language, the summoned fey also inherits this language.

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The Conjure Animals spell says:

You summon fey spirits that take the form of beasts [...] each beast is also considered fey. [...] The DM has the creatures' statistics.

The fey spirit(s) summoned is a beast and it has all the statistics that the beast has as they appear in the monster manual. Note that most beasts don't actually have a language.

The Giant Eagle, though, is special. Its stat block does list a language that it knows and therefore can speak; the Giant Eagle language.

The Tongues spell says:

This spell grants the creature you touch the ability to understand any spoken language it hears. Moreover, when the target speaks, any creature that knows at least one language and can hear the target understands what it says.

Since the Giant Eagle has a listed language that it can speak, casting Tongues on it will grant you the ability to communicate with it as you wish.

Normally, casting Tongues on a Conjure[d] Animal would allow the animal to understand you but not allow you to understand it because most beasts are unable to speak.

According to page 9 of the monster manual:

Sometimes a monster can understand a language but can't speak it, and this is noted in its entry. A "-" indicates that a creature neither speaks nor understands any language.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "...but not allow you to understand it because most beasts are unable to speak"? \$\endgroup\$ – fectin Feb 6 '17 at 13:38

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