Since Dumbledore can understand parseltongue without being a parselmouth, and Ron can mimic enough parseltongue to open the Chamber door without being a parselmouth, it seems logical that someone like Dumbledore who has deliberately studies parseltongue enough to be able to understand conversations between parselmouths, should be able to mimic the sounds enough to be able to speak it, at least better than someone like Ron

However, through out the books there is no indication that Dumbledore could do any more than understand parseltongue spoken in the pensieve memory. Going through questions about parseltongue through this site gives me a similar impression. Is there any indication of whether Dumbledore could speak parseltongue or not? Is there anything preventing someone from learning to speak parseltongue? Could Dumbledore have a conversation with Harry or a snake entirely in parseltongue?

An answer at any level of canon is welcome

  • 2
    How is this a duplicate? It's not asking how Dumbledore learned parseltongue, it's asking why he can't speak it, when even Ron seems to be able to speak it when needed
    – user13267
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 12:16
  • 1
    Furthermore, repeating a word from memory doesn't really count as speaking. Due to a certain song (The Carolean's prayer by Sabaton, if anyone's interested), I can recite the Lord's Prayer in Swedish, but that certainly doesn't mean I can speak Swedish.
    – Jenayah
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 12:40
  • 2
    The other question asks where it's proved in HP canon that Dumbledore speaks Parseltongue. It's reasonable to expect any answer to that to also answer answer your question. (Note that it's not always the case that two questions with the same answer are duplicates - see this meta for more detailed discussion.)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 12:58

2 Answers 2



As it is impossible to prove a negative, I can't provide any IN-universe source to back up my claim.

However, Rowling has stated that Parseltongue isn't a language in the sense that it is taught, but rather that the ability to speak it is a "weird ability passed down through the Slytherin bloodline".

Source: http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2007/10/20/j-k-rowling-at-carnegie-hall-reveals-dumbledore-is-gay-neville-marries-hannah-abbott-and-scores-more

  • How can Ron mimic parseltongue?
    – Fiddler
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 12:56


Dumbledore has been known to be an exceptional Wizard and knows many languages (probably on the same scale as Mr. Crouch or even better). As we have seen in Half Blood Prince:

“You understand him, I’m sure, Harry?” said Dumbledore quietly.

“Yes, of course,” said Harry, slightly nonplussed. “Why can’t Ogden —?”

But as his eyes found the dead snake on the door again, he suddenly understood.

“He’s speaking Parseltongue?”

“Very good,” said Dumbledore, nodding and smiling.

Here we can see that Dumbledore can understand what was happening. It was further clarified by JKR that Dumbledore can understand Parsletongue.

And since Dumbledore was an exceptional and exceedingly creative wizard, One could be sure he would have invented a way (spell, potion etc.) to translate what he says into the language he wants.

We cannot prove that He can speak parseltongue becuase no canon based proof exists!

But we also cannot conclude that he cannot, because that would demean his intelligence and creativity.

And since no proof exists, we can never be sure, unless JKR explicitly states so.

  • 1
    Understanding is different from speaking, though.
    – Jenayah
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 12:55

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.