We meet the dementors in 'Prisoner of Azkaban'. I've noticed that dementors are implied to be able to communicate 'off-screen' so to speak, but do not do so on-screen.

In the book, the first time a dementor appears is on the Hogwarts Express. Lupin says "None of us is hiding Sirius Black under our cloaks", but they don't listen to him. It's unclear if they even understand him.

Similarly, they repeatedly violate instructions throughout the book, maybe knowingly, but at no point is it indicated that they actually comprehend what others are saying.

Later, they are described as having no eyes and "something like a mouth", which they use to perform the kiss. It is unclear if they do or even can use it to talk. They are also described as being able to sense emotions. Whether they have other senses like hearing isn't clear.

Now, the 'off-screen' part. Fudge, on multiple occasions says "I've got to talk to the dementors", like after Black escapes from Hogwarts. (How? How does he talk to them?)

And the totally troubling part: In the beginning, Arthur Weasly tells his wife that guards at Azkaban (which I assume to be dementors, since there is no evidence of anyone else guarding Azkaban), have stated that Black keeps muttering "He's at Hogwarts." That implies they can hear, understand and communicate to others what Black said.

So which one is it? Can they talk or not. If they can, why don't they listen to Lupin or even Dumbledore?

PS - It's been a while, but I have read the entire series. Don't worry about spoilers.

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    I think they can listen to people, but are quite picky about what they follow through with. We know that Hermione heard Dumbledore shouting at the Dementors after their pitch invasion in Prisoner of Azkaban, and they get a verbal command from Umbridge in her courtroom. No idea how they’d talk back though. Perhaps low-level telepathy or legilimency? – alexwlchan Mar 30 '15 at 7:51
  • I seem to remember them not being able to see - they didn't know when Sirius was in dog form. – Ben Mar 30 '15 at 7:52
  • Much like a small child ignoring his parents when being naughty. He can hear and understand what they are saying, but chooses to ignore them. – LepelLeLama Mar 30 '15 at 8:28
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    @Atsby: I searched for dementor questions before posting this. Didn't see the one you posted. And in that question's answer, "He's at Hogwarts" is used as proof they can talk. Here, I'm calling that out as proof of inconsistency. – Tushar Raj Mar 30 '15 at 8:54
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    @Atsby: If that's 'fact', which I already state in the question, then why don't they talk/listen to other wizards? Why don't they have a single line of active dialogue? That's the inconsistency. – Tushar Raj Mar 30 '15 at 9:09

I think they can listen and understand. The fact that they ignore Dumbledore and Lupin, must be part of their orders. Since they can be controlled, the ministry must have their loyalty, which later ofcourse sways to Voldemort

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    Hi, Welcome to Sci-Fi Stack Exchange... Your answer just needs some more matter. It reflects more about their loyalties, but the OP wants to know regarding their communication. Please modify your answer to answer that part. – Stark07 Mar 30 '15 at 11:52

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