Theming zombies: spooky moans, just growls, or silent death?

Adding something for zombies to say could be a lot of flavor for relatively little work. And it would be easy to contribute more - just json text.
The only problems from the code side would be making zombies not aggro at each others’ sounds (except calls for help) and not spam the message box with zombie conversations about brains while player is trying to read the important combat messages. I know relatively good solutions to both, so let’s just keep this thread about theming.

Do we want the zombies to talk?
Having zombies occasionally say human stuff while not seeing player around would betray their position in a more flavorful way than having them stumble around loudly all the time.
Typical idle zombie stuff could be just muffled phrases people say to no one in particular (“where did I put…”, “what was I doing?”, “cold here”, “when we eatin’?”), dialogue with people who don’t exist (“of course, you see…”, “can you turn up the heat?”), mixed with some less normal themes (“lost my eye”, “need to murder neighbor”).
Aggroed zombies would say different things: sound angry (“I’ll fuck you up!”, “get out now!”), scared (“mommy help!”, “what did I do to you?”, “he has a gun!”) even while attacking relentlessly, accuse player of being a zombie (“it’s one of THEM!”, “she just bit me!”), or even sound more friendly than hostile (“excuse me, what’s the time?”, “hey there sexy”, “yo, hold up!”)
No actual conversations because that’s too hard to implement.
Probably without any simulated muffling. After all, NPCs can speak perfectly clear through gas masks and mi-go parroting likewise can be understood at great range, in the middle of gunfight, by a semi-deaf gunner. It would not make much sense to have zombies say “brainsh” when an illiterate, drugged up mutant with mouth tentacles and a gas mask speaks perfectly clear English. Cutting start/end would be better than muffling.

But talking zombies would be rather weird. We could just have them make sounds: moan, groan, bang their chests (hulks need to do that), gurgle and scream.
Screaming zombies that occasionally say something would also work.

Then there is the third option: zombies as “death from the stars”. Just alien entities, no human behaviors left, more machines than animals. Those would only shriek if their role is shrieking.

I’m not opposed to zombies being able to sputter out a single word here and there, but anything more is kinda odd to me. Maybe the more “intelligent” the zombie the more likely it is to say something coherent in an incoherent zombie-like manner. For the average zombie , (“Lost…”) (“Where…”) (“Hunger…”) (“Why…”) that kind of thing seems appropriate.

Yeah I this would be the best to do if we want zombies to speak. But they should just groan and do ugly noises must of the time.

Even the short phrases proposed seem to articulate for a zombie if you ask me.

zombies don’t talk

but monsters that imitate people may deliberately say

“Hey there, wait up!” in the voice of the NPC they’ve consumed

I’d prefer inarticulate noises from most* zombies, but the backend doesn’t care so that sounds like great mod fodder.
Mi-go talking is often mentioned, more of that has to be a good thing.

*exceptions include necros and masters, they’re supposed to be smarter, so that would be a good hint that something is going on.

It’s not about smarter. I’d be against giving zombies coherent speech that actually means something.
Just babbling, repeating intuitive, memorized phrases vaguely associated with current feelings.
This kind of speech doesn’t require intelligence, just vocal cords and mechanical memory of doing it before. Like how heavy IRL infections and drugs can cause people to say understandable, meaningful words, but without the order necessary for the meaning to be there.

Though survivor zombies could be a good candidate for combining smart with capable of speech: they shriek and don’t stumble, so they could imitate the “hey there pilgrim, wait up” as something more than random chance.

I don’t mean necros and masters should have conversations, maybe just some words or phrases indicative of their actions… I’m not coming up with anything that’s not irreparably silly, so maybe not.

Agreed my fav zombies in gaming are half life 2’s zombies as their muffled dialogue almost sounds similar to that of muffled humans wailing in pain (in reverse) however they aren’t traditional zombies, they are humans that have their nervous system from spine down taken.(sort of made me feel extremely horrible for killing these unaware victims)

I would imagine that the reanimation of humans which the blob use would cause a large deal of neural damage but it wouldn’t be far fetched to imagine small traces of humanity remain clawing to the surface, causing a small moral dilemma for survivors in questioning “Are they still in there” to which the answer is maybe but only fragments of the humans they once were. Could also possibly lead to future lore or moral debuffs for survivors that create zombie slaves

The subtle groans and single words also seems quite appropriate for the style of zombies that the blob create