Basically it goes like this
All familiars have a starting INT of at least 8, more if appropriate and can speak Common.
This rule is pretty much the same for all editions.
The reasons for it are simple, it makes familiars a bit more useful without granting them huge amounts of extra power, ets me give PC's hints as needed. and is simply more fun for me to have another NPC with a mind of its own rather than a "pet"
In rules such as Pathfinder where certain familiars and only those are granted speech (such as the raven in Pathfinder) the familiar gains the special ability to speak any normal language its "master" can.
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