Can a druid Wild-Shaped into a raven speak using the Mimicry trait?

The description of the druid’s Wild Shape feature says, in part (PHB, p. 67):

You can’t cast spells, and your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form.

And the Mimicry trait of a raven says:

The raven can mimic simple sounds it has heard, such as a person whispering, a baby crying, or an animal chittering. A creature that hears the sounds can tell they are imitations with a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Insight) check.

As a druid PC, I’ve heard all the simple sounds that make up a language that I can speak. So, by RAW, can I speak all the languages my character knows while wildshaped in raven form? After all, I do keep my character’s mental abilities when I am in Wild Shape; am I able to mimic sounds well enough to speak?

If so: As slowly or weird-sounding as it may be, would it be clear enough for other people to understand?

Training an animal companion when you can speak to it

I have a PC ranger who can use speak with animals as a innate spell-likely ability. The question came up about training it tricks, and argued that the training time would be reduced or not even necessary if he could speak with animal.

From what I understand, speak with animals is more of asking questions or getting information, rather than to aid it for training, but I wasn’t sure. Would handle animal and speak with animal be completely different things?

Can you cast Speak With Dead on dead undead?

The spell Speak With Dead has the following descriptive text:

You grant the semblance of life and intelligence to a corpse of your choice within range, allowing it to answer the questions you pose. The corpse must still have a mouth and can’t be undead. The spell fails if the corpse was the target of this spell within the last 10 days.

Until the spell ends, you can ask the corpse up to five questions. The corpse knows only what it knew in life, including the languages it knew. Answers are usually brief, cryptic, or repetitive, and the corpse is under no compulsion to offer a truthful answer if you are hostile to it or it recognizes you as an enemy. This spell doesn’t return the creature’s soul to its body, only its animating spirit. Thus, the corpse can’t learn new information, doesn’t comprehend anything that has happened since it died, and can’t speculate about future events. (emphasis mine)

So let’s say my party is tracking someone with knowledge they need, who unbeknownst to them was betrayed by the big bad, killed and turned into a zombie. Obviously in zombie form he can’t be targeted by the spell, because he’s undead.

Once they reduce him to 0 hp (assuming there’s enough of the corpse left to talk with), is he still undead, and therefore unable to be the target of the Speak With Dead spell? Or is he just an ordinary corpse at that point, and this a valid target for the spell? Are dead undead still undead, or are they just dead?

What ways can you give a creature the capability to speak?

I am looking for ways in 5e to grant the capability of speech to a creature ideally permanently. To be specific, I am interested in granting an Artificers Steel Defender and creatures like it the ability to speak. For instance the Steel Defenders stat block states it “understands the languages you speak” implying that it only understands them and does not speak them. I am assuming the possibility of the creature being able to use and attune to items.

Below are some ideas I have had after some initial investigation but none seem sufficient and are limited or dubious rules wise:

Through Magic Items

-“You can speak and understand X” : Ex. Ring of Elemental command, Demon Armor, Efreeti Chain etc.

(Do these apply in our context of a creature with the stat block above? Specific v.s. generic which is which here?)

-Intelligence Boost: Ex. Headband of intellect

(Is boosting intelligence enough to give a creature like the Steel Defender the capability to speak?)

-Telepathy: Ex. Helm of Telepathy

(In general this isn’t truly spoken speech. Oftentimes these are only communication with two people are there items that grant many?)

Through Spells

-Awaken: limitation “Huge or smaller beast or plant”

-Varieties of Polymorph: limitation a transformation itself

-Telepathic spells: limitation is telepathy is not true speech

(in general these have the limitation of possibility of being dispelled and require a spell caster)

Older Editions

Also I know in previous editions 3.5e Pearl of Speech existed, but I am interested in RAW 5e.

If you know of other ways that minimize the limitations involved and require few rare items please share.

How do I roleplay animals that are able to communicate thanks to the Speak with Animals spell?

Unfortunately as the DM, I’m not the creative type, so I’m having trouble with responding as the animal when the ranger uses Speak with Animals. It seems that their only motivations, from insects up to larger mammals, are eating, avoiding injury, and mating.

For example, what kind of a response would the ranger get when he asks a sparrow if the sparrow knows where the local dungeon is? Or a spider?

Can the Actor feat allow a character to effectively speak a language they don’t know?

I have a player in my game I’ll call “Joe” running a Bard I’ll call “Hansel.”

Hansel has the Actor feat, and does not speak Orc. Hansel listened to an Orc for 1 minute a few adventures ago, a 2nd PC taught Hansel one short Orc phrase, and I allowed Hansel to repeat the new phrase, in Orc, mimicking the voice of the Orc Hansel had just listened to.

Joe has recently expanded this to insist that if the 2nd character now says several Orc phrases over the course of a minute, Hansel can repeat each phrase at will, mimicking the voice of that Orc. Joe believes that Hansel can also rearrange the words to create new phrases, on the fly in conversation with Orcs – and that this can also fool any Orc into thinking it is an Orc from their own War Band, so long as there is a door there to muffle the sound.

Joe claims that anything short of meeting this demand undermines the entire usefulness of the Actor feat, and therefore robs his character of 4 levels worth of adventuring.

Can the Actor feat allow a character to effectively speak a language they don’t know?

I think Hansel could mimic a specific Orc’s voice, after 60 sequential seconds of listening to it speak consistently (though not necessarily persistently), but only using languages Hansel already knows.