Somethimes icons pop up above the heads of hearthlings. The hearth for damage, the fork and knife for being hungry, and a exclamation mark during battle. But what if there also could be speech bubbles.
It would appear for a second or two, then dissappear, then a different near hearthling would get the icon for a few seconds and then it disappears again, only to go to the first hearthling again. This pattern makes it clear that the two hearthlings are talking to each other.
Because of this, the icons don’t have to contain words, three periods are enough. like this:
It also doesn’t need animations, so the two can be used together.
So in the game, you could see two hearthlings greeting each other. Or a herbalist talking with his/her patient whilst sitting next to the bed. A patrolling footman having a chat with a crafting blacksmith, two hearthlings talking to each other next to the fireplace or maybe a goblin chieftan giving a remark when a goblin picks his ear.