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Pig Latin & Other Made-Up Languages

January 25, 2022

Ello-hay, Eader-ray!

Hello, reader! If you were able to understand the phrase above, you must speak pig latin.

Pig latin is a made-up language game used by English-speaking children, and the point of it is simply to confuse people who don't understand it. Words are formed by removing the first consonant of a word, adding it to the end, and adding the suffix “ay.” Easy! (Or easy-ay. If the first letter is a vowel, all you need to do is add “ay.")

But Why Is It Called "Pig Latin"? 

Fun fact: Pig latin has no relation to Latin at all! This made-up language is most likely called pig latin because to anyone who doesn’t understand the rules, it sounds as confusing as Latin. And why “pig”? I’m afraid I don’t have an answer to that one. Orry-say!

So where exactly does this silly language come from?

Although no one really knows who invented pig latin, it's been a part of popular culture since the late 1800s. Pig latin has been featured in various songs and television shows throughout the years, as well as in movies like The Lion King and Monsters Inc

Other Languages Like Pig Latin

While pig latin is the most common invented language related to English—aside from maybe gibberish, which has more confusing rules—other languages have their own versions.

French has verlan, a type of slang where you swap the first and last parts of a word. Swedish has a similar language game called fikonspraket, which literally means “fig language."

More Than Just Fun & Games

Of course, not all made-up languages like pig latin are fun code games or slang.

Esperanto was invented in Poland in 1887 to encourage peace by bringing people of many nations together under the same common language. It's still used today and is one of the world's most famous made-up languages.

Made-up languages can also be found in the beautiful fictional worlds we often see in movies, TV shows, and books.

The Dothraki language was made popular in Game of Thrones, a fantasy television series based on author George R. R. Martin's bestselling book series A Song of Ice and Fire. Another famous example of an imaginary language is Klingon, from the creators of the science-fiction show Star Trek

Made-up languages are all around us. Ow-hay Any-may Anguages-lay O-day Ou-yay Peak-say?

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Comments (6)

Jen Artan(Author)

I've heard that twins often create their own language as well, known as "twin-speak" and only they know the secret code. Another place where I've come across a made-up language was in a sci-fi novel "The Dispossessed" (read it, it's amazing). The author, Ursula LeGuin, goes into some of the origins of the language and it's fascinating.

Anks-thay for this article!

Reply to Comment

Lara Henerson(Ellii Staff)

Ah yes, I've heard of twin speak. Great example!

Layla M.(Teacher)

I had no idea about the pig Latin, thanks for the info! In my second native language, Brazilian Portuguese, I had a made-up language with my mother so my little brother couldn't understand more serious matters; we just exchanged all vowels to the letter I so it sounded just like some weird intent to tease him. After he figured it out, we only use it when it's around people we don't want to listen to our convo.

Reply to Comment

Lara Henerson(Ellii Staff)

I love that! Language can be so much fun!

Karen O.(Teacher)

I didn't know about this fun made-up language but now that I know I can't wait to play it with my students. In spanish we have something similar where we add the letter "p" to all the vowels in a word.

Reply to Comment

Lara Henerson(Ellii Staff)

That's so cool! I love how each language seems to have its own version of these games! I'm glad you discovered something new. :)

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