LINGUIST List 8.1079

Wed Jul 23 1997

Sum: Pig Latins

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Markell R West, Summary: Pig Latins

Message 1: Summary: Pig Latins

Date: Wed, 23 Jul 1997 11:42:42 -0400 (EDT)
From: Markell R West <>
Subject: Summary: Pig Latins

In May, 1996, I published a request for information on foreign Pig
Latins. I apologize for the delay in summarizing the results. You
can thank Dan Downs and Waruno Mahdi for keeping me honest and
inspiring me to do this at last. I got such a great response that it
was an intmidating job. Forgive me!

I hadn't taken the time to summarize the results until now, but here
are the languages and rules that I was given. I appreciate the
information! Thanks to the following contributors in totally random

Neil Bermel
William Byrne
Robert Lyle Good
Marina Yaguello
Paul de Lacy
Marc Picard
Geoffrey Sampson
Andrew S. McCullough
Jack Aubert
Nevin Leder
Scott Martens
Billy Clark
Jack Hall
Judit J. Toth
Mark A. Wilson
Marc Hamann
Annabel Cormack
Nancy Frishberg
John Goldsmith
Forrest Richey
Trey Jones
Dale Russell
Lex Olorenshaw
Liz McKeown
Marion Kee
Salvatore Attardo
Nobuko Koyama-Murakami (which sounds like a language game already ;-)

John Goldsmith, who edited the HANDBOOK OF PHONOLOGICAL THEORY,
recommends Bruce Bagemihl's survey of pig latins within that book. It
was published by Basil Blackwell's and reissued in paperback in 1996.
(This is highly recommended, even by people who are not John

Everyone said that these are called "language games" rather than "toy
languages", but my family is so competitive that if a game doesn't
have a winner and loser it's not a game! (Hence my use of the word

Here are specific examples:

Chinese: Onsset of a typical monosyllabic word is prepended to a
	different rime, which is suffixed to a different onset
	(possibly k) "zhai kang" for "zhang"

	Mandarin: Fanquie languages (each example has its own name,
	based on the pattern involved; no example given)

Dutch: backward speaking: reverse syllables and sometimes words
	(emerged from economic causes -- needed secret speech so other
	fisherman wouldn't learn their secrets)

English: insert /ab/ between onset and rime of each syllable
	"Maby nabame abis Babill" for "My name is Bill".
	(also with /^b/, called "ubby dubby"; sample at very end)

	gibberish: insert "itherg" after each consonant
	"Bithergy thitherga witherrgay" for "by the way"

	bicycle: insert s (schwa s) after every consonant:
	"hse tsold msse" for "he told me"

	eggegg langeggwagegg: add 'egg' after every consonant:
	"theganksegg yeggou" for "thank you"

	zambuda: english pronounced wrong in every possible way! Long
	vowels became short; c pronounced s when should have been k.
	"-nOsk beh-faw-re een-tee-rynj" for "knock before entering"

	yardle bardle: those particular words were interspersed in
	such a way that the victim -- er, eavesdropper -- could never
	figure out the rules.

	ob-talk, from the Firesign Theatre: "ob" before words
	(breaks down into raucous imitation of rooster calls at a

	arp-bark: put /arp/ before "first vowel of every syllable"
	(and I thought there was only one vowel per syllable anyway)
	"harpellarpo" for "hello"

French: Verlan: Individual words are said backwwords.
	"verlan" for "l'enverse" (meaning "backwords"
	"zomblou" for "blouson" (jacket)

German: "lav" inserted after vowels.
	"Ilavich wohlavonelave ilavin balavad holavombulavurg" for
	"Ich wohne in Bad Hombburg"

Hungarian: put "v" after the vowel and repeat the vowel:
	"Tu-vudsz i-vigy be-ve-sze'-ve'-lni'vi" for "Tudsz igy
	more advanced: say /rg/ isntead of /v/.

Italian: "Latino Maccheronico" - not the same thing. Uses Italian
	roots and attaches Latin inflection morphology for humorous

	Italian language game: subsstitute initial consonant with "f"
	"Fatino Faccheronic" for "Latino Maccheronico"

Japanese: Ba-bi-bu-be-bo language: insert "b" plus vowel between
	syllables "waba taba sibi waba" for "watasi-wa"

Portuguese: Sima language: insert "sima" [after vowels, I think]
	"quecima-rosima cocima-mesima (or cocima-mercima)
	alcima-gocima) for "quero comer algo"

	Linga do Pe: (language of the letter P)
	here's how one version of it works:

	1. add [p] to the end of each syllable.
	2. after the [p] you just added to the syllable,
		copy the rime of that syllable.
		(Rime = nucleus plus coda).
	3. change open syllables in closed [o] and [e] to
		the open vowels [O] and [E], respectively.
	4. disregard the stress patterns of the original word/
		sentence; instead, stress the *copy* of each rime.

		voce^ cortou o seu cabelo?
		did you cut your hair?
		vOpO'-cEpE' corpor'-toupou' OpO' seupeu' capa'

	another person sent this example:
 	"quepe-ropo copo-mepe alpo-gopo" for "quero comer algo"

Russian: Fufajskij yazyk: place "fu" before every syllable in a word:
	"fuprifuyet" for "privet"

	porosyachia latin (Pig Latin): can be formed different ways.

	military pig latin: "ka" instead of "fu":
	"katy kakukada kaseikachas kaikadiosh" for "ty kuda sejchas

Spanish: insert [Vf] between onset and rime of each syllable,
	where [V] is the vowel of the rime:
	"mefe llafamofo Bifill" for "me llamo Bill"

	insert /po/ to the end of each syllable:
	"copomopo espotaspo" for "como estas"

Yakut: "pig latin" -- imitation of "Russian pig latin" (no examples

	Thanks again to everyone for your contributions and interest.
	I'll eagerly accept further contributions at my new address:


		Yubbu gubbuys ubbar grubbate!
		Ubay hubope yubbu uball hubbav ubba gubbood subbumubber!
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